I left for Missouri Tuesday Aug 16 around 2pm from Broomfield Co. I stayed the night in Topeka, KA and drove the rest of the distance in the morning. I rolled into Shelterwood around 11am and moved in. Not having anything to do i took i bike for a little ride around the campus and found a trail on the edge of the property. The other “Bigs” welcomed me and i helped them run some errands off the property. After this we had a big dinner with all the new “bigs” at our directors house. Before going to bed two of the “Bigs” have us the low down about what to expect over the next year. It was a little intimidating and i know they were telling us pretty much the worst things that have happened but it was still pretty intense. For instance, BJ told me “whenever your on night watch make sure you wear your running shoes because eventually you will have to chase some one”. Apparently, some of the guys like to go for midnight stroll where they are not trying to run away but just want to make a scene. Since we are not allowed to restrain anyone unless they harming themselves or others all you can do is just run along side them until they decide to return. I was also warned that i will probably see a lot of blood while i am a “Big” due to kids who cut themselves. These stories where told while we helped one of the Bigs do his night watch which is when someone has to stay up all night doing rounds every 15 minuets till 6:30am. We only stayed up till 1 am because we had a long day ahead of us. Starting monday me and the 7 other bigs will each rotate doing night watch.
Today we had CPR training, lunch and then 3 hours of policy training which consisted of us taking turns reading a 30 page long document. Now i have some time off and will probably go to wallmart.
The program will be in full swing starting monday because thats when the kids start boarding school. Monday we will have 20 kids (called “Littles”) and 8 residential counselors (like myself called “Bigs”). In the 3 days leading up to monday me and the other 10 or so Bigs have a sort of crash course that will prepare us enough to start engaging in “Coverage” which is basically engaging with the kids/knowing where they are at all times. Our training will continue for a few weeks after monday when we start working.
The Littles we work with are on a 5 level scale of treatment. Each level technically signifies their progress with their therapist but also has important rules that determine the level of care we provide. For example , level 1 (which lasts for at least 3 weeks) littles have to remain within 5 feet of us at all times, level 2 within 10 feet, level 3 within 15 feet. The littles also gain more privileges as they level up, greater allowance, more freedom etc. We have a two page document that clearly outlines all of the most common misbehaviors and the corresponding consequence. There are two that are particularly humorous that i wish to share with you all, or Yall as they say here. First is failure to communicate a change in location. Littles in stages 1-2 have to ask permission to go into a different section of the building (ex, go from upstairs to downstairs ). If a little doesn’t ask permission to do this they have to run up and down the stair 25 times. Second if a little fails to buckle his/her seatbelt in a van or unbuckles during a ride they must wait until all the other littles exit the vehicle and then they must buckle themselves into every seatbelt in the 15 passenger van saying “Im safe” every time they move seats.
I unfortunately havn’t figured out a way to get the pics off my camera onto my laptop with out my printer (which is what i have been using for the last 4 years). When i solve this i will uploads some pics from the property.
Love you all, and God Bless