“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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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:
- Great Tinamou
- Great Curassow
- Crested Guan
- Spotted Sandpiper
- Common Black Hawk
- Yellow Headed Caracara
- White Collared Swift
- Charming hummingbird
- White tipped dove
- Black throated trogan
- Slatey tailed trogan
- Blue crowned motmot
- White whiskered puffbird
- Rufous tailed jacamar
- Pale billed woodpecker
- Black striped woodcreeper
- Chestnut backed antbird
- Rufous piha
- Tawney crowned greenlet
- Chestnut sided warbler
- Cherries tanager
- Alfaros’s pygmy squirrel
- Leaf praying mantis
- White nosed coati
- Collared peccarys
- Three toes sloth
- Golden orb spider
- Common rain frog
- Spider monkey
- Squirrel monkey
- Spectacled cayman
- Stingless bees
- Boa coinstrictor
- Fer de lance
- Jumping anole
- Jesus christ lizard
- June bug
- Striped whip tail lizard
- Red snapper
- Puffer fish
- Army ants
- Eciton hamatum
- Poisonous caterpillars
- leaf cutter ants
- Eyelash pit viper
- Tailles scorpion
- Howler monkey
- Ruddy tern
- Magnificent frigate bird
- Red eyed tree frog
- Laughing gull
- White ibis
- Least sandpiper
- Spotted sandpiper
- Red tailed squirrel
- Tamandua anteater
- Two toed sloth
- Whip tailed scorpion
- Yellow winged damnselfly
- Spiney tailed iguana
- Black iguana
- Bare throated
- Smokey jungle frog
- Double toothed kite
- Blue butterfly
- Sucke footed ba
- White tailed deer
- Hermit crabs
- Puffer fish
- Crested caraca
- Red winged grasshopper
- Brown hooded parrot
- Black mandible toucan
- Black hooded ant shrike
- Dot winged ant wren
- Tiger snake
- Cat eye snake
- Eye ringed flatbilled fly catcher
- Bright rumped antilla
- Red capped manequin (Michael Jackson bird)
- Riverside wren
- Green kingfisher
- Ringed kingfisher
- Scarlet rumped cacique
- Baird sandpiper
- Red brocked deer
- Cane toad
- Green anoli
- Tent making bat
- House gecko
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.
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
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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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.
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, 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 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 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.
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, 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.
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…)
The winter of 2014 has gone into the record books, and our collective memory, as one of the coldest, snowiest and most indomitable in our history. The young men at Northwest Passage 1 braved their way through many cold days to be rewarded with a vibrant and rich spring and summer full of stunning subjects and captivating light. Moreover, they found inspirational moments and opportunities for reflection. We hope you enjoy this insight into their experiences.
Little Manitou Falls at Pattison State Park during spring runoff. Photograph By: RJ
My Turtle Shell By D’Angelo
My walls are up, no one can hurt me
My shell is protection from those who desert me
If I am bothered I tend to snap at others
Otherwise, I am cool as night in summer
I mind my own business walking and swimming slowly
My shell at the ready if any danger is showing.
Hi, my name is D’Angelo and I am 17 years old. I am from Jim Falls, Wisconsin. Photography was an extremely helpful coping skill for me. It was a way to express my emotions in a positive way.
SCARED, By RJ.
Hi, my name is RJ. I am from Rochester Minnesota. I am 12 years old. When I came to Northwest Passage I was very timid and scared like this deer. Photography has helped me with my confidence to overcome my fears and succeed in life.
Something Delicious, By: Jamie
My name is Jamie and I am 16 years old. I am from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photography helped me a lot with my anxiety and anger by being in a calm, quiet place in the woods. It also helped me with my depression by appreciating the little things in life.
Alone, By: Dakota K.
Hi, my name is Dakota K. and I am 16 years old. I am from Grantsburg, Wisconsin. Photography has been a time for me to capture the beautiful scenery around me and share it with others.I took this duck picture because it was alone by itself, The duck is kind of like me because I like to be alone.
Fire in the Sky, By: Brandon
Hi, my name is Brandon. I am 14 years old and am from Wausau, Wisconsin. To me, Photography has been a chance to be out in the woods, away from my troubles. My favorite thing to take pictures of are animals and birds. When I saw this bird, it reminded me of a fire in the night sky.
EYES FROM THE FOREST, By Austin G.
Hi, my name is Austin G and I am 16 years old. I am from New Auburn Wisconsin. Photography has helped me learn how to focus and got me outside to see and learn about new things.
