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ERIC Number: ED398034
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995
Reference Count: N/A
An Experiential Adventure School for Sexually Abused Adolescents.
Smith, Thomas E.
The Fresh Start Program was an experiment in providing a comprehensive educational and therapeutic program for sexually abused and exploited adolescents. The program was based on the theory and practice of experiential, outdoor-challenge adventure education. The experiment involved 16 youth in a living and learning environment in the north woods of Wisconsin. The youth lived for a year in foster homes staffed by trained "teaching parents," and attended school staffed by special education teachers, teacher aides, and a clinical psychologist who also coordinated the adventure program. During the 180-day school year, the students and staff spent 45 days in adventurous trips that involved backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing, cave exploration, horsepacking, and dog sledding. These experiential trips to the wilderness were all less than 200 miles from the home-base school. The whole school staff accompanied the group on the adventure trips, and educational curriculum and therapy were integrated into each sequence. Evaluation showed that the youth made valuable gains in academic achievement, and improvements in both behavior and self-concept. Fresh Start was closed after 5 years of operation, mainly because it was very demanding on staff members and it was difficult to find qualified replacements. It was equally difficult to secure a replacement for the key team member who served as staff psychologist and coordinator of the adventure program. (TD)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Experience and the Curriculum; see RC 020 678.