Alaska Crossings is a strength based program. We employ trauma-informed staff who deliver behavioral health services through an experiential model to youth who are struggling to function positively at home, school or in the community. We work with youth and families throughout the program to address individual goals that are identified to help the youth and family be successful.
While with Alaska Crossings, youth build skills in social functioning, structure and routine, self-motivation, effective communication and a positive work ethic. They learn how to be successful as an individual as well as part of a group or community in conjunction to learning the hard skills needed for wilderness expeditions. The youth and families work with their case management and clinical teams to develop an effective home coming plan, setting youth up with positive supports and activities in the home community.
The Alaska Crossings Phase Model
We have come to recognize that there is a natural progression to the process of adjusting to and getting the most out of your Crossings experience. Our program follows three phases described below to best meet the needs of our individual clients and their families while simultaneously accomplishing successful group expeditions in the back-country of Southeast Alaska. Clinicians provide clinical support and direction to the Field Guide team and Case Management team throughout the course of an Alaska Crossings program.
Phase I – Structural Foundation & Routine
The initial phase of the program is characterized by structure and routine. Safety is the primary focus as our participants are taught the necessary hard skills to be successful and comfortable in the marine environment. During this time, participants learn about safety gear, how to paddle a canoe, set up and break down camp, organize their gear to stay warm and dry, and how to attend to their self-care needs in the backcountry. Groups work together to set up a routine and a culture that will help them to feel physically and emotionally comfortable and to be successful over the course of their journey. Our guides focus on teaching skills, maintaining safety, building relationships, and supporting our clients in coping with homesickness and other initial challenges. Simultaneously, our clinicians and case managers are working with families to support them in identifying areas for positive change at home. Parents/guardians work with their case manager to write a letter to their child that addresses specific challenges, choices and behaviors that lead to the need for Alaska Crossings' services.
Phase II – Personal Development
Once positive relationships have been formed and a strong, productive community has been established, the group moves into the next phase of treatment. During this phase, the participants and their guides start to really zero in on each individual’s maladaptive behaviors and treatment goals. Problematic behaviors and dysfunctional coping habits are addressed for the purpose of developing healthy strategies that lead to positive changes. The participants learn new skills, how to manage their emotions, positive replacement behaviors, and communication techniques. During this time, case managers, clinicians and families are also working to process the challenges the participants were experiencing at home and developing strategies to promote healing and future growth.
Phase III – Homecoming Plan and Community Focus
The prospect of coming home is all at once very exciting and a little scary. Our families and participants have learned a lot and made positive changes on their own, and during this phase is when everything comes together. During this phase, guides and clinicians are working with the participants on how to take what they learned while with Alaska Crossings home to their families and home community. Participants focus on community service and returning to home communities with identified interests and participation plans. Homecoming plans are developed as the participants and families share their hopes and expectations and establish positive communication guidelines. Case managers and clinicians work hard with families to establish relationships with mentors and providers in the community to help set the participants up for success.
Case Management & Family Services
Through regular phone calls and emails, case managers update families and treatment team members with each participant’s progress and struggles throughout program, providing them with information on techniques and interventions that have been helpful for the youth during their time in program.
Transition planning begins as soon as participants are accepted into the Alaska Crossings program. Case managers work with each participant and their families to help coordinate, and advocate for any needed services that will help the youth and families succeed in the future. This includes linking families with resources in their community and collaborating with them to write an effective homecoming plan for the participant to build on the positive changes developed during their time in program.
Case managers also work with support members on the participant’s treatment team including clinicians, social workers, school staff, and any other figures that will be instrumental in supporting the participant after graduating from our program.
We at Crossings Believe Family Involvement Supports
Long Lasting Change
We believe that it is crucial for family members to fully participate in the program while their youth is enrolled at Alaska Crossings. Through weekly telephonic communication with our clinical team, parents and caregivers will be led through a series of exercises to help strengthen their parenting skills and prepare them for a healthy future with their child.
A minimum of two written assignments are required from each of our participants’ primary caregivers. These include a letter that will enable parents/guardians to communicate concerns they may have for their child’s recent behavior, and the choices and struggles that impact relationships and functioning in their community. Parents/guardians will also be asked to participate with developing a homecoming plan that will clearly communicate expectations and goals for when their child returns home.