Turning Winds Program Overview

Mission Statement: 
Connect - Establish Meaningful Relationships, Inspire - Help Them To Realize Their Potential,
Empower - Provide The Tools Needed To Succeed

Our mission is to rescue teens from a crisis, renew their belief in their own potential and reunite them with their family and a path of success. We renew a teen’s belief in their potential by establishing meaningful connections with our clients, inspiring them to believe in themselves, and empowering them by giving them the tools they need to be successful in life.

The Twelve Character Virtues

Integrity – understanding and accepting one’s strengths and weaknesses by being true to one’s self

Humility – the ability to remain teachable

Direction – the ability to lead through the process of correct decision making

Respect – appreciating oneself and others as persons with great potential and creative possibilities

Responsibility – acquiring, and then using knowledge to make the best decisions possible, then living with the outcome

Industriousness – maintaining a positive work ethic aimed at setting and achieving realistic goals in service to self and others

Verbal Assertiveness – speaking up in a supportive and encouraging manner

Family Connection – developing a greater appreciation for the strengths and resources one can draw upon within his/her own family

Environmental Awareness – realizing that healthy environments promote individual wellness

Service – engaging in activities for the primary purpose of serving others

Gratitude – positive emotion in acknowledgement of a benefit that one has received

Forgiveness – the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of perceived offense

Student Advancement

Novice Phase

Novice is the first of three phases in the Turning Winds program. Successful completion of the Novice Phase is commemorated during a commencement ceremony and marks the beginning of the Mentor Phase. The Novice Phase lasts approximately Three to six months; however, the duration of each phase is determined by the progress of the individual student.

During the Novice Phase, the student will be assessed in three areas: therapeutically, academically and behaviorally. Once these assessments are made by clinicians, teachers and resident advisor staff, an individual treatment plan is created. Among other things, the student will participate in individual and group counseling sessions, life skills classes, team-building activities and outdoor adventures to cultivate personal growth and internal change.

During the Novice Phase, the student comes to accept that they have been enrolled at Turning Winds by their parents out of love and concern for their safety and wellbeing. They also come to accept that they will not be returning home before making some positive changes both academically and therapeutically. This phase is a time when students begin to understand the destructiveness of their past behaviors and the opportunity to change those behaviors through the help available to them at Turning Winds.

By the end of the Novice Phase, a student should be productively engaged in personal growth appropriate for their unique situation. Generally, this involves compliance with basic program expectations, making significant academic progress, showing improved social adjustment, better insight into themselves, and improved communication and relationships with family members.

Commencement From The Novice Phase

Criteria for commencement:

  • The student has completed their Disclosure Letter.
  • The student has completed their Impact Response Letter.
  • The student demonstrates compliance with program expectations.
  • The student demonstrates positive leadership skills and abilities.


Commencement marks the turning point in a student’s stay at Turning Winds, at which time they become a Mentor. While Commencement indicates that the Novice Phase has been successfully completed, many objectives remain to be completed, tailored to each student’s unique situation.

It is a mark of distinction for a student to be a Mentor and a highly visible reward for progress. Mentor status indicates that a student is more advanced within the program. They have made solid accomplishments and are trusted and reliable members of the community. Students who have been through commencement have higher expectations for managing themselves and for being positive influences on newer students. They are sometimes assigned to mentor individual Novice Phase students.

Prior to the Novice Phase, Commencement Ceremony is a Family Workshop that is essential for parents of commencing students to attend. For more information about the Family Workshop please contact your child’s therapist.

Typically, parents can expect to have their first local off-campus visit during commencement (see First Local Visit, page 29). However, on-site therapeutic visits may be scheduled prior to the commencement as recommended by the child’s clinician. Parents’ role at commencement is primarily to witness and celebrate their child’s achievement.

Because commencement dates are tentative and may change, it is strongly recommended that all travel fares be booked in a way to be flexible or refundable.

Family counseling sessions are available during this first visit, as recommended or desired, with and/or without the student present.

During the visits, families often want to bring their dogs and as always, the safety of our students and staff is a number one consideration. Because of possible unsafe interaction between students, staff, and pets, we respectfully request that dogs are kept on a leash at all times when on campus.

Mentor Phase

After commencing from the Novice Phase, a student enters the Mentor Phase of the program. The Mentor Phase of Turning Winds prepares the student to transition back into the home environment. During this phase, the student continues to make beneficial developments therapeutically, academically and behaviorally. This is the time that students graduate from high school or continue to progress in academics, start on college courses, begin mentoring peers, develop greater insight into self and continue to strengthen relations with family.

In the latter part of the Mentor Phase, with increasing success in local and home visits, the student prepares written plans for their individual success, including their suggestions for their Transitional Plan. It is expected In addition, during this time, families needing ongoing professional help will secure assistance locally, often with the help of Turning Winds clinicians.

Transition Phase

Transition support is available to all families who take advantage of our aftercare recommendations. The Transition support phase offers support to both the student and their parents during the first three months after the student’s graduation from the program. Transition support therapy phone calls occur weekly during the first month the student returns home. During the second month of the student’s return home, Transition support calls occur every other week. Finally, during the third month of the student’s return home, the transition support call will occur the last week of the month.

During the Transition support calls, the clinician will monitor how well the student is readjusting to life at home in order to offer advice and recommendation for the student’s continued success. These calls generally focus on overall family function and parent-child relations, rather than resembling individual therapy, and therefore are expected to involve both the parents and child.

Parents are also encouraged to call the school with any concerns. Former students and parents are encouraged to speak with program employees on an as-needed basis.

Check Your Understanding

True or False

  1. [T/F] Novice is the first of three phases in the Turning Winds program
  2. [T/F] The Mentor Phase of Turning Winds prepares the student to transition back into the home environment
  3. [T/F] The Transition support phase offers support to both the student and their parents during the first three months after the student’s graduation from the program

Multiple Choice

  1. We renew a teen’s belief in their potential by
    1. Establishing meaningful connections
    2. Inspiring them to believe in themselves
    3. Empowering them by giving them the tools they need to be successful in life
    4. All of the above
  1. Which of the following is not a Turning Winds virtue:
    1. Respect
    2. Entitlement
    3. Integrity
    4. Gratitude

Related Content

Program Info

Clinical Services at Turning Winds At Turning Winds the clinical services are unique in that we extend treatment beyond the confines of four walls.  We could not think of a better setting to apply our therapeutic approach than the serene landscape of Montana.  We have taken the best elements of

Read More »

Our Program

Our Program Turning Winds’s teen boarding school is a community of academic and therapeutic professionals focused on helping teens find their way past troubles and challenges to a path of engaged and productive living. Turning Winds is accredited by two of the most recognized respected secondary academic accrediting bodies in the United

Read More »

Sign up to receive Turning Winds community news