Each of NSA’s cultural immersion opportunities, supported by classroom Spanish language study, are enriching for our students’ Costa Rica experience, but none is as important as our relationship and work with Hogar de Vida. Dedicated student volunteers continue to spend each Tuesday afternoon performing community service by helping to improve the facilities and, more importantly, by spending time with the children.
Our students convert into big kids themselves as they color, swing, make clay models, and run around the grounds of the children’s home.
Our community is so grateful for the relationship we have with Hogar de Vida, and thank Daisy, our Cultural Coordinator, and all the Hogar staff for making it happen.
The next two weeks are exciting ones for our students, families and staff of NSA! Newer students will be off adventuring and relaxing in the untouched forests of Sarapiqui and on the shores of Lake Arenal. They will be spending the week zip-lining, playing soccer, stand-up paddle boarding and horseback riding in some of the most beautiful areas of the country.
Another group of students will be traveling to South Africa for two weeks of impactful cultural immersion and community building.
Next week, our students and staff will be hard at work studying and applying their learning hands-on in their efforts to earn their Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) and CPR certifications. Stay tuned for stories and photos from these upcoming activities!
Four young men celebrated their journeys and growth this week as they return to their families with program certificates and high school diplomas.
These seniors deserve our recognition as they begin the next phases in their journeys, which include one graduate enrolling in Montana State University with a merit scholarship, another considering (among many choices) Tulane University, where he was invited to join the Honors Program, and the others ready to test their new skills returning to complete high school in their home towns.
Congratulations to our graduates; we are proud of you and look forward to your many certain successes!
Months ago, NSA’s spring graduates began the extensive process of preparing for their transition back to life in the U.S. – be it a return to high school or enrollment in college in the fall.
Our Transition Program, led by a dedicated team, guides students and their families in “getting real” with what the coming months will hold, while helping students develop concrete skills and support structures for continued success.
Elements of the Transition Program include:
- A comprehensive Transition Plan created by students, their families and their team, which details expectations, goals and steps, and needed support that receives weekly feedback
- A series of Life Skills Workshops chosen by the students that may include Safe Travel, Finances and Budgeting, Sex and Dating, Car Maintenance, or Independent Living Skills
- A Transition Family Workshop on-campus engaging students and families in four days of therapeutic and transition work
- Opportunities to develop and put to the test greater responsibilities and freedoms in our off-campus Transition House
The Transition Program is one of many key efforts at NSA that help prepare students for continued success in their next steps, and we appreciate the energy and support of our graduates, their families, and the Transition Team.
NSA and The Bridge have been not only long-time members of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP), but innovators leading the way toward more effective and enriching models of engagement and growth for young people.
At this year’s national NATSAP conference in Tampa, our programs collaborated to facilitate four different presentations, which included:
- Martin Naffziger and Kelly Weld speaking about how investment in a rigorous Academic program can develop stronger Therapeutic offerings
- Dr. Heather Tracy and Mario Duran presenting on how to balance student empowerment with administrative needs
- Dr. Danny Recio discussing his recently-published article in the Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs titled Coming of Age in Foreign Lands
- Martin Naffziger presenting in collaboration with Montana Academy on innovative structures in education and the responsibility that therapeutic programs have to develop strong Academics
All of our Supportive Immersion programs will continue forward with industry-leading standards of education, personal growth and experiential education!
Students spent last week on one of our signature Integrated Aventuras -- expeditions throughout Costa Rica where students engage in experiential learning and personal growth alongside our dedicated therapists, teachers and Experiential Education mentors.
The Aventura program begins at sea level with students “giving back” to the Costa Rican community through volunteer work with Osa Conservation. Students plant trees, build trails, and patrol the beaches for nesting sea turtles.
A few high points from the community service Aventura:
-Nightly presentations from working scientists about research on canopy animals, hermit crabs, big cat tracking and water quality testing
-Safely relocating over 70 sea turtle eggs & releasing 70 baby hatchlings
-Encountering anteaters, coatimundi and a beautiful (and rare) puma!
Students then participate in the Kayak Aventura, circumnavigating the Golfo Dulce while camping along its undeveloped shores.
Memorable moments from this journey include:
-Watching turtles and dolphin swim alongside students’ kayaks
-Fishing with hand lines for snapper, mackerel and tuna
-Snorkeling in the coral reef at Los Mogos, two islands whose name means “the specks”
-Being surrounded by natural beauty and seeing rainbows nearly every day
After the Kayak Aventura, students spend a week hiking in the protected jungles of Corcovado National Park, learning about biological relationships and rainforest succession.
Students and staff reported some of their fondest memories:
-The teamwork and support shown by the group members during the challenging hike
-Impressive focus on the group’s goals
-Being blown away by the diversity of animal and plant life
The final Integrated Aventura before students climb Chirripo Mountain is a trekking and rafting expedition in Costa Rica’s cloud forests.
Highlights of this trip included:
-Student engagement with absolutely zero complaining!
-Students pushing themselves outside of their comfort zones while navigating whitewater rapids
-The valuable peer feedback given and received within the group
NSA is continually working to innovate and provide the best possible experiences for all of our students, parents, staff and educational partners. Each year, the Academic, Experiential Education, and Personal Growth departments all set goals for improving our program and offering a unique learning and growth opportunity for students.
2018 is looking to be even more exciting, and as we develop our goals – guided by our organizational values – we would like to thank our students, families, educational consultants, faculty and staff, homestay families and the community of Atenas for the support and dedication they have provided to make New Summit Academy the amazing program it is today.
Keep an eye out in future issues for our 2018 goals and objectives!
This week, New Summit Academy proudly awarded high school diplomas and certificates of program completion to six young men who have – like all of our graduates – shown impressive effort and growth during the past year.
December graduation coincides with our seniors wrapping up their college application process, and reflecting through their personal essays on their unique journeys. As we celebrate this graduation and look forward to more stories of success in the future, we would like to share a handful of excerpts from these student reflections:
Presentation by Dr. Danny Recio & Dr. Heather Tracy at the Young Adult Transition Association conference in Coeur d'Alene, ID, in October 2017.
Learn more about 5 societal and cultural trends affecting youth development and how Supportive Immersion methods develop the PROPS which lead to self-generation and therefore integrative growth.
Blog authors may be students, staff, parents or colleagues. We're all-inclusive! Just enjoy!