Contact us Monday through Friday 8:00am CST to 4:00pm CST at 715-327-4402

20th Annual Passage Scramble a Success!

Sunny skies and perfect temperatures led to a great turnout for the 20th Annual Passage Golf Scramble, themed “Superstitions” in honor of its Friday the 13th date. Frederic Golf Course was a busy place as 27 teams readied for the Noon shotgun start. The event was a huge success with dozens of community members and organizations stepping up to raise over $14,000 to support Northwest Passage’s Alumni Award Fund. Northwest Passage has been dedicated to restoring hope through innovative mental health services for children and families for over 40 years. The money raised will be used to support both current and past residents who demonstrate success on their road to recovery.

A large group of golfers gathered at Frederic Golf Course to support Northwest Passage’s Alumni Award Fund

The first-place prize of $300 was awarded to Team Lillehaug, consisting of Rob Lillehaug, Logan Lillehaug, Bob Schofield, and Ethan Alexander, and was graciously donated back to the Alumni Award Fund.

First Place Team: Ethan Alexander, Logan Lillehaug, Rob Lillehaug, Bob Schofield

Teams enjoyed a delicious meal as they listened to Northwest Passage Alumni speaker, Sadaf, explain how her time at Northwest Passage has shaped her future. Sadaf was the recipient of a camera through the Alumni Award Fund and was later chosen to be part of an alumni photography trip to Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida. Sadaf earned a second alumni award to help with tuition expenses and is currently attending Marquette University. Sadaf spent the summer as an underwater photography intern at Northwest Passage, bringing her journey full circle. She expressed gratitude to everyone who came out to support kids, like her, as they work to improve their futures.

The day ended with dozens of valuable prizes, including a big-screen TV, golf equipment, a trolling motor, an ECHO Trimmer, Adirondack chairs, a weekend stay & play package, and much more being awarded to lucky raffle winners. Northwest Passage would like to thank their many sponsors and prize donors for contributing to the success of the 20th Annual Passage Scramble.

Northwest Passage Gallery Opens the Doors

After years of planning and fundraising, the new Northwest Passage Gallery has stood ready to create a more vibrant community through access to the arts since its completion in March 2020. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept the gallery doors closed, but that is about to change. The Northwest Passage Gallery will be one of the stops on the Earth Arts Spring Art Tour, being held May 7-9 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm each day. Following the tour, the gallery will be open each of the remaining weekends in May, Friday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, and Sunday 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Hours for the rest of the summer will be announced soon.

The Northwest Passage Gallery is an expansion of the InaNewLight Gallery, an extension of Northwest Passage’s residential mental treatment programs for youth, that has served as a place for outreach and a place to showcase Northwest Passage residents’ inspiring artwork to the public since 2012. The expanded gallery, developed in partnership with the Burnett Area Arts Group (BAAG), features art in many different mediums and styles. Plan to visit the Northwest Passage Gallery for the Earth Arts Spring Art Tour and be inspired! Masking and social distancing will be strictly enforced.

Paddles on the Namekagon 2020

Paddles on the Namekagon is a summer arts project held at Schaefer Cabin for the youth of Northwest Passage. The goal of this project was to connect kids with the ecology, history, and novelty of the Namekagon River through exploration and art. Each paddle design, as unique as the young artist who created it, is geometric, non-representational art in the color palette of the Namekagon River, using patterns that are reminiscent of the voyageur and fur trade era.

WEEK 1: SCHAEFER CABIN EXPLORATION

The students visited Schaefer Cabin for the first time. They explored the natural beauty surrounding the cabin and walked the hiking paths that lead to the Namekagon River, where they took time for a moment of mindfulness and wrote in their journals. They were introduced to the Paddles on the Namekagon summer art project that would include taking pictures while canoeing down the river and designing and painting their own unique paddles.

WEEKS 2&3: CANOE & PHOTOGRAPHY TRAINING

The students spent the next two weeks practicing their canoeing skills. They learned how to steer the canoes with paddles and how to unload and load the canoes as a team. They practiced communicating with one another while on the water and were able to relax and enjoy the fresh water while they swam. During these weeks, the kids also learned how to use an underwater camera, which would be an important skill in the coming weeks. They developed confidence and newfound skills while they enjoyed exploring Wisconsin’s Northwoods.

WEEK 4: COLOR INSPIRATION

The kids canoed down the Namekagon River for the first time and took photos of the scenery both above and below the surface. They took special notice of the small plants and bugs and took pictures of them to reveal a whole palette of colors that would go unnoticed at first glance.

