Youth Services Agency, (YSA)

ACT 2: A New Beginning

With more than 25 years experience working with at-risk youth, Kris Caffier LCSW, CAADC returns to the camp with passion and vision for the program and she is ready for the challenge ahead. “We strive to give our kids the tools they need to break through boundaries, build self-esteem and establish health¬ier ways of dealing with their stressors. That means really working with kids as individuals and seeing their issues as unique to them.”

From a new logo to new therapy modalities to hu¬man and financial capital investments, Kris has wasted no time making improvements to the pro¬gram. She has added a new Director of Education, Lisa Jenkins, who is focusing on improving the ed¬ucational experience for students at the camp’s on-site private academic school, the Adventure Learn¬ing Center (ALC).

“We have upgraded our security camera system, as well as our student computer lab. Our culinary servic¬es have already greatly improved, as we believe this is an integral component to our milieu. Both students and staff are already complimenting the change.

We are bringing on more youth mentors, professional master’s and bachelor’s level therapists, as well as an addiction counselor. We are centering on a strengths based perspective with our students and increasing opportunities to “catch them doing something right” by utilizing incentives such as voices in student gov-ernment, students of the week, and other ways of ac¬knowledging their strengths.”

Kris looks forward to the year ahead and is excited about the changes that will be coming in 2018. “Over¬all at the ACT camp, we are redefining our program as a therapeutic milieu, which integrates our unique wilderness environment and adventure-based activi¬ties with clinical evidenced informed practices.

We are not trying to have a “one size fits all” ap¬proach. That being said, we will offer specific treat¬ment modalities: anger management, drug and alcohol, family and individual therapy, trauma coun¬seling, skill-based groups, vocational programming to name some. We will be emphasizing family in¬volvement, which is probably my favorite modality of choice.

Specifically this year, we will be expanding the scope of our ACT weekend program. Beginning in early spring, when the weather breaks, the weekend program will be offered every weekend. The core components will remain the same, but with improved programming targeting true community service, adventure based treat-ment, supplemented by therapeutic groups. We have terrific events lined up for spring where these youth will be supporting community non-profit organizations such as the Lehigh Canal Recreation Program.

We have purchased a new strengths based curriculum to use with all students, which integrates relational theory, resiliency practices and skill building. Additionally, our Youth Mentors will be trained in team building exercises. As I said before, family therapy will be a primary focus for many of our youth, as will drug and alcohol interventions. I am excited that our own professionals, who have training and experience in their respective fields, will provide these services on site.

This year, we also anticipate re-affiliation with PACCT, which will bolster the vocational offerings for students. We anticipate running a summer enrichment school program, as we have in the past.“
With Kris at the helm the program is back!