Experiential Learning

Children learn best by their experiences

What I hear… I forget.

What I see… I remember.

What I do… I understand.

This philosophy has been attributed to Native Americans, Ancient Chinese, and any number of other sources.  From wherever it came, the truth remains: that our experiences are the foundation of learning.  We can each study and memorize facts or information, but when we interact with our world and each other, our level of understanding, empathy, enlightenment, and ourselves becomes real.

We also believe that children give us the opportunity to teach them. It is our task to provide a safe environment where teachable moments naturally occur.

Equine Therapy teen with horse

With Equine Therapy, experienced professionals safely facilitate a variety of equine (horse-related) activities.  The Canine program encourages staff to bring their 4-legged friends onto campus, once approved, for the positive interactions that it brings to the therapeutic environment.

The human-horse partnership challenges individuals to identify and respond to what the horse is telling them.  Just as the horse reacts to their environment, the clients are challenged to do the same.  As the horse interaction progresses, horsemanship skills are taught and clients reflect on how their relationships are strengthened.  As the partnership grows between horse and client, the client builds confidence and is more willing to participate in treatment.  Equine therapy occurs during individual or family therapy, as group therapy, or incorporated in our wilderness opportunities.

Wilderness Trips

Many clients first think of a wilderness trip as “camping.”  They soon find out that camping is only a small part of a wilderness experience.  Our clients are survivors of hard experiences and challenging environments.  They survive and get their needs met because of their internal strengths.  These ways are not always positive or socially acceptable.

Wilderness experiences strip away the ability to manipulate to get needs met.  Every participant must anticipate, plan for, and response to the challenges they may meet.  Challenges may be internal, within the group, or environmental.  Each participant experiences a new level of personal competence, performance, and ability to overcome these challenges.  They will learn about themselves, their place in a community, and grow in confidence.

Each course is directed by an experienced guide, includes at least 8 weeks of pre-course preparation, educational lessons, individual and group therapy, and has wilderness-medicine trained staff as part of the groups.  These experiences are often characterized as “speeding up” a client’s treatment work.  The success stories are unforgettable, and parents are invited to share in the post-trip celebration!

Faith Activities

We believe in health in Mind, Body, and Spirit for our staff and clients.  Faith activities and growth are priorities for many of our clients.  It is our policy and mission that children and families will be encouraged to explore and practice their beliefs regarding the existence, character/nature and application of concepts concerning God.

Within the family’s and referral agent’s desires and beliefs, our clients will be provided education of their personal beliefs, their definition of God, and the personal application of moral principles.

This may occur through on-site or off-site support of a client’s faith.

Service Learning

While living at Griffith Center, all clients will be educated, encouraged, and expected to participate in service learning projects.  We believe that a person who is involved and connected to his community will find more strength in that resource, will be more likely to be a participating member of their community, and will grow in their understanding of their responsibility to a group/body outside of themselves.