The T.R.U.S.T. Mindful Leadership Program offers a Time to Reset, Unfold, find Strength and Thrive. It is a program for local youth who have been involved with the juvenile justice system offering mentorship, skill building, mindfulness practices and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy throughout the year. A group of talented local youth counselors are currently helping to plan the first five-day residential camp in July 2018 at the Atlan Center. We aim to bring about positive behavioral changes and help form a supportive community among these underserved youth.
Given their known circumstances, these at-risk kids are on a downward, repetitive spiral and often lack tools or social support that will help them regain a productive footing in society. Through culturally responsive, youth-directed learning experiences, T.R.U.S.T. offers hope and avenues for positive turn-around behavior.
By increasing their awareness of harmful behaviors and thoughts that impact quality of life, T.R.U.S.T. helps to decrease stress levels by connecting participants’ physical health with their emotional and mental health. T.R.U.S.T. kids have the opportunity to build peer relationships, provide and receive healthy mentoring, gain confidence, increase positive mind body awareness, and develop leadership skills.
The highlight of T.R.U.S.T. is a five day/four night intensive camping experience. Through camping, white water rafting, ropes course-like challenges, and other outdoor activities, youth are invited to develop a deeper connection to the outdoors. Nature is also the perfect classroom to challenge self-imposed limitations and learn mindfulness skills as well as team and leadership building exercises. The CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) technique of relaxation, breathing, and thought awareness complements yoga, meditation, and group processing activities.
Curriculum includes daily stress reduction techniques and mindfulness.
Use of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy technique promotes relaxed breathing in order to access emotions and negative thought patterns.
Daily yoga and meditation provides healthy coping skills development.
Students have opportunities to be curious and observe the natural world through ecological principles allowing them to gain insights and ability to identify how interconnected the natural world really is.
Students directly experience nature by sleeping, cooking and communing among the trees, and through experiential activities designed to incorporate nature such as community service projects.
Through partnerships in the community, youth are able to experience white water rafting, hiking, orienteering and backpacking.
Provide culturally responsive, student-directed learning experiences are supported through mentoring.
Students gain leadership skills through problem solving, effective communication, teamwork, self-awareness, self-empowerment, and confidence building.
Problems with the leadership images presented to youth through the media and popular culture as well as the perceptions of the roles of youth in their communities are discussed.
Development of a final project that youth bring back to their communities is based on an environmental scan of their community's needs.
Kay Alton, MSW, M.Ed, RYT 500
Kay created T.R.U.S.T. to provide learning opportunities for struggling youth through leadership skills development, connection to the natural world and mindfulness activities to empower life-long contributions to self, community and nature. She is experienced in cultural sensitivity and a number of the counselors are Hispanic, allowing for culturally sensitive relationship building. Kay and counselors are connectors to other Gorge Area support services and emphasize self care and connection after camp through continued mentoring and monthly meetings.
Put more kids on the pathway to leadership
We are currently looking for partnering support from other sources, including the agencies that serve youth in the juvenile justice system in the region.
Additional support needed:
Recruitment and enrollment of youth into the program
Transportation (vehicle/gas/insurance/staff to drive youth to and from camp)
Program Staff: an overnight staff that is familiar with working with this population and can provide extra adult supervision
Volunteers: community partners or agency staff willing to provide support for certain activities
Funding for a small stipend for youth who complete the week long program
Continued collaboration and coordination of youth involvement post camp