Peer Leadership Program
One of the core values at Discovery Ranch for Girls is therapeutic fluidity, which means that experiential therapy is a part of everything we do. We turn every day moments into therapeutic experiences.
Growth Opportunities Through Chores
All students have chores, just like they would at home. Chores teach students about practical life skills, taking ownership, and having responsibilities. At Discovery Ranch, we maximize the experiential and clinical growth opportunities that chores present through our Peer Leadership Program (PLP).
In the PLP, students can apply for “manager” jobs, which means that they oversee the various areas of responsibility at Discovery Ranch, like rooms, laundry, and kitchen. These jobs are available every eight weeks. Once a student acquires a job, she is responsible for ensuring that the job is completed properly and consistently. This often requires managing and directing other students. It may also require designing and implementing systems. It may require “hiring” and training an assistant to help complete her duties.
The PLP has implications for a wide variety of treatment goals. Some students are excellent leaders but have trouble taking direction from peers. Other students do fantastic work alone but have difficulty as part of a team. There are also students who are quiet or reserved and have trouble asserting their needs or giving direction. Students can choose when to start participating in the PLP, but because the PLP is written into Discovery Ranch programming, students reach a point where they can only progress by taking on those responsibilities and challenges. As staff oversee, assess, process, and report on the students’ progress, a wealth of therapeutic opportunities and information emerge.
The PLP is, for many students, is their first experience with a job. The PLP is designed to mimic a real job experience, including filling out an application, going to a job interview, and showing up for work. We train staff to take the interview and supervision process as seriously as they would any real job and help the students learn the life skills that come with real job hunting. Some of the specialty PLP jobs with our horses and feeder calves gives certain students opportunities to gain even more in-depth knowledge and practical experience with the assessment, medication, and intensive care of animals.