Contact us Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm at 715-327-4402

What’s all that racket over at Prairieview and Assessment?

NORTHWEST PASSAGE ADDS SPACE FOR HEALING

We all know how important physical exercise is for us – both physically and mentally. At Passage we work to ensure our kids get ample access to physicality – from kayaking, hiking, and snowshoeing to soccer and basketball. Our kids are able to sweat out their frustrations and enjoy the fun of team sports and the satisfaction of recreation in the great outdoors. We know this helps our kids on their path to healing.

But we can’t always be outdoors in the wilds of Northwestern Wisconsin. Sometimes, we must stay indoors. From storms to frigid temps, the weather isn’t always exactly inviting ’round these parts. It is why we’ve invested in our kids and their health by building space that provides amble indoor room for kids to get active even on the worst of weather days. But we’ve grown in the past few years and we need more of this precious space to best serve our kids. We’re excited to announce that the Prairieview and Assessment programs are now going to have that same resource!

 

We have broken ground at the site of the future Recreation and Wellness Center at Northwest Passage’s Prairieview and Assessment programs in Frederic, Wisconsin!

Northwest Passage is adding a recreation and wellness center at its Frederic property which is home to programs providing residential mental health treatment for youth: a comprehensive assessment program serving kids aged 6-17 and Prairieview, a program for young women aged 12-17. “The Center will provide much needed indoor exercise and recreation space for our kids during the harsh winter months of northwestern Wisconsin,” says Ellen Race, Program Director. But that’s not all – while she envisions the kids utilizing the Center much like a traditional gym, they’ll also be using it to learn about health and wellness as well as utilizing the space to connect to nature through use of Passage’s environmental based educational curriculum, provided by the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, Earth Partnerships for Schools.

Race also notes that the space will, “bring many components of our programming together in one space allowing for greater connections between everything from science to physical health.” Medical Director, Dave Ammend, agrees, noting that “the Center will strengthen our healthy living programming immensely. By affording year-round access to a safe and comfortable setting for exercise, recreation, and relaxation – our kids’ access to healthy activities will double.” Ian Karl, Experiential Programming Coordinator, says of Passage, “healing happens everywhere at Passage, not just the doctor’s office or the therapist’s couch, it is so much more than that. If we can provide our kids with the tools they need to be the best versions of themselves, we’ll see greater success in their lives’ long-term. That is why having a space like the gym will prove to be so important.”

The average stay at Northwest Passage’s Frederic programs vary – residents of Prairieview stay an average of nine months, while kids at Assessment are in treatment for 30-days. Combined, the programs serve approximately 200 kids annually from across the state and nation. Northwest Passage has been providing innovative mental health services for nearly forty years, 22 of which have been at Frederic.

One resident said she can’t wait to play basketball even on rainy days, “I just feel better when I’m active, so on days we can’t be outside – it is hard to be my best self.”

Locus Architecture, of Minneapolis, is leading the design of the project. Executive Director Mark Elliott has this to say about the design, “we are excited about the versatile space Locus has designed and the unlimited benefits it will provide our kids. It is a long overdue project that will be a great resource for our staff and kids.”

The building is being constructed in conjunction with Dave Anderson Construction Company of Webster and Passage’s own in-house construction team Randy and Wes Hedrick. This project is expected to be completed in September of this year.

Northwest Passage has secured funding for the project through local lender, Frandsen Bank & Trust. Passage depends on funds from donors, grants, and service fees. Please consider making a donation and impacting the lives of our kids today.

For more information about Northwest Passage, call Marceleen Mosher at 715-309-4257 or visit us at nwpltd.org.

WANT TO HELP BUILD OUR NEW SPACE?

_________

We are accepting donations of all sizes as we build the best space possible for our kids. Buy a brick, a yoga mat, or chip in for the general building costs – every little bit counts! We’d just like to count you among our supporters.

SHARE

Under the Surface is BACK

THE KIDS ARE BACK IN THE WATER

Thanks to the support of our 2015 Kickstarter campaign; an amazing $50,000 grant from Sea Grant, the aquatic world’s research arm; and the continued investments of the National Park Service Submerged Resources Center – New Light Under the Surface is back and stronger than ever. In addition to another season of exploration of the mystery of the great below, we will be partnering with the National Park Service Submerged Resources Center to investigate the Dry Tortugas at the end of the season.

New Light Under the Surface has made quite the splash in the water world – famed ocean scientist and New York Times bestselling author, Wallace Nichols, invited Northwest Passage to speak at the sixth annual Blue Mind conference in California where water innovators from around the country gather to celebrate the power of our most precious substance on earth. Ben and Toben traveled to the conference with the special guest – John, a past client in love with the under water world. Fellow Blue Mind Six conference attendee, Sea Change Design founder Lauralee Alben, profiled us in a recent article What’s at Risk?. Our project partner, Toben LaFrancois,wrote a fantastic piece Diary of an Aquatic Scientist that sums up just why we do what we do.

