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

Prairieview at the Birkebeiner!


Six young ladies from Prairieview traveled north and braved the bone-chilling rain to volunteer and capture some special moments of the skiers as they traverse the trail in their final miles.

The 43rd American Birkebeiner took place over the past weekend and Northwest Passage was there to capture the action. The young ladies of Prairieview volunteered at the Gravel Pit Aid Station with helping hands. They passed out water, energy drinks, and snacks to the racers. Some of the fastest cross country skiers in the world were on hand along with dedicated citizen racers from around the country. The girls from Prairieview not only volunteered but captured the excitement and emotion of the ski marathon with their cameras.

Building Character with Marshmallows!

Building marshmallow towers, building character, just another day at Prairieview

It is easy to take for granted the power of character and how we develop the very mental and moral qualities special to each of us, but here at Passage we work every single day to nurture healthy “characters.”

Each week, the ladies at Prairieview participate in “Character Development” group. The group teaches the girls about 14 character traits, such as respect, honesty, integrity, compassion, empathy, perseverance, tolerance and character. The goal of the group is to educate and inspire the girls to treat one another with respect and kindness. The group also educates them on the difference between inevitable conflict and bullying – a core theme of the group. The girls participate in group discussion, team building exercises, projects, activities, and even have take away work to reflect on their experiences.

Recently, the girls had a team exercise to wrap up the latest cycle of their group. The challenge was to build the tallest structure their group could in just 12 minutes! Each group was allowed: spaghetti noodles, different sized marshmallows, and 1 object of their choice to build their tower. The structures had to be free standing. Each group approached the challenge differently, but they were all successful in collaborating and practicing the traits they have learned about!

Brittany Bosak – Prairieview Teacher



Prairieview makes friends with the horses

The girls enjoy making friends with the horses during horse therapy. Check out some of their reflections and photos from some of their sessions this summer.

I built a neat relationship with Telly. Telly is my baby. I would call him my horse. My bro. My bestie for the restie. I hope I’m able to see him again. He’s something I’m thankful for. He makes me smile!


You make your own pains in life, like we made our paths today. And the fact our paths coincide with each other shows how we came together at Passage.


Tully (Freedom’s Call)

I feel as though I cultivated a budding relationship with him. He was fun to just be around and work with! I wish I could bond with him more, like twice a week so he could get to know me better. Would they stop being so shy if they saw me more often? Or would they just stay shy? These are the questions that keep me up at night. Ha ha!


I really enjoyed being out here. It was an awesome incentive to go home and stay out of the 4th floors… I loved getting to work with the horses and the little guys. I guess they all have their own personalities. I’ve always wanted to work with animals when I get older. Or even once I get out of Passage. Thanks for letting us come out here ladies!


Adios (Pony)

I liked the pony. Well all of them but me and the pony had a lot in common. I relate to the pony because he tends to run away from people/or doesn’t trust them. That is totally me. It’s hard for me to trust people but I can always work on it.


I have trouble building relationships with other people. I don’t have trust issues, I’m not shy, I just don’t connect with people as others do. I feel like I came from another planet and I have to learn how to relate to these people on earth. I feel as though this is reflected in the way I interacted with the horses. I can be nice, I can be friendly and talk about things other people and I have in common, but usually it doesn’t get much farther than that. I can like a person, get along with a person, and we can call each other best friends. But there’s always this subtle barrier that makes me believe that my relationships with people aren’t as deep as they could be.


We all need a partner in

life’s journey

Whether it’s an animal or a person

it doesn’t matter

Love is love, isn’t it?



