A New Beginning on Relationships
The Birdseye RTC is more than a rustic house that has grown with the program. It is a place of responsibility and accountability that shows the signs of individual battles won and lost. The usual struggles that siblings have in living together also occur at the BRTC and serve as a teaching opportunity for relationship building. The day begins with household chores in which youth learn the skills of independent living: cooking, washing dishes, vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, mopping, doing laundry, and cleaning bathrooms. As they progress in the program, youth have the opportunity for leadership by supervising their peers in the performance of household tasks. The program promotes social responsibility and becoming a healthy member of a community. Guided by clearly established rules, youth learn to respect each other, their community, and authority figures. When challenging issues surface, the BRTC staff members turn them into teaching moments. By utilizing various behavioral techniques, staff members guide the youth in learning to risk in relationships, in finding constructive means of meeting needs for respect and love, and in discovering socially acceptable ways to relate to the environment and to authority figures. The BRTC behavioral system motivates youth by granting and removing daily privileges and by tracking each youth’s progress in a daily report. The daily reporting by the staff is enhanced by journal writing. The day ends with quiet time in which each youth writes in a journal and explores his daily behavior and how it relates to his treatment goals.