Opening a New Lodge

IMG 8050 copy 300x195 Opening a New Lodge IMG 8128 copy 300x196 Opening a New Lodge

On October 10, 2015, we celebrated the dedication of a new lodge in memory of our founder, Richard Beach. Over two hundred guests representing thirty-four years of Shelterwood service came to usher in the beginning of a new era of care.

Located in Independence, Missouri on over two hundred acres, our property had plenty of room for a new building. The design of the Beach Lodge embraces so much of what Richard loved: excellent care, community, and a family setting. What a great way to honor our founder and his vision!

The Beach Lodge was designed as a compliment to our existing residential lodges. Our executive team wanted to create a space that was more intimate, particularly for incoming students and those with specific issues. We have been very successful with students who have neurobehavioral issues and wanted to create a more strategic environment within which they could flourish. After consulting with the Calo Program and the State of Missouri, our team designed a state of the art building that accommodates thirty-two students.

IMG 7965 copy 300x200 Opening a New LodgeThe building is designed with two wings made up of two units on each side. Each unit accommodates up to eight students for a total of sixteen on a wing. The girls’ side opens up to a large patio area and overlooks a beautiful tiered raised garden bed where the girls participate in a gardening program. The boys’ side is designed exactly as the girls, but opens up to their own patio area and a new soccer field for sports events.

Each of the units is self-contained with specially designed bathrooms, showers, locked cubbies, a family sitting and dining area, therapists’ offices as well as two sensory rooms. Creating an “open” unit for better supervision while providing students a sense of their own space is no small task! Four “open” rooms with two students sharing a room enable students to engage in community more quickly, have less stimulation and better supervision.

As you walk into the main entrance of the building, you immediately feel the warmth and hospitality of our Family Welcome center. This large room is used for a variety of events during family weekends as well as special retreats and gatherings.

Staff tell us they love working in this setting, and our students have settled in well. Our dedication of the Beach Lodge was a very special event. We know Richard would be proud! Shelterwood will be hosting a variety of tours and conferences in 2016. Come and visit!

IMG 8009 copy 300x195 Opening a New Lodge   IMG 8147 copy 300x200 Opening a New Lodge

Healthy Food = Healthy Lives

DSC9015 copy 200x300 Healthy Food = Healthy LivesThis spring and summer our students have had an amazing opportunity to work in our new garden, which was built last fall.  We have been able to see one growing season all the way through from planting to harvest.  We have grown tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, herbs, squash, and more.  The flowers have been beautifully arranged to provide even more color in our garden and throughout campus.  Students have had a part in each step of the process.   Daily, the kitchen proudly uses the produce to create some nutritious and creative dishes.

Not only do we enjoy the delicious and beautiful provisions of the garden, but we also are very aware of the therapeutic benefits, as gardens can be an amazing avenue of healing.  Here are some of the therapeutic aspects of our garden:

The ability to take ownership

Gardens require ownership and need careful tending.  Teens we work with often struggle with feelings of loneliness, not belonging and a lack of purpose.  As seeds are planted and life is created, students quickly take on the role of caretakers and get to experience the responsibility, even if in a small way, of maintaining life.  Pulling weeds in an effort to protect and nurture life starts to become a requirement for success and provides immediate feedback as to how well they are doing.  And with the harvest, teens experience fantastic tasting food and the satisfaction of a completed task.

Empowerment to make decisions

Decisions are always difficult for teens as they struggle to feel confident. Perfectionism can often paralyze behavior and their ability to process information.  Fortunately, plants are flexible and forgiving. Making choices and decisions in caring for them offers avenues for trial and error as well as recognition that there is not always a “right” way to garden.

Communication of Emotions

Emotions can often get the best of us, but for teens emotions are often expressed in unpredictable and in unusual ways. We find that our garden provides many fantastic metaphors, which enable teens to express emotions in deeper and more appropriate ways.

Shelterwood Rd2 459 copy Healthy Food = Healthy LivesGood Food

Those with eating disorders often view food in a different way.  Research suggests that food often takes on a “bad guy” persona.  Food actually becomes an object of fear.  Those who struggle with eating issues often detach themselves from food and have difficulty feeling safe around it.  Being involved in the production of food ties teens back to food.  Because of the teen’s investment in the food, they are able to slowly change the way they view the purpose and intention of it.

We are thankful for the garden at Shelterwood and are excited to see its therapeutic benefits continue.