IMG_20150812_105407310  IMG_20150812_105530807 IMG_20150812_105835201


Connecting with Earth, Art, and Soul – Pottery at Riverside

“Clay work is like the Cinderella of the art therapies. She still waits to be discovered with her magic, her beauty and her ability to transform the wells of human suffering into places of insight and celebration. Her dark earthly solid mass, often appearing in greyish, brownish or terracotta dress, is hardly alluring at first sight. Touching this sticky cold mass, you sense she has a longing and determination to merge with your skin.” – Sherwood, 2010

Soggy, sticky, and not necessarily visually appealing, clay sets itself apart from other mediums. While creating ceramic pieces, there is a level of hands-on involvement that is absent from other forms of art. Its malleability is very appealing to everyone who touches it. It can be squeezed, squashed, and rolled; holding the form a person molds it into. It takes on whatever texture the creator impresses on it.IMG_9820

For these reasons the residents of Northwest Passage often express the comfort that working with clay brings them and their desire to use it as a “fidget”, which is a coping strategy means to calm or distract them. But ceramics provide the residents of Northwest Passage with much more than just a sensory tool; it provides them with the opportunity to gain competency in a new skill.

It is not uncommon for the residents to express hesitance and a lack of confidence when beginning ceramics, adamantly insist that they will never be able to complete the task given to them, let alone master it. Some even try to throw in the towel halfway through class when challenges arise on their way to their end goal. But with time and encouragement the residents start to fully understand how the material works and begin to master the techniques needed to achieve the task that they set out to complete.IMG_9822

The ultimate reward comes when their pieces emerge from the kiln after the glaze firing for the first time, all shiny and bright. There is something really special about seeing for the first time something that you created with your hands that is so tangible, solid, and permanent. For many residents this is an “I can” moment. A moment when they get to hold a ceramic piece in their hands that is a physical representation of how time and effort can and will result in something wonderful.

The notion that effort will result in a better outcome is something that is essential for all people who want to obtain a goal, but is especially important for the residents of Northwest Passage to know, as they are overcoming challenges that are seem insurmountable to the most people. Ceramics is a tool that is used to help the residents to know what it means to learn a skill, practice it, and ultimately succeed.IMG_9821

Experiences like these give the residents of Northwest Passage a sense of confidence and pride that will allow them to see their past experiences as challenges to overcome as opposed to an impassable road block.

Jae Mawby, Northwest Passage, In a New Light Intern – Summer 2015

The boys of Riverside filmed the assembly of their new pottery wheel. They had a blast and we hope you enjoy watching them in action.

Northwest Passage Riverside is a residential treatment abode for boys learning to deal with intense mental health struggles. Aptly named, Riverside is situated along the calm banks of the Clam River, in Northwestern Wisconsin and proves to be a place of both healing and building new connections with everything from self to nature. Be it enjoying the grounds, including a private peninsula, or taking part in the powerful and unique experiential based therapy programming, these boys have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to heal at Northwest Passage.

Same great place, just a few new names

As Friends of Northwest Passage, we wanted to let you in on a little secret, this month Northwest Passage’s residential treatment programs will have new names. The program names you’re familiar with are being updated to reflect the scenic environments in which each program is located.

Our name change is just that; the same great organization and team will be here to serve your loved ones and clients.

Check out our new names!

Passage I (PI), located in Webster, WI on the Clam River, is now known as Northwest Passage Riverside

Passage II (PII), located in Spooner, WI on Rooney Lake, is now known as Northwest Passage Lakeshore

Passage III (PIII), located in Frederic, WI situated near the prairie, is now known as Northwest Passage Prairieview

Child & Adolescent Center (Assessment), located in Frederic, WI, will remain the same

Why did we chose to change the program’s names? 

Northwest Passage’s board recognized the need to update our program names to better reflect the experience that our clients have while at Northwest Passage. After a thoughtful process of name selection, we are proud to announce these new names: Riverside, Lakeshore, and  Prairieview. We feel they will communicate to the world where caregivers and professionals are sending their children and clients.

So, when you visit our website, talk to our team, or see a story about our kids, you’ll hear us referencing our new names next month. But be patient, some of us have been referring to our program names for decades, so it will take us a little time to get used to it. The running joke is that the new names are actually: Passage one… I mean Riverside; Passage two, I mean Lakeshore; and Passage three, I mean Prairieview.

