Forest Heights Lodge sits atop Forest Hill in Evergreen, Colorado. The setting is dominated by towering ponderosa pines and a spectacular view of Mt. Evans. The residence itself is a large, mountain lodge. Our school and administration buildings appear to be more residential.
In order to change, a child experiencing emotional dysregulation must feel safe. The child can learn that life can be gratifying and fun and that he can have a valued place in his community. By learning to successfully manage his emotions and behaviors, a child can come to experience that taking responsibility for one's self is deeply rewarding.
Forest Heights Lodge's milieu is designed to achieve this end. We believe that many of the boys´ severe problems have been caused by their inability to experience real and meaningful relationships with others. The structure of the milieu must make it as easy as possible for the child to form such relationships. The heart of treatment here lies in one-on-one interactions between child and staff.
Our treatment is successful because we have a skilled, experienced, well-trained child care staff. Our staffing pattern, teams working together in two day shifts, is designed to provide for those opportunities. The responsibilities of administrative staff are all organized to enhance the relationships that are developed within the milieu.
Life at the Lodge:
At Forest Heights, "the Lodge" is where all 24 boys live together. The living room is open, light, rustic, focused on the big, rock fireplace. Having all of the boys under one roof adds immeasurably to the team concept of the Lodge. Teachers work closely with child care staff throughout the entire day. In the morning before school, residential and educational staff and boys meet in the living room to discuss the coming day.
Camping and other outdoor activities are part of life and therapy. We have a basketball court and open space for games. In the winter we have a ski program. The sledding hill is always busy when there is snow. Each summer we arrange camping trips. Organized games on grounds and in our gymnasium are a regular part of each day´s activities, leading to development of physical skills and sportsmanship.
Chores are a therapeutic experience, too, and part of sharing a home. The boys all have chores to help with the day to day necessities of life, and have a regular rotation of assignments for setting tables and after-meal cleanup.
Since the Lodge is near Denver, the advantages that a major city offers are less than an hour away. Movies, sports events, zoo, roller skating, climbing wall and shopping expeditions are all within easy reach.
Altogether, we shape an environment that is warm, caring and inviting. "Life is Good. Come join us." We believe this is essential to successful treatment.
A 14 year old reflecting on his time at The Lodge:
"Before coming to the Lodge, I didn't feel like I could reach goals and accomplish what other kids were accomplishing. I had many struggles here, but it is all something that I have come to realize has helped me to achieve my goals. Now I feel like I can meet and exceed expectation that others set for me and I feel like I am accepted and belong. Now when I leave the Lodge, I know I will always have a group of people who believe in me and my ability to exceed."
Feedback from parents:
"We are grateful for Forest Height's commitment– that they believe in boys that most others have not. And we are grateful for their ability to hear and diffuse outrageous forms of communication and to recognize the fear, anxiety and lack of confidence they represent. We have seen our son emerge from his self-created cocoon and rigid world into a boy who is increasingly capable, confident and flexible."
"Life is Good...Come join us."