WEEK 5: PADDLE PREP

Due to mid-summer heat advisories and thunderstorms, the kids stayed on campus to prepare their paddles for painting. Although they were unable to go to Schaefer Cabin, their time was still packed full of art, time outside, and moments to reflect. They learned how to sand and applied that new knowledge to their work. They sprayed the paddles with water from the Namekagon River to raise the wood grain to help the paint adhere to the paddle. After the sanding process, the students began to tape their designs on the paddles.

WEEK 6: PAINTING BEGINS

The kids returned to Schaefer Cabin excited to begin the painting process. They got some pointers on how to paint wood, which is different from painting other surfaces, then began to bring their colorful paddle designs to life. Their palette of colors was sourced from the photos they took during week 4.

WEEKS 7&8: PAINTING CONTINUES

The painting process took several weeks. During week 7, many of the kids decided to pull back the tape to reveal the work they had done so far. Some were very happy with their progress and others decided they wanted to make some changes. They discovered that the painting process, like life, involves a lot of trial and error. During week 8, the kids began to work on the final touches of their paddles and think more deeply about how they wanted to build on the designs already in progress. They put their creative skills to the test and began to adapt their designs to incorporate new inspiration. Despite some challenges, the kids had a lot of successful moments during the painting process and were beginning to visualize their final projects.

WEEK 9: PADDLE COMPLETION

By week 9, the students were getting excited to finish the projects they had been working on throughout the summer. They added the final touches to their paddles and lifted the tape off to reveal their finished designs. They felt a sense of accomplishment and expressed a lot of contentment with their finished paddles.

WEEK 10: GOODBYE TO SCHAEFER CABIN

As summer began to fade, it was time to say goodbye to Schaefer Cabin. The students cleaned up their workspaces and reflected on the summer they spent along the Namekagon River in Northern Wisconsin. They reminisced on their joyful memories at the cabin and shared stories of the moments they were challenged. They expressed their appreciation for their experiences and were excited to seal their paddles to make them water-resistant and ready for use.

The nearly one hundred years of history witnessed by the solid pine walls of Schaefer Cabin will not soon be coming to an end. Instead, the cabin will be a place for new memories to be made as Northwest Passage continues their mission of hope and healing.

Northwest Passage has witnessed the unique power art holds to serve as a mode of expression for children with severe mental health challenges and are leaders in innovatively leveraging nature as a stage for healing. They express sincere gratitude to the National Park Service, the Kohler Foundation, and the Horst Rechelbacher Foundation for their generous support of this project.

It Takes a Village to Build a Hammock Village

The unofficial start of summer is behind us and now, more than ever, the kids residing at Northwest Passage are ready to get outside! While the world beyond our campuses is unpredictable and ever-changing the need for a sense of safety and healthy ways to tolerate distress persist in the children receiving mental health treatment at Northwest Passage. Unfettered access to the outdoors has proven to be our greatest asset during the coronavirus pandemic. With our young residents facing continued isolation from their families and the inability to stray too far from campus, the staff at Northwest Passage needed to create more outdoor spaces and activities on campus to keep the youth occupied and engaged.

Enter the Hammock Village! A hammock village consists of 10 colorful hammocks hanging between a group of poles set in a circular pattern. Sails attached to the top of the poles offer protection from the hot summer sun. The Hammock Village offers kids and staff a place to congregate, at a safe distance, to enjoy nature as they participate in group therapy sessions, read or study for school, or just relax and reflect.

With initial plans in place to construct a Hammock Village on our Prairieview campus in Frederic, a call went out for donations to make the project a reality. Donors responded in force, with over 73 individuals making donations towards the project. The tremendous response not only allowed for completion of a Hammock Village on the Prairieview campus but enabled construction to begin on a second Hammock Village to be located on our Riverside campus in Webster.

Thanks to Northwest Passage’s “village” of supporters, young people receiving mental health treatment at Northwest Passage this summer will have an exciting new place to connect and grow on their path to hope and healing.

Northwest Passage encourages residents to build a healthy lifestyle in accordance with the PassageWay, which includes eight therapeutic lifestyle choices: Nature | Recreation | Relaxation | Nutrition | Exercise | Relationships | Service | Spirit. Our Hammock Village offers kids an opportunity for recreation and relaxation in nature and promotes building healthy relationships with others.

