This year the premiere treatment provider, Oxbow Academy, is celebrating our 10 year anniversary! Oxbow was first established by our Executive Director, Shawn Brooks, who has over 24 years of experience working in the residential treatment and troubled teens field. Around the mid-’90s, Shawn started to see a shift in the type of students he was working with, about the same time access to the internet in the home became popular. He saw a need and bravely acted on it. Oxbow Academy has been a pioneer in helping troubled teenage boys, specializing in those dealing with sexual issues. It has been quite a journey as we have learned and grown as a program, pushing to always become better at helping each of our students and their families.
As a therapist, I started a few years after Oxbow Academy opened; since I’ve been here I’ve witnessed our progression in so many different ways. I have seen us go from one house to two, allowing us to separate our Autism Spectrum Disorder students from the neurotypical students. We built our own indoor equine arena and developed our equine program from EGALLA to being specifically tailored to meet the needs of our students with sexual issues. The push for collecting data and researching to see if what we do as a program is really working has been huge! A few years ago, Oxbow hired a Research Director, Maria Watters, to help design a tool to collect data on each of our students, and with the help of Dr. Jared Schultz, from Utah State University, to verify the validity and reliability of the tool we are using. Experiential activities for each therapeutic phase has been included in our program, as well as advancing our clinical program to be more individualized, rather than a cookie cutter approach for each student. The list of how we’re growing and improving could go on and on.
Premiere Treatment Provider: Oxbow Academy 10 Year Anniversary
When our 10 year anniversary rolled around, we knew it was time to celebrate and continue educating others on what we do. We invited Educational Consultants to visit Oxbow Academy, along with other programs we have worked with, to help us celebrate. Our sister programs all came together to help us as well. Discovery Ranch for Boys hosted our dinner at their beautiful facility in Mapleton, and then the next day we took our Educational Consultants on quite an adventure. We wanted them to participate in an experiential activity that our students go on once they have reached their third therapeutic phase.
Phase 3 Experiential Activity
Our phase 3 is all about learning how to establish healthy relationships, moving forward with making better decisions, and what impact those decisions will leave with those we love. We want our students to think about how their choices leave an imprint on this earth, for better or for worse, by having them visit certain historical sites, with the breathtaking background of the San Rafael Swell of Utah. Some of our Educational Consultants, Josh Doyle, Lindy Kahn, Sarah McGuiness, Jim Nolan, Jamie Goodman, and Matt Hart, were able to participate in the same experiential adventure by visiting a dinosaur footprint, and petroglyphs dating back before Christ. Their journey ended with a horse ride in the scenic San Rafael Swell and being presented with surprise impact letters written by either loved ones, or students and families who the Educational Consultants had worked with in the past. Some of these letters brought tears to a few of our Educational Consultants who read very tender and dear comments about how they had personally and positively impacted family members or students. One Educational Consultant who received letters from her daughters said it was one of the most impactful and memorable moments she will never forget.
Overall, we were able to travel safely to one of Utah’s most hidden gems and help our Educational Consultants realize the amazing impact they leave with the families they help place at Oxbow Academy, and gaining an understanding of what our own students experience in our program. Thank you to all our sister programs, and all those who came out to help us celebrate! Here’s to another great 10 years!
Tiffany Silva, LCSW