If you have questions regarding these name changes, please contact your connection here at Northwest Passage or myself, Marceleen Mosher (Development and Communications Coordinator).

Adventures in Drake Bay and Sierpe


Yesterday we emerged from the wild jungles of Corcovado National Park.  With photos of over 130 different animal species under our belts, as well as the scrapes, bites, bruises, and satisfied sense of exhaustion reminding us that we earned every one, we settled into our rented cottage in the beach town of Drake Bay for an evening of rest.

 Today, we jumped back behind our lenses for some new subject matter.  We took a boat to the river town of Sierpe, and met up with the superintendent of Terraba-Sierpe National Wetlands, Jaime Gonzalez Acosta.

Jaime is a kindred spirit.  The moment he jumped in our boat his eyes lit up, and he began sharing everything he knew about his beloved wetlands with an inspiring sense of excitement and curiosity.  An avid photographer himself, he coached Renny and Ethan in the techniques of capturing the unique character of the place as we spent the next six hours slowly navigating the wetland’s circuitous river channels. We spotted huge crocodiles with awesomely alarming frequency,  and watched “our” migratory green heron hunt in the shallows from 15 feet away, camera shutters snapping every step of the way.

Yet another day that words cannot even begin to capture.  A few photos will have to suffice.


ethan 1IMG_1673

Day 3 at Corcovado National Park

Today we were going to hike to a cave with bats known to live there,  but we only made it about 8 miles total. We traveled through the hot, steep, sandy beaches; the thick dense jungle; and the wet muddy lowlands. On the way we encountered a ospray eating a freshly caught fish, and while we where watching the ospray, a 9 foot crocodile came swimming out of the backwaters and up onto a far beach. We decided to stalk the crocodile and ended up with some absolutely phenomenal pictures of him sunning – and a lucky shot of him as he spotted us and tore off down the beach into the water. Later, we encountered several migratory species of bird common to Wisconsin. It is amazing the journey that these tiny little creatures make. We also saw some incredibly brilliant colored macaws – getting some great shots of the resting and flying poses. The midday rest on the beach and swim in the ocean was greatly needed and deserved. All in all, today was fantastic and was a once in a lifetime experience.


A message from Ethan

Day 2 at Corcavado National Park.

Today we went off hiking at 3:45am! We hiked through the jungle, down to the ocean and watched the sun come up. The temperature is sweltering here, but when I was watching the sun come up and shine down on the ocean I was overwhelmed with the scene of peace and tranquility. Here it is care free and “enjoy everything as it comes,” not wishing that anything will change. This ecosystem is self-sustaining and so diverse – it is incredible. There is layer and layer of life all intertwined by the tiniest details; but if one of those tiny details is altered it could have a catastrophic ripple effect in the environment. This entire ecosystem is in perfect balance, which is something that I feel is almost non-existent these days. And surprisingly, human beings are part of that balance. It is all hanging together by individual threads, but together these threads are extremely strong. I personally am just stunned by the quality of life here and the joy and kindness that this amazing ecosystem bestows on all.


As of Friday evening, our intrepid explorers have photographed almost 100 species of animals:

