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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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The Crowd Goes Wild for the Passage Pioneers!

The Crowd Goes Wild for the Passage Pioneers!

Excitement was in the air for the pep rally for the Passage Pioneer’s first big game! The girls loved having the support of the crowd. Thanks to all that attended!

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