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Shared Experiences

By Stephen C. Schultz

Please allow me to share an experience I had at Discovery Academy. It's simply a reminder of why we do what we do!

A couple of months ago, I was over at Discovery Academy walking on campus headed to the academic center. Some of the students came up to me and asked who I was. We started talking and I asked them where they were from and we simply had some casual small talk.

One of the girls said; “Hey, I remember you! You came out to RedCliff and had someone with you on a tour.”

I replied; “Yes, you have a fantastic memory! I must say...a much better memory than I have. Please share your name with me again."

She mentioned her name was Jordan and she started sharing with me what a great experience attending RedCliff Ascent was for her. She had that wilderness sparkle in her eye as she spoke and started to monopolize the conversation a little bit. She obviously still struggled with a few social deficits, but I’m sure things are much better now than before her therapeutic experiences.

On a whim, I said, “Hey Jordan, would you be willing to share some of your experience in writing?”

She beamed and said; “Sure! What do I write about?”

I mentioned that she should write from the heart. She can write whatever she thinks is best. That it’s an open forum for her to express her feelings about being in treatment. I could see her slip into a deep thought. We all said goodbye and went our separate ways.

I didn’t think much about it and a couple of weeks went by. I was over at Discovery Academy for some meetings and I ran into Jordan again. She remembered our previous conversation and immediately apologized for not writing anything yet. I simply mentioned it was good to see her again and it really wasn’t a problem.

The following week I was there again. She must have spotted me from afar because she ran over waving her hand in the air with a folded piece of lined notebook paper.

“Here it is!”, she exclaimed. “Here is the paper I wrote about RedCliff!”

I thanked her and mentioned that writing this piece must have taken some thought, preparation and determination to get it done...that she must be proud of herself. Her eyes sparkled and she nodded in agreement.

If you would like to read what she wrote, I posted it here.

Even though I’m not at all of our programs all the time, I relish those times I spend with the students. It’s nice to see and interact with these teens as they really are!

I shared this post with a few Educational Consultants. Below are some of their responses.

This is heartwarming ….What a gift to get to experience those precious moments.
Thank you for sharing!

This is a beautiful testimonial, Steve. Thank you so much for sharing Jordan's heartfelt message. Keep 'em coming!

Diederik Van Renesse
Thank you for sharing Steve. She really did touch on the change so many of my kids have made during their wilderness experiences.

Thank you, Steve – you’re right, this is why we do what we do.
I appreciate your sharing this –

Steve, Thanks for sharing that. I no longer handle therapeutic placements, but I once did and had a challenging student at RedCliff Ascent; it was a successful match. It’s great that you encouraged Jordan to share her experience. It helps us, and it will help her. And what she wrote is very genuine, not marketing hype. Thank you again and best regards.

Thanks, Steve – I will share this with other students and parents as well. 


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