The Birkie Experience

RESIDENTS PREPARE TO VOLUNTEER AT HISTORIC EVENT

As the American Birkebeiner speeds towards the 46th annual Nordic ski race residents from Riverside gathered together on one chilly morning and Prairieview on another, to test out their cross-country skiing skills on the world-famous race course reaching from Cable to Hayward in Northern Wisconsin.

An outdoor adventure like this is a great way to apply elements of the Passageway, such as nature, recreation, and exercise in to the residents daily lives. This was also an excellent learning opportunity for the residents to see how the Birkebeiner’s mission statement is very similar to the therapeutic lifestyle that they learn at Northwest Passage. The Birkebeiner aligns with the Passageway in the commitment to maintain active and healthy habits in the lives of their participants. The Birkebeiner motto of ski, run, bike, live! promotes not just a race, but a year-round lifestyle.

This day trip to the Birkie trail built on lessons and training that the group had learned on the Riverside Campus over the previous weeks. It was an opportunity for them to put in to practice the skills they had learned in a new and more challenging environment. Skiing the trail gave residents the opportunity to see how they could use this element of healing long after their time at Northwest Passage.

It was also an orientation for Riverside, to the site where they will volunteer with other members of the community on the day of the race to photograph and provide “feeds” for the thousands of skiers that will stream through the Strand-Johnson aid station in just a little over a week.

Residents from Prairieview got the opportunity to ski around the Hatchery Creek aid station, a stop located in the final stretch of the race. The residents also had the invaluable opportunity to go to the Birkebeiner office and visitor center to meet with Laurie Landgraf, a long-time skier of the Birkie. Landgraf helped the residents paint a picture of the history and the excitement of the long-awaited race day. Residents explored the visitor center and marveled at ski equipment from the past and fun facts about the race.

Skiing through the trail, the whoops and hollers of excitement bounced around the trees as the kids glided through the snow. They were willing to reach and stretch to learn new skiing techniques, even some tumbles in the snow were met with smiles. Towards the end of the day, the pride on the kids’ faces was clear. Both groups of residents received an invaluable opportunity to ski on the same path that elite athletes and Olympians have for 45 years. This was an outing that they will not soon forget.

HELP SUPPORT MORE OUTINGS LIKE THIS!

Northwest Passage encourages residents to build a healthy lifestyle in accordance with the PassageWay, which includes eight therapeutic lifestyle choices: Nature | Recreation | Relaxation | Nutrition | Exercise | Relationships | Service | Spirit. Participation in the Birkebeiner Ski Race offers kids a healthy form of recreation and exercise, and promotes service to others through volunteerism.

   

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PIONEERS EARN THEIR FIRST WIN!

BASKETBALL HELPS NORMALIZE LIFE FOR KIDS IN RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT

Northwest Passage continues to break down walls and stereotypes surrounding mental health issues by offering innovative programs and opportunities at our residential treatment facilities. One of the most unique opportunities allows residents of our Prairieview program in Frederic to join a basketball team.

The “Pioneers” as they are called, just wrapped up their third season, and they are just that—Pioneers. The team members have stepped out of their comfort zones, most of them trying basketball, or any organized sport for that matter, for the first time. The team, coordinated and coached by Northwest Passage teacher Taylor Mathias, provides the unique opportunity to bring the girls into the community, allows them to play against other girls their age, and normalizes life for them. The team plays approximately eight games per season against local public and private schools.

It took three seasons, and 21 games, but the Pioneers recently earned their first win in program history. Coach Mathias described the last seconds of that memorable game, “As I watched the final seconds of the game tick down, I knew we had just solidified our first win. I felt like time stood still. I looked around a gymnasium that was full of teachers, therapists, case managers, clinicians, and all sorts of direct care staff that had come out to support their girls. I looked down the bench and saw all of my players and coaching staff trying to hold back their exuberance for just a few more seconds. The clock hit triple zeros; we shook hands with the opposing team, and then the celebrations began. It felt like we had won a National Championship. Fans and family ran onto the court and hugs were given as tears ran down the many proud faces of those who knew just how far these girls have come”.

Coaches Taylor Mathias (left) and Dustin Anderson (right) with the 2019-20 Pioneers team after their first franchise win

Another successful season is in the books for the Pioneers of Northwest Passage. Reflecting on the season, Mathias said, “After games, I often get asked, “Did you win?”. With this team, it goes beyond the win/loss column. When I see these girls laughing, high-fiving, and busting some serious dance moves (yes, sometimes they dance during the game), I realize—this is winning! After one of our games this season, I overheard a player tell her teammate, “Wow, tonight I felt normal”. That is a win in my book any day. “

Help support more life-changing experiences for the youth at Northwest Passage!

