B E H A V I O R A L &nbnbsp;H E A L T H  N E W S
White River Academy Introduces League Softball to Students

Last May marked the beginning of softball season for WRA's team of students. The team is overseen by Loren Pence. A local who grew up in Delta, Utah, Pence first joined WRA on the night staff and has worked his way up through various positions until reaching the post of activities director.
Pence oversees athletic and community service activities. Part of the WRA philosophy is to turn troubled young men into responsible adults. To this end, Pence works with the compliance group, which participates in community service, typically from mid to late afternoon. These endeavors serve as a learning tool to promote civil awareness and establish a sense of community among the students.
Physical activities at WRA
Some students are taken off campus to participate in physical activities. These take place at the community recreation center and athletic fields. Pence is in charge of planning and budgeting for excursions that take place at least once a month. These are multiple-night outings (four or five days) that coincide with academic term breaks. A few years ago, Pence and colleagues arranged 5k and half-marathon runs. He expects to schedule more races in the near future.
Pence says involvement in these activities is part of the WRA philosophy. Competing is good for the soul. There are several team sports in which students participate, such as the church basketball league (which is more spirited than it sounds) as well as a community dodgeball tournament. Of all the team sports, softball is the most organized and competitive.
WRA's softball program
WRA has played against community softball teams for over six years. Most of WRA's opponents are teams of adult men who formed a long time ago, so their skill level is advanced. WRA students, on the other hand, come from all backgrounds. Some have played softball (or baseball) their whole lives, while some are experiencing the game for the first time. All are welcome and encouraged to join.
It's not unusual for WRA to get trounced and for the students to get discouraged. But, as Pence points out, losing is as important to competition as winning. "There are nights when we come back after being completely destroyed. They're humbled because their skills are not as good as they thought they were," he says. Competition provides a positive outlet. Competing in sports, regardless of the outcome, is always better than turning to alcohol or drugs to cope with life's challenges, Pence says. "It gets them out of their shell and makes them open up," he adds. "We'll see a different side to the student when he's out on the field compared to what we see in on campus."
Other activities at the community recreation center include swimming, weight training and racquetball. White River Academy provides counseling and therapy and a challenging academic curriculum. Our student population consists of boys and young men, age 12 to 17, who have behavioral health issues. Explore our daily activities information to find out more what life is like at the Academy.
About the author:
Darren Fraser is a content writer for Sovereign Health Group. He worked two and half years as reporter and researcher for The Yomiuri Shimbun until they realized he did not read, speak or write Japanese and fired him. Undeterred, he channels his love of research into unearthing stories that provide hope to those dealing with addiction and mental illness. Darren loves the Montreal Canadiens hockey club and horror films and would prefer to enjoy these from the comforts of his family's farm in Quebec. For more information about this media, contact the author at news@sovhealth.com
M E D I C A L  N E W S

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C L I N I C A L  N E W S

Withstanding the Weight of Autism on Fathers 

To whom much is given, much is required. Much being the mind-boggling mantle that is parenting the autistic child. It is a double-edged sword in that behind those unfocused eyes lies a black box of talent and intelligence. If only the walls of his mind would let him talk! Here is a look at autism's toll on fathers and how they can successfully manage the lives of their children as well as their own.

Parent's Response to Failure Dictates a Child's Self-Perception 

Consider the reactions of two parents whose son has come home with a bad grade: The permissive mother simply shrugs her shoulders, accepting that he's just not the best student, while the authoritarian father criticizes the boy's performance, expecting only perfection.

F E A T U R E  N E W S

Size does matter. Or does it? When it comes to the most intelligent organ in the body, the brain, bigger is not always better. The brain reaches maturity and its largest size by the late second decade in a human's life. As humans age, the brain slowly shrinks about 2 percent per decade. The average male adult brain weighs just under 3 pounds.
Book review: 
Learn About 'Raising Men' With Parenting Tips From Former Navy SEALs

The Navy SEALs are a well-known part of our military. SEALs, an acronym standing for Sea, Air and Land teams, are a special operations force who are trained to operate in all environments. These are likely some of the toughest men you can meet.

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F R O M  T H E  A R C H I V E S

Save the Date: June 27 is National PTSD Awareness Day 

Imagine 10-year-old Tommy attends a friend's birthday party. The party starts out wonderful and all the children are having a great time. Tommy joins a few others in the bounce house, jumping up and down. At this moment, one of them stops bouncing and falls down. She begins violently shaking and is beginning to have a seizure. They call an ambulance and the child is taken to the hospital and recovers. For Tommy this event can be traumatizing and will continue to affect him the following weeks to months after.

F E A T U R E D  E M P L O Y E E

Kaelene Marsden

White River Academy, Delta, Utah

Department: Operations       

Position: Group Leader

Kaelene Marsden is a group leader at White River Academy, where she has worked for about a year and a half. She earned her Master of Arts in health psychology from the University of Phoenix.
Therapeutic peer groups
Marsden oversees WRA's positive peer culture (PPC) groups. WRA's philosophy is to empower students to resolve their problems, and PPC groups operate on this principle. Three times a week, a group gets together with one student as the focus. The group discusses the focus student's issues and makes suggestions on how to improve or resolve them.
Marsden also runs the eclipse groups. Meeting twice a month, they focus on anger management and on how to be a positive peer. Marsden also teaches classes on building social skills. She notes WRA has some high-functioning autistic students and a number of students with reactive attachment disorder (RAD). Marsden says many adoptive children have RAD. They didn't bond with a single person early, so they have difficulty forming attachments later in life.
Learning life skills
The autistic and RAD students do well with what Marsden calls recipes. For example, a listening recipe has four steps. Students memorize the steps and use them to function better in society. Marsden notes the benefits of teaching recipes and other learning skills to autistic students are not fully realized until they become adults. The human brain does not fully develop until age 25. "There's no way to tell how they'll function outside of here until they become an adult," she says.
Because the juvenile brain is still developing, substance abuse wreaks significant havoc on brain functions. Marsden says many students have cognitive distortions due to addiction. The goal of the eclipse groups is to teach students leadership and social skills as well as how to interact, peaceably, within a group. She says when students leave WRA, they apply these skills in their daily lives. "They do very well," she adds.
Fostering a community
Marsden believes peer-to-peer counseling is the most effective tool WRA offers. Students are more likely to engage with each other than with an adult. The students belong to community groups. Each group elects a three-person committee. The committee members lead their respective groups. Marsden monitors and makes suggestions. Students learn what it means to live in a community. They also keep each other in check and will call out members of the community who are not carrying their weight. "The beauty of the program," Marsden says, "is it reverses their developmental vacation." This is the age students stop maturing emotionally because of trauma or some other reason. The programs disrupt this mindset and help the students to move to a higher level of functioning.
F A C I L I T Y  U P D A T E S  A N D  
S T U D E N T  A C T I V I T I E S 

Community Involvement: Students helped a local dairyman cover his silage, replaced a dugout roof at the local baseball field and visited the elderly at a nearby care center. They also helped to clean up outside the local community center.

Program Updates: White River Academy has established a program for healthy and fun competition between the two Positive Peer Culture groups where the two groups try to earn points in various ways in the program through positive behavior and participation in the program. There will be a monthly party or activity for the group that gets the most points.
S T A F F  A D D I T I O N S

White River Academy welcomes Eric Carlson to the Support Staff!

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Corporate Office:
White River Academy 
275 West 100 South, Delta, Utah 84624

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