Thank you to everyone who has supported New Light Under the Surface – now come check out the fruits of the kids’ labor at our latest exhibit: New Light Under the Surface at Northwest Passage’s Gallery, just one mile south of Webster, WI on Highway 35.

WE’D LOVE TO SHOW OFF OUR NEWEST EXHIBIT TO YOU! Visit the Gallery today!

Northwest Passage is dedicated to the recreational care of our kids. After the first year of New Light Under the Surface, we discovered that many of the kids who had the chance to dive into the water to do underwater photography, found an activity that they enjoyed. We strive to find recreational activities that the kids love and will continue to do after they graduate from our programs.

SHARE

How strong are Popsicle sticks?

POPSICLE BRIDGES SPAN THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LEARNING AND FUN

Lakeshore kids were paired up to work together and construct a bridge out of 200 Popsicle sticks. They were graded on how much weight their bridge could hold, the aesthetics of the bridge, and the number of Popsicle sticks used. After the bridges were tested, the groups reflected on their experience and what they would have done differently if they did the project again.

The goals of this activity were to have the kids develop an understanding of planning, construction, problem solving, teamwork, and bridge structure.

Austin Elliott, Lakeshore Outdoor Experiential Educator

 

Northwest Passage teachers and staff are dedicated the education of our kids. They choose to use many different kinds of activities to teach many different subjects. Building bridges from Popsicle sticks teaches geometry and measurement through hands-on work instead of a text book, along with planning and construction. Working in teams teaches the kids best practices for relationship building through teamwork and problem solving. Reflections help the kids to think things through better in the future. Looking at the strength of objects is also a reminder of how strong they are.

SHARE

Past Resident interviewed on KARE11 News

SHE SPEAKS UP ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH

After graduating from the Northwest Passage Prairieview program in November, Ndolo has been speaking up for things she believes in.

She has become a member of an organization, Silver Ribbon Campaign, at her school that brings awareness to mental health issues. As a part of this organization, she stood up in front of over 100 kids and spoke about “how to be an ally.” She even prepared a slide show including many pics from Northwest Passage – donkey, of course – and the one that is now on a wall!

During May, she was part of a group who organized a Racial Justice Day at her high school, in which she was interviewed by KARE11 News. Her dad was one of the guest speakers.

Carmen, Resident Parent – c/o Lisa Courchaine, Northwest Passage Mental Health Clinician

 

Northwest Passage is concerned about the kids after they leave and so stays in touch with them and their support team. It is great to hear that past residents, like Ndolo, are helping to raise mental health awareness. Not everyone is aware of the mental health challenges that others face on a daily basis, so it helps when people speak up.

SHARE

Mental Health Awareness Candlelight Vigil

PAST RESIDENT EMBRACES MENTAL HEALTH

Thursday, May 19, my colleague and I, in conjunction with a local youth voice group, organized a Mental Health Awareness candlelight vigil.  We walked with candles from our town to the adjacent town to show support for the multiple suicides that have occurred over the past few months in both school districts.

We stopped at the courthouse, placed our candles, and then opened the forum for people to share their struggles and triumphs with mental health challenges. Quite a few high school kids stepped up and spoke. It was very moving! And then…young Theo, my son and past resident of Northwest Passage, stepped up to the megaphone and told his tale. I couldn’t believe it! It’s the first time I have ever heard him talk about it all – his anger issues, depression, placements, and therapy! Wow.

He was like a little man up there…we were so proud. Then a few kids walked up to him and talked to him about their siblings who have the same issues and are in placements, and Theo listened and offered support and advice. He even got a bracelet from one of the adult onlookers that simply states “you are not alone” and he still has it on.

On our way to the walk, Theo asked me, what do you think it means to be a man? I told him, a real man takes ownership of his choices and his actions, whether they are good or bad.  He did that last night. He told me that he’s still working on it all, and I told him that he just took the BIGGEST step in recovery.

Gillian Turner, Past Resident Parent – c/o Anna Pearson, Riverside Case Manager/Aftercare Coordinator

Northwest Passage stays in touch with the kids and their families after they leave. We enjoy hearing about what they are doing and like to share these stories. It warms our hearts to hear that they are embracing who they are and what they have been through.

