Each team of up to 8 students share a cabin, eating together, studying together, participating in group sessions together, and engaging in leisure activities together. This residential milieu requires students to bring the skills and lessons learned in the backcountry into the social community on campus and practice those skills in a setting that more closely resembles home or boarding school. This reinforces skills development and mastery, increasing the transference of these skills to the student’s home or next educational setting.
Group process lies at the core of Summit Achievement’s therapeutic approach. Each evening students engage in guided group discussions to resolve issues related to group living and provide feedback to group members. These sessions are important because students will often hear feedback from peers that they have difficulty accepting from adults. We know that personality is formed and shaped largely through one’s contact and involvement with others; Summit believes it can be reshaped through this same intensive process.
Summit Achievement’s rolling admissions policy ensures that students within each group are at different phases of the program level system, with some students in their first weeks, others in the middle of the continuum, and others preparing to graduate from the program. This mixture of students at different progress levels empowers students to pass along skills, program expectations, and knowledge in a perpetuating cycle of peer teaching and peer support. In essence this helps retain a positive peer culture while teaching students both compassion and leadership skills.