By Stephen C. Schultz
(Editor's Note: This is an email I received from Scott Schill at RedCliff Ascent yesterday morning. It reminded me that a very wise man and co-founder of our organization once said; "...yeah, no one comes back to visit the company that helped them...they come back to visit the people!")
In the fall of 2001, I went to the field with my little boy Colton. He was 5 at the time. I came to a group hiking near Mt. Springs and we stopped to go visit with them. Colton held my finger as we walked through the sagebrush to the group. A new girl in the group wanted to talk to me so we stepped aside and she said;
"Mr. Medicine Bull sir, I've been here 4 days and no one has come by to get my laundry."
It was hard not to laugh. I told her she would be ok and to stay positive. In those days, the only way a student got clean clothes was by taking them off and washing them or by wearing them out and getting new ones.
This young lady went on to complete 90 days at RedCliff and graduated with the Earth Name of "Singing Butterfly"
Last Friday, Singing Butterfly stopped by RedCliff to visit. I took her out to the field and took her picture where we stood 17 years earlier discussing laundry. We also visited the girls group where they asked her questions about her stay and her life since RedCliff. We've clearly softened the program up since she was here. She told the girls that RedCliff literally saved her life and she was so grateful for her wilderness experience.
Regardless of how much we get paid for what we do, moments like this are the real payday. She's beautiful, healthy and successful. More importantly she's grateful. So nice to have someone come back after all that time to say "Thank you!"