Northwest Passage encourages residents to build a healthy lifestyle in accordance with the PassageWay, which includes eight therapeutic lifestyle choices: Nature | Recreation | Relaxation | Nutrition | Exercise | Relationships | Service | Spirit. Participation in the Pioneers Basketball program is a healthy form of recreation that encourages team relationships and promotes regular exercise.

   

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“Healing in the Riverway” at River Falls Public Library

MONTH-LONG EXHIBIT SHARES A MESSAGE OF HOPE & HEALING

The Eugene H. & Dorothy Kleinpell Gallery at the River Falls Public Library shared Northwest Passage’s message of hope and healing in an exhibit displayed from September 30 – November 1, 2019. Gallery visitors were able to experience the healing power of nature as the residents of Northwest Passage debuted their most recent terrestrial and underwater photographs. In addition to stunning environmental photographs, the exhibit featured unique portraits of the artists, superimposed with scenes from nature that hold special meaning for them. Through Northwest Passage’s Artist-in-Residence program, professional artists were able to help youth who are struggling with mental health issues find beauty in the world that surrounds them, and in themselves.

A closing reception was held on Wednesday, October 30 and was attended by many members of the public as well as several Northwest Passage residents who had photographs on display. Ian Karl, Northwest Passage Experiential Programming Coordinator, and Dr. Toben LaFrancois, Northland College, were on hand to share their experiences with the kids on their recent underwater photography trip to Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida. They talked about the impact the immersive therapy experience had on the kids they traveled with, and also touched on the importance of conserving natural envirornments and their importance in our overall ecosystem.

Several of the young photographers shared their experiences with nature and underwater photography during their time at Northwest Passage. The kids were united in their belief that their time spent under the surface and behind the camera was life-changing. Many commented on the calming effect they felt while immursed in a natural setting and the sense of accomplishment they achived through creating the stunning photos on display. One resident stated “It’s so cool to see a photo by a professional photographer up on the wall in a gallery and then realize, HEY… I’m that photographer!”. Members of the public were impressed with the confidence, candor, and composure the young photographers displayed in front of the audience, further evidence that these young people have truly grown from their experiences at Northwest Passage.

The exhibit was a tremendous success, with more than 760 people visiting the gallery during the show. Cole Zrostlik, River Falls Public Library Event and Gallery Coordinator, said “People loved the show, and several visitors felt inspired enough to get in touch with NWP in person! Our library director was incredibly moved by the students who talked at the closing reception, and I was impressed with everything, as always!” 

Northwest Passage is thankful for the opportunity to exhibit our work in such a beautfiful gallery space, and look forward to more shows in the future!

HELP US CREATE LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN RESIDENTIAL MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT.

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18th Annual Passage Scramble a Success!

Sunny skies and perfect temperatures led to a great turnout for the 18th Annual Passage Golf Scramble, themed “Around the World in 18 Holes”. Frederic Golf Course was a busy place as 32 teams readied for the Noon shotgun start at the course’s largest tournament of the season. The event was a huge success with dozens of community members and organizations stepping up to raise over $17,000 to support Northwest Passage’s Alumni Award Fund. Northwest Passage has been dedicated to restoring hope though innovative mental health services for children and families for over 40 years. The money raised will be used to support both current and past residents who demonstrate success on their road to recovery.

First Place Team: Rusty, Marcus, Matt, and Travis Helland

Teams enjoyed a delicious meal of international-themed cuisine as they listened to Northwest Passage Alumni speaker, Jade, explain how her time at Northwest Passage has shaped her future. Jade was the recipient of a camera through the Alumni Award Fund and explained how that gift has allowed her to connect with positive role models and mentors in her community. As Jade heads off to college this fall, she expressed gratitude to everyone who came out to support kids, like her, as they work to improve their futures.

The first place prize of $300 was awarded to Team Helland, consisting of father Rusty, and sons Marcus, Matt, and Travis Helland, and was graciously donated back to the Alumni Award Fund. Though there were undoubtedly many shots to cheer for on the course throughout the day, none compared to Ethan Alexander’s hole-in-one on #9. Ethan, a recent graduate of Frederic High School, was awarded a GoPro courtesy of Larsen Auto Center of Frederic for his effort.

Ethan Alexander scored a hole-in-one on hole 9

The day ended with dozens of valuable prizes, including a big-screen TV, golf equipment from TaylorMade, Callaway and Ping, a gas grill, Adirondack chairs, weekend stay & play packages, and much more being awarded to lucky raffle winners. Northwest Passage would like to thank their many sponsors and prize donors for contributing to the success of the 18th Annual Passage Scramble.