When I took this picture it was as if the deer was posing for the camera. This will always remind me of the experience I had as a nature photographer.
By: Austin G.
By: Dakota K.
Hi, my name is Dylan and I am from Lacrosse, Wisconsin. I am 17 years old. Nature photography has opened my eyes to things I have never seen or experienced such as bears.
“No matter where you go in life, there will always be something for you.”
by Caroline Wood, Expressive Arts Intern
This summer, I’ve had the privilege of working with the kids at CAC, Northwest Passage’s assessment center. Their ages range from 6-17, and they stay for a month in a residential assessment setting. As one of the Expressive Arts Interns, I go on photography expeditions with the kids twice a week and help them edit their photos. It’s been wonderful to get to know them as artists and people, and to see the ways that photography can impact their lives. In this post, I’m going to share some photos by the younger kids. I’m so inspired by their enthusiasm and originality.
This photo is by Christian. I can tell he loves taking photos–he is always seeking out interesting things hidden under tree branches or behind bushes, and he captures things with such a unique perspective.
Ernie found a green tomato in the garden and took a wonderful picture of it. When we were going through his photos, he said that he loved this photo but he wished that the tomato could be red…so I taught him how to use Photoshop to create a red tomato. He loved being able to edit the color of a specific part of the photo, and he was so proud of his “red” tomato.
This photo is by Hunter. While we were exploring the Gandy Dancer Trail the other day, he found a cave next to the trail and snapped some photos of it. He was so excited about this photo, and loved telling me about his “bear cave” and “pond” that he found.
This photo is by Joshua, who has a good eye and a vivid imagination. While we were editing this one, he wanted it to be really dark–he said that the raindrops looked like stars. I love how he can find something interesting in something so ordinary as a leaf.
This photo is by Keyanna, who has a lot of enthusiasm. She loves making things, whether it’s photographs or drawings or origami. Instead of pointing her camera at the ground and capturing flowers and leaves, she chose instead to point it at the sky. She loved this photo most of all. I admire her originality and I love the ambiguity of this photo.
This photo is by Molly, who has a knack for capturing the interesting things that often go unnoticed. She’s always looking at things from different perspectives and getting unique photos.
Since In a New Light’s inception several years ago, the young men and women of Northwest Passage have spent literally thousands of hours exploring the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, the watery wilderness we’re so lucky to call our backyard. On foot and with paddles, the photographers have captured countless stunning images of the riverway’s landscape and wildlife, they’ve revealed this land’s ever changing textures, and they’ve helped us all understand our place within it. Hundreds of thousands have seen their photos and read their reflections in exhibitions all around the country. Yet, an enormous piece of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway’s story has remained untold. An essential dimension of its character has been hidden. Until now.
Through a National Park Service Youth Partnership Program grant, the artists of In a New Light are now heading underwater in Northwest Passage’s newest program, New Light under the Surface. Armed with waterproof cameras, high-powered lights, wetsuits, snorkel gear, and more than a little grit, the young men of Northwest Passage II have spent the last few weeks trailblazing a new realm experienced by incredibly few.
Initially delayed almost a month by spring’s unusually high, cold water, the young men are now making up for lost time, and are producing a flurry of astonishing images.
We’re thrilled to partner with Dr. Toben LaFrancois from Northland College for this project. Seemingly part fish himself, Toben is instrumental in coordinating all ecology, snorkeling skills, and water safety aspects of the program. He also bakes darn good chocolate chip cookies. Other staff on the team are Pete Ducos, Rodney Felt, and intern Corey Gipperich, who is producing a short film about the project. We’re proud to once again partner with the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, and look forward to working with their dive team in coming weeks.
Enjoy a little sample the New Light under the Surface’s early images below. Many more to come throughout the summer as we explore the depths of more than just a river.
Ben Thwaits, project coordinator
“Mussel Siphoning” by Jaden
“Luminescence” by Jacob
“Glowing Algae” by Tyrone
“Soft” by Tony
“Dancing Damselflies” by Dan (we can’t resist sticking the cameras above the surface when an amazing shot presents itself)
“Hiding” by Jaden
“Bluegill” by Jason
Tyrone cruises the shallows.
Toben, Isaiah, and Pete inspect a mussel shell.
Tony at the very edge of the Namekagon Headwaters
Felipe and Jacob
Jaden sums up the experience: “During underwater photography it feels like I’m in a whole different world than above the water. There are so many things under the surface that we normally don’t see. It’s really peaceful under the water and all you have to worry about is taking it all in. All the worries I have go away when I’m underwater. It makes me feel at peace.”