SHARE

We say see you soon to Andrew Walsh

KIDS’ PHOTOS FROM WEEK DISPLAYED NEXT TO ANDREW’S

Friday afternoon we celebrated the kids’ week with Andrew Walsh during an open house reception. Photos our youth artists had taken hung in the gallery, alongside some of Andrew’s. People gathered, snacked, and talked about the week’s events with the kids and Andrew. It was a farewell for now to Andrew, who says he will be returning to spend more time with us again soon.

Thank you Andrew for the great week! The kids are giving rave reviews about their week with you.

SHARE

Starting at dawn, whole day spent with Andrew Walsh

UNEXPECTED SURPRISES THROUGHOUT

Day 4 of Artist in Residence with Andrew Walsh began at 4:45 a.m. at the front door of Northwest Passage Prairieview. Our small group of early risers traveled a mile or so down the trail from Prairieview to the Trade River to photograph the sunrise. There was frost on the grass and leaves, and a chill in the air, but as the sun rose it brought with it some subtle warmth which was just enough for the trees and meadow to come alive. Countless songbirds were all around us as the mist came off the water. A flock of Canadian geese flew overhead and a bald eagle perched in an Elm Tree less than fifty yards from us. It was truly a magical morning, and one not soon to be forgotten.

 

As the day went on (and after we had some breakfast) the rest of the Prairieview photographers joined us and we ventured out to Straight Lake State Park where the wildlife we saw and heard was seemingly endless, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians were all reveling in the warm spring day- and we were ready with our cameras in hand.

 

We parted ways with Prairieview just before lunch and the afternoon brought us to Crex Meadows where we met up with Lakeshore and Riverside photographers. Riverside counselor, Justin Stariha, connected our group with the crew of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources firefighters who were beginning a prescribed burn of a portion of storm damaged forest. After they established safe boundaries for us and shared a little about wildfire ecology with our students we had a chance to photograph the ecology in action.

 

 

The day wrapped up with a lesson on aperture and depth of field from Andrew. Then we quickly realized that the day had gone by all too quickly and we were sad to see it end.

 

 

Many thanks to Andrew Walsh for volunteering his time and sharing his passion and expertise with our kids on this ‘day in the life of a professional photographer.’

Ian Karl, Experiential Programming Coordinator

Come to the artist reception tonight from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Gallery (1 mile south of Webster on Hwy 35) to hear the experiences right from the kids. See the photos the kids took during the week and see Andrew and his work. Join us in celebrating this week!

SHARE

Residents “in the field” with Andrew Walsh

KIDS HAVE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS TAKEN

Residents from Prairieview, Lakeshore, and Riverside joined professional photographer and Webster native, Andrew Walsh, yesterday for an ‘in the field’ portrait shoot in Crex Meadows. Andrew has traveled to us from Portland, OR for the second time in 12 months to volunteer a week of his time and talent for our kids.

The wetlands of Crex were alive with the calls of trumpeter swans, red winged black birds, and song birds. The weather cooperated perfectly for this unique opportunity for Northwest Passage photographers to be on the other side of the camera and see first-hand what the life of a professional photographer is like.

From resident, CJ, on having his photo taken by a professional photographer:

“I don’t know how to describe it, it’s kind of like the greatest thing ever…”

If you’re in the area please join us for an artist reception at our gallery on Friday, May 20, from 4 – 6 p.m. Portraits of the kids, taken by Andrew last year, and some of his nature photography, will be showcased, next to the artwork of our kids. Come and check our talented youth’s photographs, pottery, sketches, and more. Also meet Andrew and our artists!

SHARE

Cait Irwin is Artist in Residence for entire month of June

CAIT WILL INSPIRE MANY KIDS DURING HER STAY

Through a collaboration between Northwest Passage and The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway Artist Cait Irwin will be spending the month of June on the banks of the Namekagon River as an Artist in Residence. Cait is a woman of many passions. She is an artist, entrepreneur, activist, environmentalist, author and visionary. Through the medium of mural painting, her expressed goal is to create “spaces that inspire”. She is also a published author of two books chronicling her fight with depression. Cait will be spending the month residing at the National Park Service’s Schaefer Cabin overlooking the Namekagon River. The Cabin, built in 1927 was recently restored through a cooperative initiative between Northwest Passage and the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.

Cait will be travelling to Northwest Wisconsin from her home state of Iowa. However, as a graduate of Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, this will be a homecoming of sorts for her. While in residency, Cait will lead art workshops with residents of Northwest Passage and host events with the public. She will shape the kids’ work into four finished paintings reflecting the nature and wildness of the Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers. Under Cait’s mentorship Schaefer Cabin will surely become a “place that inspires” many.

This Artist in Residency is being made possible through a generous grant from the St. Croix Valley Foundation, The Wisconsin Arts Board and Eastern National. More about Cait can be found on her website at www.irwinartworks.com.

