Contact us Monday through Friday 8:00am CST to 4:30pm CST at 715-327-4402

Prairieview dives deep into photography

RESIDENT DESCRIBES THE FEELING OF BEING UNDERWATER

The girls in the Northwest Passage Prairieview program have officially taken In a New Light (IaNL) off the deep end. This week, seven of the residents were able to embark on a whole new photography adventure and explore life under water. With the scuba and ecology expertise of our friends, Toben Lafrancois and Ian Karl, along with the assistance of two IaNL interns, Megan and Alex, these lucky ladies were able to capture a different world through the lens of a camera.

To say the day didn’t have its bumps would be a lie; when we got to the field it was rainy and cold, and several of the girls struggled to find equipment that would fit.  However; with the use of distress tolerance and radical acceptance, along with other DBT skills the girls have been working on mastering, attitudes quickly changed once in the water. No longer was the rain bothersome or the wetsuits too tight; the tension had been lifted. Not a word was spoken; nor was it needed as the girls floated on the surface of the lake allowing themselves to be consumed by the therapy of the water. My experience as a staff member is far less significant than that of the residents.

Kelly Vogen, Fitness Counselor

Libby, 16, – Prairieview Resident reflects on this first time experience:
“When you have a camera in your hands and curiosity in your heart, everything else suddenly becomes insignificant. It’s just you, the camera, and the world. Fear and anxiety are replaced by curiosity and excitement – you will stop at nothing to get that one shot you want, and your struggles take a backseat as the entirely new world you discover through your lens consumes you.

When you look under the surface for the first time and you see the aquatic menagerie of animals that scurry about just beneath the surface and the plants that sway peacefully in the current, it makes you stop and wonder what else you’ve been missing all this time. You’re no longer worried about what others will think of you, or about an upcoming test that has you stressed, or even financial issues – your ears are tuned into the tranquility of the underwater nothingness, and the sounds of people shouting over one another for no reason or of cars going nowhere fast have been left in an entirely different world.

Before IaNL, anxiety had been gnawing at my insides for years, until there was no peacefulness left. Everything put me on edge, and I had no escape. I was constantly angry for all the sickness I had been plagued with, for all the death I had dealt with, and anything else I could find a reason to be angry with. Through photography, I have been able to discover an inner-calm that I never knew before, and I have been able to focus my energy on capturing the beauty that the world has to offer for those who are willing to see it, instead of focusing on every single way that life has been unfair to me.

Underwater photography is especially meditative, because all you have to do is float and appreciate what surrounds you.”

 

Stop into the Gallery today and see last year’s New Light Under the Surface photography exhibit.

Northwest Passage is dedicated to teaching kids how to live a therapeutic lifestyle. The eight therapeutic lifestyle choices include: nature, recreation, relaxation, nutrition, exercise, relationships, service, and spirit. The New Light Under the Surface programming incorporates many of these choices. It gets the kids in nature. It gives them something recreational to do that they enjoy. It is relaxing for many. It moves their bodies for exercise. It builds relationships through the buddy system. It gives them time to reflect on what matters (spirit).

SHARE

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

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

Need for Speed met at Riverside through Pinewood Derby

TAKING PART IN A CLASSIC BOYHOOD EXPERIENCE

 

This April was host to the 20th annual pinewood derby races at Northwest Passage Riverside.

The need for speed was racing through our Riverside Creative Arts program as the residents worked feverishly to create unique and original car designs to enter into the big race. From trucks to convertibles, the various designs were tested and adjusted by each student to maximize the speed of their cars. We were even lucky enough to have a celebrity appearance by Mater from the movie Cars as he raced backwards down the track.

After the cars were completed, and race day arrived, we all gathered around our pinewood derby raceway. The races took place, cheers and laughter could be heard echoing around the Riverside grounds, as each student entered their car to race against staff and peers. The excitement and sportsmanship witnessed amongst the residents truly made the 20th annual pinewood derby race a memorable and inspirational experience.

Ben Johnson – Riverside Teacher

Northwest Passage focuses on many areas of care for our kids. One is through our expressive arts program. This program at Riverside gives the boys a chance to take part in classic boyhood experiences that they may be missing out on during their stay with us or that they may never have gotten to experience if they did not come to be with us.

SHARE

Thinking outside of the box, with boxes… and MORE!

CLASSROOM FUN SPARKS LOVE FOR LEARNING AT PASSAGE

As you know, our experiential education programming has allowed InaNewLight to soar to great heights and allows learners of all types to reclaim a love for the classroom. Now take a moment to see our educators, and kids, in action as they strive to provide a classroom experience to fit all of our kids’ needs; to ignite a passion for learning.

By combining service, nature, and project-based learning we are curating classroom experiences where our kids are excelling at learning, sometimes for the first time. If you’d like to learn about what we’ve been up to, here are just a few stories to get you started.

We are proud of the education the kids at Passage receive during a very difficult time in their lives. The kids that come to us are dealing with mental health and emotional challenges, but they’re also struggling with the realities of living away from home, meeting new people, making friends, and learning many new life skills. One thing we can do to help ease the kids into their home-away-from-home is to provide an adaptive education that looks and feel like a normal classroom. We still have science fairs, papers due, and those desks connected to their chair, but we also inject project based learning that can open up the classroom to learners of all levels.

Our educational curriculum is guided not only by state and core standards, but by the principals of living the PassageWay – learning to live a Therapeutic Lifestyle. This means that many of the elements to living a therapeutic lifestyle are incorporated into the classroom, resulting in a more dynamic approach to teaching. From service to time spent in nature, our kids have a robust learning experience that we’re proud to say is fully accredited and truly serves as a building block to success in life.

SHARE

Pin It on Pinterest