SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The El Dorado County Office of Education, Lake Tahoe Community College, and the El Dorado County Probation Department recently partnered to provide an uplifting experience for youth housed at the South Lake Tahoe Juvenile Treatment.
The LTCC Wilderness Education and Outdoor Leadership program introduced a 40-foot climbing wall in the JTC to challenge children.
Blue Ridge Court School is located in the JTC and serves El Dorado County. The student population consists of court incarcerated youth who are between sixth and twelfth grades.
Members of the Court School Program team, in partnership with the probation team, are dedicated to creating safe and productive learning environments where positive experiences enrich students’ alternatives and choices. They also strive to create a positive and productive learning environment that promotes the development of social and emotional skills by engaging students in activities that enhance self-esteem, help students learn to interact positively with others and use appropriate conflict resolution, anger management, and decision-making strategies.
Dr Chapman, MD of JTC, said: “It’s fantastic for young people. The more activities they have, the better it is for their mental health, as well as for bonding young people and staff.
The youngsters immediately jumped in line to use the wall and it wasn’t long before the first youngster reached the top. Other youngsters quickly followed suit and they spent the next few hours testing their skills in new ways.
Damion Estrada and Savanna Thomas, LTCC expert climbers, shared their expertise with the youngsters.
Dustin Wekekind, an AOD advisor, said, “It’s been very positive. They learn things about each other, and it shows that they can listen to each other’s instructions.
The youth received a lot of support from members of the EDCOE and probation team, community members and Encompass Youth volunteers.
LTCC President Jeff DeFranco was also in attendance and said, “I’m happy to see this event act as a great confidence-builder for young people. This event is good for their development, while helping young people to gain confidence.
Youth and staff participated in a fun competitive race to the top of the wall. The peer support the youngsters gave each other by constantly encouraging each other and helping to give direction on the next best move was immediately evident.
J. Schindler, a probation officer, said, “This event was great for skill building, mutual encouragement and confidence building.
The youth practiced and recognized their leadership skills, gained personal confidence through the achievement of wall climbing, and overcame their fear of heights.
Encompass Youth member Tina Miranda said, “It’s definitely a positive event that builds self-esteem, confidence, confidence and camaraderie. It was amazing to see the teamwork and the way the young people help each other.
Sally Williams, mental health consultant, said: “Not only does it make young people happy, but it’s also great for building team spirit and increasing self-esteem. »
EDCOE’s Director of Alternative Programs Carey Buchanan and LTCC’s Incarcerated Student Program Director Shane Reynolds planned this event two years ago, but the event was delayed due to the impact of COVID-19 and the Caldor fire.
Buchanan and Reynolds noted that this event was a long time coming and that they were excited to finally host it.
Buchanan said, “These types of events really allow students to focus on their social emotional well-being. It provides opportunities to learn leadership skills, peer support, overcome fear and learn to trust. All the skills our students need.
Buchanan and Reynolds hope to make it an annual event.
For more information, visit edcoe.org.
Dina Gentry is EDCOE’s Director of Communications.