What is Echo Springs?
Echo Springs Transition Study Center offers a unique program for young people, ages 18 to 24. The down to earth approach models and teaches effective setting of boundaries, realistic life skills, real-world job exposure, goal settings, sober and clean social experience, time management, fun and numerous dialogue opportunities which on can expect in the outside adult world. The program has been established in 1994 and the approach has evolved but the essence of helping young adults in creating more effective relationships to appreciate their possibilities remains.
Students who come to the center are young men and women, ages 18 to 24, who seek new directions in line. These young people’s lives have been stalled and they do not know how to move on with their lives. Although some know the correct answers, they are not mature enough and lack the necessary steps to move forward.
These young people are often times:
- Doubtful of their talents and abilities and often can’t get away from the sabotaging patterns of isolation.
- Hungry for success and safety
- Show evidence of their abilities to practice life’s behaviors and skills which can lead them to a clearer identity and independence
- Willing and ready to grow up
- Made a decision to change their lives
Some of these young people have been to therapeutic boarding schools, or have undergone wilderness programs while others haven’t. Some have gone through substance abuse treatment; some haven’t. Each of these young adults has had difficulties in making correct choices and they lack direction.
The Echo Springs Transition Study Center has three campuses. Phase One is an excellent rural setting in Bonners Ferry in Idaho. The campus provides peace and quick access to town. Each room has 10 students where they live comfortably. Each student has his/her own responsibility for the upkeep of their rooms. Men and women live on separate floors and they cook their own meals and oftentimes they also plan group meals and menus. A woodshop for different project projects is also located just behind the house where students can design and build their own wood projects.
Phase Two is in Coeur d’Alene which is also in Idaho. It is a regular college house with many rooms. The place has different apartments for women and men. It is just walking distance to the North Idaho College Campus and downtown. The young adults are tasked with cleaning and care of the house at the same time as maintaining work and school schedules. In Phase Two, students learn life balance, independence, and taking responsibility for their homes and lives.
The Echo Springs Program
Consisting of two phases, the program is focused on the development of a personal direction setting. For a minimum of 12 months stay, with an average enrollment of up to 18 months, the program integrates relationship building, financial awareness, goal setting, health, education, and personal growth. Distractions are removed as the lives of these young people are simplified. Limited computer and television time, as well as barring of video games and cell phones, are the restrictions each young adult must deal with while in the program. One-on-one discussions, formal life skills classes, group sessions and discussions with the school director all result in the group and personal accountability.
Young students learn to determine the path that is excellently suited for them. They learn to set goals. After finishing high school, each young adult can opt for vocational or college studies. Each student, who had substance abuse problems in the past, is sober and clean as he/she participates in community programs. Accountability is practiced by each person through regular meetings with mentors; relationships with friends and family; time management; and financial tracking.