    1. Great Tinamou
    2. Great Curassow
    3. Crested Guan
    4. Spotted Sandpiper
    5. Common Black Hawk
    6. Yellow Headed Caracara
    7. White Collared Swift
    8. Charming hummingbird
    9. White tipped dove
    10. Black throated trogan
    11. Slatey tailed trogan
    12. Blue crowned motmot
    13. White whiskered puffbird
    14. Rufous tailed jacamar
    15. Pale billed woodpecker
    16. Black striped woodcreeper
    17. Chestnut backed antbird
    18. Rufous piha
    19. Tawney crowned greenlet
    20. Chestnut sided warbler
    21. Cherries tanager
    22. Alfaros’s pygmy squirrel
    23. Leaf praying mantis
    24. White nosed coati
    25. Collared peccarys
    26. Three toes sloth
    27. Golden orb spider
    28. Common rain frog
    29. Spider monkey
    30. Squirrel monkey
    31. Spectacled cayman
    32. Stingless bees
    33. Agouti
    34. Boa coinstrictor
    35. Fer de lance
    36. Jumping anole
    37. Jesus christ lizard
    38. June bug
    39. Striped whip tail lizard
    40. Red snapper
    41. Puffer fish
    42. Army ants
    43. Eciton hamatum
    44. Poisonous caterpillars
    45. leaf cutter ants
    46. Tapir
    47. Crocodile
    48. Eyelash pit viper
    49. Tailles scorpion
    50. Howler monkey
    51. Ruddy tern
    52. Magnificent frigate bird
    53. Red eyed tree frog
    54. Laughing gull
    55. White ibis
    56. Least sandpiper
    57. Spotted sandpiper
    58. Osprey
    59. Red tailed squirrel
    60. Tamandua anteater
    61. Two toed sloth
    62. Whip tailed scorpion
    63. Yellow winged damnselfly
    64. Spiney tailed iguana
    65. Black iguana
    66. Bare throated
    67. Smokey jungle frog
    68. Double toothed kite
    69. Blue butterfly
    70. Sucke footed ba
    71. White tailed deer
    72. Hermit crabs
    73. Puffer fish
    74. Crested caraca
    75. Red winged grasshopper
    76. Paraque
    77. Brown hooded parrot
    78. Black mandible toucan
    79. Black hooded ant shrike
    80. Dot winged ant wren
    81. Tiger snake
    82. Cat eye snake
    83. Eye ringed flatbilled fly catcher
    84. Bright rumped antilla
    85. Red capped manequin (Michael Jackson bird)
    86. Riverside wren
    87. Green kingfisher
    88. Ringed kingfisher
    89. Scarlet rumped cacique
    90. Baird sandpiper
    91. Red brocked deer
    92. Cane toad
    93. Green anoli
    94. Tent making bat
    95. House gecko

Fall Collection: Continuing In a New Light Photography at CAC

Hi! My name is Amanda Xiong, and I am the Expressive Arts Intern for the Child and Adolescent Center (CAC). At CAC, Northwest Passage’s clinical assessment center, I’ve had the great opportunity of mentoring and teaching photography with students ranging from ages 6-17. I graduated with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Studio Arts from St. Catherine University. This allowed me to combine both of my passions: youth development and photography. My hope for this internship is to help youth build self-confidence by creating self-expression through photography. Students are placed in CAC for 30 days as a part of their treatment. During their time here, students are able to develop their photographic style and apply general photography techniques such as lighting, subjects, and the rule of thirds. Most importantly, they are allowed to capture a moment expressing their time in assessment and reflect on their journey or a memory, using photography and nature. Each student is unique and creative. They come from different backgrounds with different stories and are able to capture the beauty of Northwestern Wisconsin within their 30 days. Here are a few photographs from our fall collection. horizontalline

