Monday, December 29, 2014

The Holidays at Turning Point

Christmas time is a difficult time for many of the youth here at Turning Point. For some this is their first Christmas away from home. For others it may be just another year they do not get to spend the Holidays with their family. This year we worked hard to make new holiday traditions at Turning Point. We brought in some of our own family traditions from making gingerbread houses to having Santa Claus visit on Christmas Eve. We also took the youth to look at Christmas Lights and drink hot chocolate. 
We held our family day on the 19th. Mrs. Carlile and her cooking class made a great lunch. The theme this year was Mexican food and it did not disappoint. We also held a family group on communication which was great as many families shared stories and thoughts they had. We appreciate all the families that were able to come and spend the day with their son!
We really enjoy working with these young men and look forward to what they next year brings us!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Message from our Peer Leader

We have started a new thing here at Turning Point. We have a Peer Council and the Peer Leader or President will update the blog with activities and more of a personal view on the happenings in the program from a youth's perspective.
Here is the first update:
Weekly Events:
Turning Point Family care has came up with new things that will help the youth take more charge of what is going on in the facility. We created directors so that youth can learn leadership and self discipline.

The goal of president/leader is to help out the directors and assist them when they need the help. He is also in charge to make sure they get their duties done.
The goal of the service director is to have one youth be in charge of setting up service for the youth and must have four hours weekly.
The goal of Activity Director is to set up protocol activities for the level three and up therapy levels. He is in charge of off campus activities and helping to plan the longest day as well.
The goal of the PRS Director is to teach the youth social skills that will help the youth with skills that they will need to return to society. They will facilitate PRS groups with the help of staff.

Longest Day: 10-16-2014

The youth had an 18 hour therapy day. For breakfast they had pancakes and bacon with over easy eggs on the Camp Chefs. Then the kids went to two elderly homes to do community service and spent  hours helping them out.
The kids then came back and went to the rooms and wrote resumes for what position they wanted. As I mentioned above there are directors and that is what the requests were for. Afterwards we had Sharon’s group about being positive and what it means to be positive? Then we made brochures that talked about our selves. After we were done with that we went around and each youth had to write down one positive thing about another youth on the brochures. Then we did a jump rope exercise that helped us practice our teamwork skills. And the staff went against the youth to see who completed the task first. After the jump rope we split into three groups and each team did their own Dutch ovens.  Once we got done with the Dutch ovens we started a hike. that ended at the base of three peaks.  After that we had a fire and spent time  talking about what the youth needed to let go of. The things that we wanted to let go were thrown into the fire.

As a youth, I thought that this was one of the best longest days that we had and I thought that the youth got along really well for the most part. I hope that we do this sometime soon again. I loved the food and the activities that we did.

Halloween Party

Paint pumpkin: 11:00The first place prize will get candy Twinkie, soda—Second place will get candy and Twinkie---Third place will get candy.
Pumpkin pie contest: 2:00
The person that wins will get a Twinkie
Pumpkin search 4:00p.m.
There will be 4 groups of teams and we the group that can find the most gets, will get a Twinkie and a soda each.

Dinner 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Movie- with candy, popcorn, soda and Twinkie: 6:45 p.m.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Longest Day In October

 This month according to tradition we did a long, long day. We held many groups throughout the day and focused on the youth. We used the theme of victim empathy and empowerment throughout the day. We started the day off early with a big breakfast to fill the boys up. After that we went to two different homes to help the owners of the homes with their yard work. The boys and staff helped trim trees, rake leaves, throw stuff away, dig up gardens, etc. The people were so happy to have the help and really appreciated the help. This is a great way for our youth to interact in the community, not only to get their service hours, but to show that they can make a positive difference in someone else's lives.
As administration we decided to start a new peer council for the youth. We developed this as a way to empower the boys in the facility and hopefully get them to see that they can control things in a positive way and use this control and power to build healthy relationships and have a happy life.
We also did groups on self esteem, treating others with respect, and attunement with each other during the afternoon.

As dinner time approached we let the youth know that they would be in charge of cooking their own dinners. We gave them the ingredients and told them to make what they wanted to make. We also broke them up into teams. It was a good way to see the youth come together and resolve conflict, or they did not resolve conflict. Some of the food was great, some of it was not.

 As the sun went down and dinner was cleaned up we had the youth read the following poem.
The Cold Within
Six humans trapped by happenstance
in black and bitter cold
Each possessed a stick of wood,
Or so the story's told.

Their dying fire in need of logs,
the first woman held hers back
For on the faces around the fire
She noticed one was black.

The next man looking 'cross the way
Saw one not of his church
And couldn't bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes
He gave his coat a hitch,
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store,
And how to keep what he had earned
>From the lazy, shiftless poor.

The black man's face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight,
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.

And the last man of this forlorn group
Did naught except for gain,
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

The logs held tight in death's stilled hands
Was proof of human sin,
They didn't die from the cold without,
They died from the cold within.

James Patrick Kinney

After this we headed out on a hike at which the end they were greeted by the fire. At the fire they were to read on a piece of paper what was keeping their cold within and to burn it if they were ready to move forward. This was a very moving experience for so many of the youth, staff and therapists as well.

