Nonprofit says Connell program has lowest recidivism rate of any juvenile institution in Washington

Tyler Richardson, Tri-City HeraldJune 28, 2014 

Camp Outlook is part of Seattle-based Pioneer Human Services, a nonprofit that offers a variety of services to thousands in Washington.

Pioneer says Camp Outlook has the lowest recidivism rate of any juvenile institution in the state.

The camp, which accepts young men and young women, opened in 1997 and is funded by the state Department of Social and Health Services and the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration. It does not accept violent offenders, sex offenders or those older than 19 years old.

The rehabilitation model is centered around treatment, education and military structure.

Teens can earn up to 4.25 high school credits in core subjects and are in a classroom daily.

Treatment focuses on problem solving, controlling emotions, aggression replacement, developing a positive self image and taking responsibility for decisions. Alcohol and drug education is also offered.

Teens train at least six days a week using the Marine Corps physical fitness test. They wake up at 5:30 a.m. to train and practice military-style drills, including learning how to present flag colors at events and to navigate an obstacle course.

Camp members go through four stages of training:

-- Green Hat, the introduction phase, is confrontational, challenging the youths to get accustomed to a military-style life and treatment program. Teachers assess the youths' education levels, and case managers begin to establish treatment goals and a treatment plan. No family visits are allowed, but one outgoing letter is permitted per week.

-- Orange Hat. Physical training becomes more demanding and the youths begin to train on portions of a high ropes course. Trainees are expected to display an understanding of basic skills and day-to-day camp life. Family is allowed to visit once, and a phone call and two outgoing letters are permitted each week.

-- Brown Hat. The third phase focuses on developing relationships, leadership training, learning self-respect and applying program principles. Family skills are emphasized and a transition plan is finalized. Physical training is used to build teamwork and the trainees are expected to be leaders for the next new platoon.

-- Gold Hat. The offenders develop a support system to help them find a positive role in the community and begin to plan how to use their new skills. The teens do community service work and contact support agencies to help with transitioning. They are expected to be proficient in drills and the obstacle course. Placement with family or transitional facilities occurs after graduation.

To learn how to apply to Camp Outlook, call 509-234-5200.

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