From our parents...
Everyone wants to be a good parent. And, if you are like me, want your child(ren) to grow into responsible, caring, kind adults. Sometimes life goes off the rails. In our case, no amount of intervention seemed to work. By the time we found High Frontier/Big Sky Academy, we were hoping our daughter would not die from her poor choices before we could get her help that worked. Not that we had not tried therapy of many types, medication, law enforcement, hospitals, etc., etc. Nothing worked, and it was getting worse. Positive Peer Culture (PPC) takes what we all know as parents, that teens listen to peers (opinions, facts, assistance good or bad) way more than they listen to parents and other authority figures and sprinkles that paradigm with strong, unwavering expectations of change for the better. Having a guided regimen of therapeutic intervention in the "manufactured family" environment of fellow teens with varying degrees of "problems" and helping them to learn common language to express their "problems" (I suggest reading the book on PPC) gives a highly-structured method of checks and balances out of the mouths of peers. Imagine you had someone offering help and feedback all the time. Encouragement and expectation of positive change paired with therapists to guide and every single person in their world on the same page. It's magic. Dale Parker gave our daughter the best kind of strong, evidence-based guidance and never wavered. I seriously do not know how he keeps his cool sometimes, but he does. They all do. I know this will be hard and you will question yourself; I did. But, in all honesty, the only regret I have about the whole experience is that I did not find PPC sooner. V.F.C. South Carolina
When my daughter was on her way to Big Sky our life was in shambles. I was not sure where to go or what to do. I questioned how a peer method of Therapy would help my strong-willed, manipulating, angry daughter. Will they be able to handle her...how will other girls feel with the behaviors she has...were just a few of the thoughts and questions steaming through my mind. I was so frightened knowing this was our last hope. I questioned if she would get enough support in this peer model.
I can say we are so blessed to have made the choice in Big Sky Academy!! It has proven to be an Incredible journey for my daughter and our whole family! She has recently graduated high school and the program. I am proud of her for both, but the social-emotional growth that she has gained while at Big Sky was Incredible!!! She went into the program as an angry, hurtful, manipulative kid. She came home a thoughtful, kind, reflective young adult. As she started her journey she hated everything about the program and couldn’t believe in all the stupid rules and behaviors. I wavered some days and once in a while thought, "What if she's right?" Within a few short months we were both growing in a positive way. Her therapist Sara was incredible and always patient and firm with her. Sara put things out there for her to work out in her group. She refused at first...absolutely not going to participate. They continued their patient and firm ways and she grew so much. She has reflective skills and coping skills that are so helpful toward being successful in everyday life!! She also matured and learned how to take care of herself and work for money and have a strict spending habit and the value of the money in the bank. She also learned to be part of a group, which was so wonderful when she returned home. It has made our family a reunited unit again and she is an active, willing participant now. We have had some struggles at home and she has at times turned to the incredible support of her peers at this amazing school. They have helped her at a peer level, to think things through and work through stressful times even after she was gone. They have an incredible program that has changed my daughter and our family's life. We are so grateful for all that they have done for us. R.H.R, Missouri
After a very positive experience in a wilderness program, our daughter (17 at the time), struggled at a levels-based residential program, so we started looking for alternatives. We felt our daughter would respond well to a peer-driven approach, as she had at the wilderness program and the positive peer culture’s straightforward problem-solving approach seemed like it might work better with our treatment-resistant daughter. It did! Our daughter responded very well to the approach – she began to identify with more experienced and role model peers and to take responsibility for herself and her growth. A number of the house leaders also had a very positive influence on her early on. By the time she left she had started to function as a leader in her group, and we were very pleased with and satisfied by the experience. C.B., Virginia