Healing in the Riverway

PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS ANDREW WALSH, JAMES NETZ, AND KAREEN KING INSPIRE CREATIVITY IN RESIDENTS

The In a New Light Gallery was alive with excitement on August 10, 2019 as nearly one hundred Northwest Passage residents, staff, and supporters gathered to celebrate the conclusion of their fourth Artist-in-Residence (AiR) Season titled “Healing in the Riverway”. The AiR program was developed to provide a therapeutic experience with art for the youth of Northwest Passage. Each summer professional artists are welcomed to historic Schaefer Cabin on the Namekagon River to share their talents and philosophies with young people struggling with mental health issues.

This summer the kids spent two weeks in June with returning artist and professional photographer, Andrew Walsh. Andrew came from Portland, OR to lead the kids in nature photography and create unique double exposure portraits of each photographer, merging their image with a natural element that holds meaning for them, creating wonderful and unique works of art. The kids then spent two weeks with professional nature photographer James Netz, a local artist who splits time between the Twin Cities and Hayward. James is passionate about the outdoors and capturing its beauty and was able to inspire the kids to use their cameras to see nature as art. The final artist to visit Northwest Passage was Registered Drama Therapist, Kareen King from Osage City, KS. Using artistic modalities like storytelling, poetry, creative expression, metaphorical exercises, music, and improvisation, Kareen helped the kids capture their thoughts and feelings in written biographies and reflections, and vocalize their experiences through song and spoken word performances.

The unique resident portraits and photographs will be on display at the In a New Light Gallery, located at 7417 N Bass Lake Road in Webster, through September 2019. Admission to the gallery is free and open to the public M-F from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. For more information about Northwest Passage, please call 715-327-4402 or visit nwpltd.org.

This program was supported in part by grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board, National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Midwest Touring Fund, and the St. Croix Valley Foundation.

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The Compassionate Hallway

Courthouse Corridor Features Inspiring NWP Images

The main hallway of the Polk County Courthouse has recently taken on a new look. A variety of breathtaking photographs now adorn the walls thanks to a partnership between Polk County Judge Jeff Anderson and Northwest Passage. The two joined forces to create the “Compassionate Hallway”, a project Judge Anderson has been pondering for nearly four years. The goal of the “Compassionate Hallway” is to help calm the setting for those undergoing some of the most stressful and emotionally challenging moments of their lives. Whether a victim or a defendant, a witness or divorcee, a family member of someone affected or the child of someone undergoing a stressful situation, many find themselves forced to wait in the hallway outside the three courtrooms with little to look at other than other anxious faces or the commercial shade of neutral beige that covers the length of the hallway. The “Compassionate Hallway” project turned the long hallway into a stage for a display of photographs from around the world.

 

Julie Hall, Development and Communications Director, said “When Judge Anderson contacted Northwest Passage to be part of the Compassionate Hallway project it was a natural fit. His desire to create a space to offer inspiration and encouragement in the courthouse building closely aligns with Northwest Passage’s mission of restoring hope to those we serve. We’re happy to have been a part of making Judge Anderson’s vision a reality”.

 

Northwest Passage’s success is due in large part to its high-impact experiential programming. They have implemented a powerful therapeutic arts program, In a New Light, and showcase their residents’ inspiring artwork to the public at the one-of-a-kind In a New Light Gallery in Webster, WI. 

 

Funded with private donations and grants, the In a New Light program has provided an opportunity for Northwest Passage’s youth to travel around the country, and even internationally, capturing amazing sunsets, beautiful wildlife and serene wilderness scenes with their cameras. Along the way, many also captured parts of themselves that were otherwise out of reach.

 

Mark Elliott, Executive Director, said “Many of our kids’ lives have been defined by their mistakes, they’ve never received positive feedback or acknowledgment for the good things they’ve done. When they take a photograph they can be proud of, then see that photograph displayed to the public and be so well received, it has the potential to tap into feelings they may have never experienced. Feelings like pride, self-confidence, and acceptance. That can be a defining moment in the lives of our kids”.

 

The Compassionate Hallway features 70 of these inspirational photographs, each including a reflection, portrait, and biography of the photographer. The Compassionate Hallway is open to the public during regular business hours at the Polk County Court House. 

Your support helps fund In a New Light programming and projects like the “Compassionate Hallway”!

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