We truly work with some great kids. 

We look forward to the next big activity!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Using the Twisted Forest as a Metaphor

We are so lucky that we live in Southern Utah.The beauty that surrounds us is amazing. This past week we went on a new hike. It is called the Twisted Forest Trail. It is located just past Brian Head up Parowan Canyon. The Twisted Forest Trail is a short trail that has the Bristlecone Pine trees located on it. The Bristlecone Pines are some of the oldest living things on the planet. They can live for thousands of years. We saw many of these trees that have survived fires, droughts, freezes, and many different types of weather. We used these as metaphors for the things in their lives. The many storms they have encountered in their lives and survived. We discussed the history of abuse and other trauma's they have been victims of. We discussed how this has affected their lives and if they have chosen to be a victim or a survivor. Many of the youth seemed to take the message from this hike and use it as a motivation to change. At the top of the trail we looked out over the view and discussed how at times we have to go through hard trials and it seems that all we do is climb mountains, but at the end it is worth it. 

The beginning of the trail. 

A view of the "Twisted Forest and a youth pondering our writing assignment. 

Another youth thinking about the hike. A look at the hill we had to climb. 

The youth at the top of the hike. The view was amazing!

These pictures are from the top. It is an amazing view. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Upper Limit Aviation Dropped By

Cedar City is such an amazing community to live in. It is a small town, but there are many giving and gracious people. Upper Limit Aviation is a flight school that is here at the airport. Check out their website
They heard about Turning Point and wanted to do something nice for us. They took time out of their day to fly a helicopter to our building and land right in front. They also talked to the youth about helicopters and becoming a helicopter pilot. They have also discussed having youth come to the school to learn more about helicopters. We hope that our youth will take advantage of opportunities like these. 
After all it's not everyday you get to see a helicopter land in the middle of the street. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Therapy Day At the Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah

The therapy day we participated in this month was a little different than the others. There is a man in Cedar City who is a  Master Falconer and Educator and has over 46 years experience working with animals, especially birds. His name is Martin Tyner. He gave us a great presentation on his Golden Eagle, Scout, and his hawk. The youth have been reading his book, "Healer of Angels" that is about his life. Many of the youth can relate to him as he struggled with a learning disorder and other trials in his life. He worked hard to become a Master Falconer and to have the Southwest Wildlife Foundation of Utah. He was inspirational to many youth. 
We were also able to have a picnic at a local park where the youth were able to relax and enjoy being outside. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Intensive Therapy Day February

The weather has been nice lately in Cedar City. For our therapy day this month we chose to head over to the softball fields to play some softball! Pod A beat Pod B in a close game 18-17. It was a fun time as staff and youth both were able to play. 

After the softball game we ate lunch (which is some of the boys favorite time of the day) Kalua Pork and rice. It was great! 

Once we had cleaned up from lunch we had a guest speaker. His name is Ray Elam. He is a member of the Cherokee Nation. He gave an amazing talk on the background of Native American Tribes, where they lived, how they lived, and much more. He enjoys sharing his culture and encourages others to embrace who they are. One of the big things he shared that with the boys was not to stereotype Native Americans, and that most do not live up to the negative stereotypes that many place on Native Americans. He ended his talk with telling the boys that they do not have to live up to the negative stereotypes that they have been given and they can be so much more. The boys really enjoyed hearing from Ray and he is an amazing person who has given a lot back to the Native American Community. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hurricane Canal Trail

Hello! Our intensive therapy day for the month was spent hiking the Hurricane Canal Trail. Wikipedia has a short history on the trail :
Hurricane Canal and Canal Trail

For approximately 80 years, the Hurricane Canal was the lifeblood of the Hurricane Valley. Built over a period of 11 years (1893–1904), mostly by pick and shovel, the canal stands as a testament to pioneer ingenuity and determination. Since 1985, the canal has lain empty. In 2000, special interest groups came together to preserve the canal, receiving grants and volunteering time to construct a trail to stand as a tribute to the sweat and toil early settlers put forth to make the canal a reality. A monument at the trailhead recounts the canal story in brief. Much of the trail, which only covers a small section of the canal, is the actual west bank of the canal, which “canal riders” rode every day when the canal was in operation to ensure there were no leaks or other problems since the bank was somewhat unstable. Two of the trail’s unique aspects are walking in the canal itself – on a steel flume across a wash and through a tunnel immediately thereafter. The trail provides excellent views of the towns of Hurricane and La Verkin throughout. The trail ends before reaching the Virgin River Gorge, approximately five miles from the canal’s former headwaters..

This was a challenging hike at times, but very rewarding. It was a great hike.
The focus of the day was on what can we or the youth build on to make our lives better. We looked at the way these forefathers of Hurricane had built this canal to bring water to the valley. We challenged the youth at different stops along the way to ask them what they can build on to help them in their lives. How can they become more successful? Are they prepared to work as hard as they need to in order to be successful? We had some interesting and enlightening conversations.  

All in all, it was a great hike. It is always such a great time to get the youth out of the facility and out into nature. We enjoy our times spent together and it truly is a great experience.