At Comeragh Wilderness Academy, we deeply understand that fostering healthy and thriving relationships requires effort and commitment from all individuals involved. In today’s society, there is often a lack of guidance on what constitutes a healthy relationship. That’s why our primary objective is to reintroduce young people to the essence of meaningful relationships.
We strive to teach our students the fundamental principles of respect, active listening, and collaborative problem-solving within a group setting. Through peer support and the guidance of our experienced chiefs, we create an environment where camaraderie flourishes and young individuals learn to value and cherish these connections. Our goal is to empower them with the skills needed to cultivate strong and fulfilling relationships throughout their lives.
How is this achieved?
By prioritizing the partnership between chiefs and young people, we aim to:
(1) Foster the belief that they can experience success and fulfillment in relationships.
(2) Develop the necessary skill set to realize their hopes and dreams.
(3) Provide opportunities for embracing spirituality and the connections that arise from this.
Healthy relationships bring immense satisfaction and meaning to life, and it is our aspiration to see young people and their families experience this fulfillment.
Structure in our school serves as the framework for teaching young people the right way to live and to fulfill their daily responsibilities. They learn important habits such as making their bed, maintaining cleanliness in their living areas, and caring for the environment.
At Comeragh Wilderness Academy, we place great emphasis on the “preservation and care” of our natural surroundings, which is reflected in the various structures present throughout the school premises. We believe in instilling in our students a deep appreciation for the environment and the importance of its conservation.
Furthermore, we go beyond the school premises and extend this understanding to the concept of structures in the broader context of home and the wider community. By recognizing the value of these structures, our young people learn to apply the same principles of preservation and care to their immediate surroundings, fostering a sense of responsibility and stewardship toward their homes and communities.
We recognize that most successes stem from effective planning and diligent effort. Groups at our school are required to develop long-term and short-term goals, in conjunction with their plans. Long-term goals might include ideas that the group is planning for a number of months such as organizing a multi-day canoe trip or designing and building a new tent for the campsite.
To accomplish these goals successfully, the group learns to function as a team, resolving any challenges that arise along the way. Each week the group engages in specific planning and sets short-term goals based on their needs for the coming week. These goals and objectives must then coincide with the group’s long-term aspirations.
Through participation in the planning process, young people come to understand that effective planning extends far beyond impulsive ideas or a self-centered approach. It involves clear plans, specific targets, and prioritizing goals.
As the group internalizes the planning process, a profound sense of accomplishment and confidence begins to replace the cycle of failure that many such young people have experienced in the past.
At Comeragh Wilderness Academy, we understand that problems are an inherent part of life. We also recognize that vocally addressing and resolving these issues, regardless of their size, can be exceedingly challenging. Our primary objective is to empower every young person entrusted to our program to identify and openly discuss problems in their own lives. Through the guidance and support of our dedicated staff, they gain the strength and resilience to confront these challenges with honesty and courage.
We also foster an environment where each student encourages and assists their peers in problem-solving. We refer to this collaborative approach as “helping yourself by helping others” within our school community.
Our highly qualified and trained group chiefs, who reside with the students around the clock, play a crucial role in assisting the group and individuals in overcoming daily difficulties. They provide guidance and facilitate discussions to address past problems that may have arisen prior to the student’s admission. These deep-seated issues often lead to pain and a wide range of negative emotions that have trapped these young individuals into a cycle of turmoil and confusion.
As each student learns to communicate about these challenging problems constructively, under the guidance of the chiefs, the cycle of turmoil and confusion gradually gives way to appropriate behavior and personal growth. This transformation represents a significant milestone in the young person’s journey towards positive development.
Having established the essential foundations of relationships, structure, planning, and problem-solving, we would be missing an important piece of the puzzle if we neglected another vital component: evaluation. Evaluation allows both the individual and the group to reflect on their performance by asking the question, “How did we do?” This question, when approached with a spirit of learning, enables the group to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement in each planned activity.
At the end of each day, the group engages in an evaluation process to assess the successes and challenges encountered, maximizing the learning potential derived from their experiences.
ABC’s of SCHOOL
The “ABC’s of SCHOOL” serve as the cornerstones of life at Comeragh Wilderness Academy. They encompass the following principles:
CLEAN PUPIL – Emphasizing cleanliness and neatness enhances a child’s personal appearance, fostering a sense of self-worth.
CLEAN LODGE – Encouraging neatness and orderliness within their living quarters influences every aspect of a student’s life. It instills a positive sense of pride in maintaining an aesthetically pleasing lodge, while also developing skills in organization and maintaining an orderly environment.
CLEAN AREA – Cultivating respect and appreciation for the surrounding environment and what they possess, along with fostering a sense of group pride, raises awareness of broader aspects of good citizenship, ecology, and pollution control.