The Rusted Root

The Rusted Root, Daniel

The root is the boot of Wisconsin’s past
It’s what feeds that grass nutrients and helps produce cheese
So, please listen hear and don’t forget to breathe
It’s what helps develop a leaf
From chloroplast to chlorophyll
And when fall arrives the roots stand still
It is the season of death, the forests filled with the dead handing from their branches, and a time for second chances
I am here at the Northwest Passage with a head full of dangling ideas that illustrate the new beginning
I sit in my room waiting for Monday’s to come… while skimming through my life
And I realize regret is my one of my many wifes
So I ponder on and reassemble the events that lead me here
It was one peer who came about and revived my soul from an empty hole
I recognize their traits and develop the time to recollect
So, I sit
I am angry!
The room is full of exasperating pain
Therefore, I stain my fingers with the dust from the keyboard
While I hoard these racing thoughts in my head
I then purchase a ticket to heaven to get away from hell
The thought of life is dull and my heart doesn’t even skip the sound of church bells
The hope is gone and so I am
On the greyhound
Seattle bound
I am in the middle of my ride
Then my faith begins to slide
When the cops arrive
My thought of heaven is met with seclusion
Of, a cold prison cell of the back of the cop car
My head is spinning
I am full of embarrassment and full of worry
The anxiety ridden thoughts are met with a two week stay in a confined room
This place is full of patients from troubled souls to physiologically damage brains
My journey there is fill of empty hearted phone calls
I can’t even shower in my own private stall
Then one day I am rescued
My doc lets me free
And my hunger for love is comforted by Chicago deep dish
From there on out I swim in and out of reality like a fish
Then, I end up at my uncle’s and I stay there for a week or two
My heart now has turned from blue to red with a sliver of hope
I am going to Wisconsin the place of cheese, the Green Bay Packers, and land of many lakes
But, most importantly Northwest Passage where I make time to heal


The Barren Grass, Daniel

I picked this picture because of the landscape of the photograph. In this photo there is concrete and long grass with the sun brightening the picture. This reflects the mood I was feeling at the time which was happy and calm. It also reflects the weather during the day which was great! It was sunny, breezy, cool, and autumn like.  The photograph represents the barren landscape of Northern Wisconsin with the harsh weather conditions too. The concrete mainly illustrates this because of the rough feel and the lack of physical features to block the wind. The grass exhibits the rich fertile soil of Wisconsin. The soil is famous for growing nutrients and supporting life to develop the famous Wisconsin cheese!!! Therefore, the picture contradicts itself by having a barren landscape feel while containing the ability to have the grass in the photograph which gives the picture a happy mood. It also gives it an earthy feel too!

The Mushroom

The Mushroom, Jackson

I took this photo because the gills in the mushroom remind me how everything has hidden beauty that isn’t always visible on the surface, just like I had to look under this mushroom to find the beauty in the gills. This mushroom wouldn’t look like much from a top view as you walk by, but if you take a look underneath, the beauty of nature is revealed.

The Scarlet Trio

The Scarlet Trio, Jackson

These small little leaves, although seemingly insignificant, are quite beautiful. A lot of people in this world never stop to notice the small things in life. I think that it is these small things that are most important, for without all the little things in life, not so different from this little group of leaves, you can’t make the big picture. I chose this picture because I feel that people need to stop and admire the little things in life more often.

Half and Half

Half and Half, Marcus

This picture is cool to me because I like how half of the rocks are in the sunlight and half are not in the sunlight. I took this picture with my class at Northwest Passage. I like the different color of rocks and the different shapes of them. This picture reminds of a dark day and a light day because of the dark side and the light side the dark side would be a bad day and the light side would be a good day.

The Sunlight Behind the Leaves

The Sunlight Behind the Leaves, Marcus

The reason I picked this picture is because it is cool and I like how the sun comes in from the back and hits the leaves. The sun reminds me of a happy day because the sun is shining down upon us. That day was a happy day for me until I found out that I wasn’t going home so then it became a cloudy day to me. I took this picture when our class went taking pictures on grounds at Northwest Passage. I picked this background because of the orange colored leaves so these oranges reminded me of the leaves. The leaves are almost the same color as a pumpkin. I like how where the sun hits the leaves it makes the leaves look darker and where the sun doesn’t hit it is a lighter shade of orange.

