Teen Center: Philosophy
Teen Center Philosophy
The Landing Teen Center
OPERATING PILLARS OF THE TEEN CENTER
The Landing Teen Center is built upon specific values which guide and resource the kinds of relationships we desire to foster. To describe these values, the term, and “pillars” is used, representing two general concepts: (1) Stability and (2) Space. Four pillars were intentionally chosen in order to illustrate the way the Landing staff wishes to interact with teens. Structurally a pillar provides stability and support for a building or roof. These strong and stable pillars also typically create a large amount of open space beneath their support. We believe that freedom and open space within a caring structure provide a secure place in which teens can gather. The pillars become points from which to connect with teenagers.
The Four Pillars of The Landing Teen Center are:
1. Relationship Focus
2. Genuine Interest
3. Authentic Engagement
4. Whole Person Development
It is important for teens to feel that they belong and are valued and respected. The Landing Teen Center views teens as individuals with feelings, hopes, dreams, and wants. Each of the programs and activities points toward the building of relationships in direct or indirect ways.
Relationship Programs and Procedures
• Discipline Issues: Poor or destructive behavior does not automatically result in expulsion, but provides an opportunity for growth and learning. For example, if a teen steals from the teen center, they are not automatically banned from returning, but rather are engaged is a discussion of their behavior, what happens after that is up to them.
We seek to express genuine interest in each teen’s thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. The activities of The Teen Center are an outgrowth of our genuine interest to understand the worldview and experience of teens. The staff genuinely desires to know and connect with each of the teens that walk through the door.
General Interest Programs and Procedures
• “Relational Energy Pockets.” Teens are invited to sit down with staff in a‚ “R.E.P.” in order to enter into their world through honest questions and interaction.
• An atmosphere of teen oriented discussions: no topic is too “hot” to discuss. The goal is to create an atmosphere of mentoring through activity and communication.
The third pillar is the pursuit of accountability in relationships. This accountability takes the form of listening and commenting on attitudes, emotions, and vibes, in order to raise awareness. Teens are accountable for their treatment of self, one another, and staff. This accountability comes in the form of authentic engagement and discussion.
Authentic Engagement Programs and Procedures
• Disciplinary action: In an attempt to avoid a punishment model of discipline, Authentic engagement is implemented in order to understand actions and thinking.
• Rules of the Teen Center: Rules are designed as guidelines to mediate cooperative community relations; respectful discussion of them is encouraged.
• Emotions: We do not shy away from anger or attitudes; emotions are welcome. They will be engaged through discussion of feelings, emotions, and intent.
WHOLE PERSON DEVELOPMENT
The goal of the Landing Teen Center is to provide an atmosphere that encourages teens to develop as whole persons through interaction with the staff and other teenagers. It is through the implementation of the first three pillars that staff is given a voice into a teens’ life regarding the following four subcategories of whole person development:
- Physical: Discussion with teens regarding their choices of exercise, food, and drink (we promote healthy food and drink here), drugs, alcohol, sleep, and sexual activity is pursued. These discussions are centered upon the effect of said choices and whether the affects are constructive, healthy, and commensurate with personal values.
- Emotional: We seek to help teens get in touch with their emotions and learn to navigate this potential minefield. The first step is to assist teens in developing a language to describe their feelings.
- Psychological: Another aspect of whole person development is helping teens to understand their thinking processes. This especially relates to their relational choices and the way they interact with their families, peers, and persons of authority.
- Relational: The staff at The Landing Teen Center is committed to helping teens learn to have healthy relationships. By tending to the physical, emotional, and psychological, we desire to help teens have deep, meaningful, and healthy relationships.
The 4 Pillars of The Landing Teen Center provide the basis of everything we do day in and day out. Each of them has been tested in a real world environment over the last two years. We hope that this summary enables you to understand the philosophy and practice of The Landing Teen Center.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The Landing Teen Center
Galen Caldwell, Teen Staff
Phone: (208) 939-4850