By Stephen C. Schultz
The fire has almost died. The embers are glowing a light orange with grey ashes sneaking up around them. Some of the other students are getting ready to slip into their wiggy’s. He could sit here all night, just looking at the stars. They don’t look this bright at home. Everything seems clearer out here. He looks across the fire where Scott is sitting. Scott, or Medicine Bull as he is known, gives him a head nod and asks how he is doing on his fires. He remembers the first time he busted a fire with only his bow and drill set. Scott showed him the way. Scott never makes him talk. Through his example he simply encourages him to try.
RedCliff students learn firsthand the power of teamwork and the importance of individual contribution. They also learn they can count on their counselors. Staff members eat, dress, hike and otherwise live in the back country no differently than the students they lead. The result is the development, over time, of mutual trust and respect.
This is the point where students start to open up, explore solutions and gain insight concerning some of the problems and issues that lead to their enrollment in RedCliff. Many students come to RedCliff having been involved in destructive behavior that won’t serve them well as adults. Many times relationships with family members have been compromised and there is stressful communication taking place in the home. These teens generally come to RedCliff with a negative sense of self and leave with a sense of pride in what they have accomplished. Most leave as very different teenagers.
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