The Lone Berry

The Lone Berry, Kylie

This Picture stood out to me only because it reminds me of myself. The way it hangs there, it’s almost like its saying, “I’m all alone, and I really don’t care. Because I believe that I am strong, stronger than if I weren’t alone.” The berry is alone, because it feels like no one in this world wants it. Like no matter how hard he tried not to fall off the branch, to actually be somebody, he was and has always been nobody. And if he tried to do the good things that people asked of him, then maybe, just maybe he could finally be somebody. But, it seems like when he tries to not fall off of the branch, when he tries to be good, the bad comes back twice as hard and fast. But, in the midst of his loneliness, He knows that somewhere in this gigantic world, somebody loves him. Somebody out there cares. That He’s finally, not alone. And he’s not! The branch, its supporting him. He was never alone. All this time he’s been crying and focusing on him being alone, he never really was. He’s always had someone, somewhere that has always had his back, has always cared for him. And now, he can be happy.

Untitled 1 Clay

Untitled, Clay

I picked this picture that I took of a beautiful Black Eyed Suzann. The reason why I took this picture is because it looked like it wanted to be known; I had noticed that the flower has curls on the leaves.

Sadness is bad…Happiness is good…but I’ve got both inside me…deep down inside my feelings are protected…protected by my heart which cannot be corrected by the badness around me…

Rust and Decay

Rust and Decay, Gavan

I chose this picture because I just found myself infatuated by the sight of it. The rawness of it is beautiful in an ugly sort of way.
It’s almost a graveyard where things that once brought joy to people come to die and rust away.
It’s sad really.
The way something that was used to bring pleasure and relaxation could just be thrown away.

Moss is fuzzy

Moss is Fuzzy, Moss is Soft, Trey

I like this picture because it shows me what moss actually looks like. I never knew it was like a bunch of little of vines. What else does it hold? Does it have a bunch of little bugs that run away when they see humans? Does it move every time you come near? Is it as sharp as needles when the wind blows and as soft as silk when you touch it? I think moss is cool because it can grow almost anywhere as long as it has water.  It kind of looks like it is an underwater picture because the moss looks like sea weed. Maybe the little bugs are not bugs at all…



Red, Elizabeth

Red is a rose
With deep scarlet petals-
The flower of desire.

Red is a ruby
A raging fire
Out of control.

Blood is red
The color of pain
The scent of war.

Red is a shout
Red is adrenaline
Anger, victory, power.

The roar of a lion
Loud and bold:
It screams to be noticed.

Red is passion
An intense flame inside
Hard to control.

Red is the color of power and love.

Untitled 1 Skylar

Untitled, Skylar

The reason why I like this picture is because I liked the way it looks. I like how it was by itself in the grass. Lonely forever. Although, the flower only lasts for a short period of time, I absolutely love the purple and pink of the absolutely beautiful wild flower. The green leaves are very pretty too. As you can see, some of the pedals on this magnificent wild flower are gone. Probably dry and crumpled on the ground. Death is kissing the flower.

The Broken Antler

The Broken Antler, James

When I saw the buck I decided to chase after him to get this picture. I was the first one to see him. The buck might be missing an antler but it didn’t seem to bother him. He could have been bullied by other bucks because he has one good antler and one broken antler. Looking through his eyes, it was something I will never forget because I felt a connection with him. Like he lost a fight and he won’t let it bother him and I’m the same way. He doesn’t care what people think of him. If other bucks like him he’s ok with it and if they don’t like him he’ll just brush it off. That’s the way I am too.

It’s Magical, but it’s not Magic: Equine Assisted Interventions

Angela Frederickson, LCSW

by Angela Fredrickson, LCSW  |  Clinical Director

I have been inexplicably fascinated by horses for as long as I can remember. By the age of 13, I had pestered my parents (who did not have much of their own experience with horses) enough that they purchased me my very own horse. This has lead to a life in which I have always been in the presence of horses. My horses have helped to lift me out of despair and have been the source of great joy for me. They have been with me at every turn and they have inspired my career path.

I first witnessed horses helping humans in a planned and deliberate manner when I was 16 years old. I had the opportunity to observe a therapeutic riding session in which a tiny, vulnerable looking little girl was lifted from her wheelchair and onto the back of a horse. (more…)

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