The following is written by a resident of Northwest Passage Prairieview after an interview with Cait.

“Cait Irwin is a professional mural artist who I got a chance to speak with and find out what inspires her. She also does Graphic Design, Fine Art, and Sculpture Cake Art. A mural artist is someone who paints art on building walls or in large displays. Cait is a very unique and inspiring woman. Ever since she was a child, she always knew it was her calling to be an artist. Cait says, “Art is the one thing I never doubted, I was always sure of it.” Cait wanted to do mural art because she loves to paint large spaces. She finds it challenging and loves how it makes her work hard. “Bigger is better”, and in this case bigger certainly is better for Cait.

In June, Cait will be coming to Northwest Passage to share her love of art. She had expressed to me how excited she was to meet us and was thrilled to be getting the opportunity to experience art with kids working on their mental health. When Cait was going through her teen years, she turned to art because it helped her cope with her depression.

At the age of 14, Cait started writing a book, Conquering the Beast Within, about her struggles with depression. The book was originally her journal and she needed a way to communicate in those dark times. Cait describes her journey in writing the book as “Emotional and very raw.” Her hopes in writing Conquering the Beast Within, is to reach out to teens struggling with depression and other mental health issues. Her book includes many paintings she did while she was struggling with depression. Many would think writing a book about personal experiences would make you feel vulnerable. But Cait got to a point where she was comfortable talking about depression. “It’s a sacrifice putting yourself out there. But if it means hearing someone say ‘I’m not alone’ and helping them, it’s worth the sacrifice.” In talking with Cait, I thought this was one of most inspiring things she said.

Cait has a big interest in animals and nature. One of her paintings, Grandmother Elephant, she painted because she wanted to show the idea of our life cycle. If you look at the photo you will see how the elephant is holding the egg. The egg signifies our birth, the roots represent how we grow. The elephant is our memory; the skull is merging into old age and the moon is death. I thought this was a very interesting and fascinating portrait.

I am excited to meet Cait. She is a very passionate and strong woman and I think she will inspire every person here, whether they are staff or a resident, in one way or another. Cait has already inspired me to use art to help me cope with my problems and to not be afraid to talk about them.”

Northwest Passage cares about the artistic growth of our kids. We invite artists to come in, as an artist in residence, to guide them on journeys of self-expression through the language of art.

SHARE

InaNewFlight looks to experts on BirdWalk

GIRLS LEARN ABOUT 43 DIFFERENT BIRD SPECIES

Four dedicated, novice birders from the Prairieview program woke up before sunrise and geared up for their first “bird walk” at Wisconsin Interstate Park. The bird walk was led by the Polk County’s most sought after “bird man,” Brian Collins. Brian teaches at Unity High School located in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin and spends his summers working all over the state conducting bird surveys.

The girls were welcomed with enthusiasm to the bird walk, which was attended by a diverse group of local people all wanting to spend their Saturday morning the same way (on the trail counting birds)! Geared up with binoculars, pencils and bird count pamphlets, we set out on our morning adventure. The first exciting species noted was the Great Blue Heron which included views of their nest, hatchlings and the adults carrying building material up to the nest. Next up was the great Bald Eagle who dipped down into the marsh to gather nesting materials before heading back to its nest, giving us an extended amount of time to view the raptor in action. The morning continued to get better as the expert birders were hearing several species of birds at the same time, calling them out and the girls worked hard to find the different spotted birds with their binoculars. All in all, we either saw or heard 43 different species. At the very end of the hike, a special treat was in store as the parks education ranger, Julie Fox, pointed out a small hole in a bare tree near the trail. Much to our surprise, the hole was indeed the home to a pair of Ruby Breasted Nuthatches. We were mesmerized for several minutes, watching the pair trade places and do some cleaning of their house by ousting sawdust with their beaks. We had a fantastic morning and it was so fun being on the trail with experts on the topic. If the girls spotted a bird, there was someone right next to them willing to help identify the bird and share their knowledge.

With cold fingers and a new appreciation for early Saturday mornings, we enjoyed a hot chocolate and fresh cake donut from the local bakery before heading back to Northwest Passage. Our conversation on the way home was full of contagious enthusiasm for the morning experience and each girl talked about their favorite bird of the day.

Brittany Bosak, Prairieview Teacher

Here at Northwest Passage, we enjoy watching our kids learn. Our teachers work hard to come up with lesson plans to get them out of the classroom and exploring the local area to learn about wildlife. InaNewFlight is a bird unit dedicated to teaching our youth about the many different species of birds and their hardworking lifestyles.

SHARE

Pin It on Pinterest