R.E.A.C.H. Program Values
The REACH program encourages students to focus on five core values that we believe are fundamental to successfully reaching one’s potential:
Taking personal responsibility for behavioural choices and future goals.
Making positive change is hard work and effort means pushing yourself beyond what you think you can do.
Our thoughts become our actions.
We exist inter-dependently (family, school, town) and our choices directly impact upon the lives of others. We are accountable to, and responsible for, each other.
Positive change will only be sustained if our choices are motivated by our internal values and integrity rather than the expectations of others.
REACH has a dedicated direct service team that equates to greater than a 1:1 staff:student ratio. A program supervisor works directly with the students and provides supervision/mentorship to the direct service team composed of fully-qualified teachers and full time instructors. The direct service team is backed up by management and support staff (administration, nurse, awake-night and security, maintenance, stores and food services).
Licensing, Accreditation and Accountability
We welcome external evaluation and scrutiny of our programs. Students and parents have access to a formal complaint resolution process. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services conducts an on-site licensing review of our residential program every year with mandatory file reviews and interviews with students and staff. The independent Office of the Child and Youth Advocate has jurisdiction to listen to any concerns of a youth, surrounding issues related to youth’s rights under the Child and Family Services Act. Our program has a legislated obligation to report any serious occurrence to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. In addition, we voluntarily submit to the accreditation standards of the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) and Ontario Camps Association (OCA) and participate in numerous ad-hoc and ongoing research projects.
REACH Admission Process
A referral may be initiated by any parent, CAS or children’s services professional who has the authority to make placement decisions regarding the young person, and who has capacity to guarantee payment of the set per diem cost for the minimum 90 day program duration.
Most referrals begin with a phone call or email from the placement professional or parent to a member of the REACH Admissions Team so that specific questions you have about the program can be answered. Based on a general description of the young person’s history, current situation and behavioural profile, an initial indication can be given about whether the REACH program appears to be appropriate to his needs.
The next step is for the placement professional or parent to submit by fax a completed referral or use the online referral form accessed by clicking the ‘Make a Referral’ button. WLE typically responds within four working days, seeking clarification of referral information and advising whether we recommend proceeding to an admissions interview with the youth.
A REACH Admissions Team member will arrange an interview, often travelling to the young person’s home community to conduct an admissions interview. In some cases, a telephone or web-based video interview may be an option based on distance or other factors. The admissions interview provides the young person and parent/guardian with an orientation to the program and further assesses the young person’s capacity to do well in the program. The admissions interview in many ways begins the process of establishing a treatment plan for the child and family.
Many young people are initially opposed to the thought of coming to the REACH program, but we have found that in most cases the young person will voluntarily attend once they have had an opportunity to weigh their options and consider their future. It helps tremendously when there is a plan for family reintegration or alternative placement plan in place for after completion of the REACH program and if the other key members of the family unit are willing to participate in counselling and own their part in creating a more positive family environment.
Once an offer of admission has been extended, the young person will need to have a medical assessment to confirm that there are no known medical conditions which would contraindicate participation in the REACH program. A parental/guardian consent form must be completed as well as a service contract outlining the respective responsibilities of the parent/guardian and the REACH program.
Does it work?
Evidence-based Practice: Research by the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Research Center (OBHRC), to which Wendigo Lake Expeditions contributes data on an ongoing basis, has demonstrated that participants who enter programs with clinical levels of mental health related issues consistently graduate with sub-clinical mental health scores after program completion.
Is it Safe?
Based on years of incident data collected from leading wilderness therapy programs, a young person in the community is twice as likely to visit an emergency room as a youth participating in a licensed and accredited adventure therapy program. It should be noted that the average young person in a community setting does not demonstrate as many high-risk behaviours as those of a typical young person being referred for residential treatment. No young person is completely safe whether they continue living in their home or participate in the REACH program. Our program is accredited by the Association for Experiential Education and seeks to provide industry-leading levels of care, supervision and risk-management.
Do you have spots available?
To find out whether we have a current placement available, please call Ashley Cerisano at (705) 386-2376 extension 201. Ashley will be able to update you on our current placement availability. If we are full, she can let you know when we expect a placement to come available. In Ashley’s absence, press ‘0’ and any of our other management staff will be able to assist you.
For more information or
to make a referral, contact:
Ashley Cerisano, REACH Admissions & Case Management Coordinator
Phone: (705) 386-2376 ext. 201
Email: [email protected]