Day in the Life

"Morning!! Guys, it's time to get up!!"

I look over at the clock next to my bed, its 6:47 and I can smell breakfast cooking in the kitchen. Yum!! I love the smell of bacon. I think to myself, 'It's okay to have problems, that's what my peers and staff are here for, is to help me work through themâ I'm going to make sure I have a great day today'.

I make my bed and then join the other guys in the great room to get the day started. First thing on our list is making sure everything is clean. We take pride in having a really nice facility and we want to make sure we keep it looking that way at all times.

Off to the dining room to eatâ Eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, and orange juiceâ what more could a growing boy ask for? It is so nice to have home cooked meals!

After breakfast is over, we all help do the dishes and clean up the kitchen and dining room. We call this KP, aka, Kitchen Patrol.

There are lots of things that need to be done around campus, and today, our group is going to help mow the grass. It's good to know that when I leave here, I will have learned so many things to be able to take care of myself and any other responsibilities I may have. Our lawn is HUGE, but it's so much fun to be out in the sun, and we all take turns using the weed eater, that thing is awesome!

It's almost time for lunch and my caseworker just arrived for her monthly visit to see my progress. I can't wait to tell her what a great week I've had! I've called group a couple of times, but when I did, my peers and staff were open and willing to talk with me about my problem, and it helped me each time. It's so great to know that I have people here that care about me and want me to succeed, here AND in the real world.

Lunch is hereâ what's on the menu? Yup, it's my favoriteâ Tator-tot casserole, green beans, salad, and pudding. Did I mention how nice it is to have home cooked meals every day?

After lunch, we all pitch in on Kitchen Patrol, and get this place spic and span again.

Now it's time for school. Not really my favorite part of the day, but all the grown-ups keep telling me that I need to graduate school to be successful. I don't want to admit it, but after learning to trust the ones that care for me, I'm beginning to trust that they are probably right about that too.

When school is done, we go to group counseling with our therapists. We all sit down in a circle and talk about our issues and thoughts we have about our past and current problems. I like it because I know, after hearing all the other guysâ talk, that I'm not the only one who has had problems. By talking through them, we get a better idea of where our behaviors have taken us and how we can change our behaviors in the future when similar situations come up. I never thought I would be able to talk about things in my past with 'strangers', but I realize now, that these people are my family.

The day is halfway over and the next shift of staff is trickling in. It makes me, and all of the other guys, feel important that they each talk with first shift staff about how our days have been so far. I realize more and more every day, how good it feels to have people that really care about us.

Tonight's agenda? Our group has had such a good week, that we are going on a 'Group Night Out'. Our group leader has plans to take us out to eat and to Magic Mountain. Staff like to reward us for doing a good job, they always say to us, "We work hard and we play hard, but we never mix the two", I'm slowly beginning to understand what this means. I can't wait to ride the go-karts and I also told my group leader that I could beat him in putt-putt golf, and he told me ''Yeah right, you'll have to work pretty hard to beat me, but I hope you do!" âI'm determined to beat him!

After our fun night out, we come back to the campus, or as I've come to realize, it's called "home" to me. Time to get showers and have some free time. Some of the guys like to play video games or board games, I usually do too, but today, I think I'm going to write a letter to my family. I know how good it makes them feel when they hear how good things are going for me up here. It was far in the distance just a year ago, but every day I grow stronger and happier with myself and how far I've come. I'm so glad I was brought here, I am beginning to be very proud of myself, which I never thought could happen.

Don't get me wrong, this place can be very hard sometimes. They always tell me that I am held accountable for my actions and that I am responsible for myself, and boy they aren't lying! Wow, I really am growing up and I know, that because of these people here and what they are teaching me, that I will continue to grow and turn into a very successful and determined young man.

Well it's bedtime nowâ good night!

âOh, wait! One more thingâ. Did I mention that I beat my group leader in putt-putt? Yup, I have bragging rights basically forever nowâ YES!!!!