Cover of Fall 2022 newsletter - kids on rope course

Fall 2022 Newsletter

Old Bills 2022

Sumer newsletter 2022 cover with kids on a hike

Summer 2022 Newsletter

Spring 2022 Newsletter

Fall 2021 Newsletter

Summer 2021 Newsletter

Winter newsletter_2020-21_boys backpacking

Winter 2020-2021 Newsletter

Mitch Dann

A letter from Board President Mitch Dann

Mitch Dann
Thank you for your support of Teton Youth and Family Services (TYFS)! I am starting my fifth year as a board member, second (and last) year as president of the board and celebrating nearly 20 years as a supporter. TYFS helps youth and families in many ways by providing family counseling and youth training, a safe home when the youth’s home is not a place they can be, and an alternative path for restitution and juvenile jail. TYFS does a lot.
In short, my view of TYFS is we help youth to help themselves to find a better path, one that leads to a higher quality of life through relationships with others and contribution to society as opposed to a life potentially of societal dependence. My right brain revels at the help we provide to these youth and family and my left brain revels at the amazing return on investment between a lifetime of contribution vs. dependence.
Covid has created special challenges for us. We did not have a choice to shut down this spring we had to operate with the youth in our care. It was an interesting learning experience. A Covid Plan was rapidly developed, implemented and iterated as we learned. The organization rose to the challenge and I was most impressed by the actions taken to help reduce our employees stress and worries. Of course operating in the times of Covid has meant increased expenses.
About one- third of the organization’s $3 million annual budget comes from philanthropy. We receive good support from the County and Town. The State has offered some challenges and we are still awaiting budgetary changes they have told us are coming. At the same time we along with the other service providers in the State have been advocating with our constituents there.
The nature of the payment structure of the State is that our expenses exceed what we are paid for the services we provide. Perhaps that is the State’s way of saying we want the local community involved. The good news is we have a great local community who has generously supported TYFS over the years. Being able to help these youth and families help themselves, makes our community stronger, as families are the fabric of a community.
I hope as you are making your Old Bill’s list you will once again consider Teton Youth and Family Services! We greatly appreciate your support and your recognition of how TYFS makes a difference and builds a stronger community.
With Best Regards,
Mitch Dann
TYFS Board President
Jackson hole leadership program

What is the Van Vleck House?

Jackson hole leadership program
I want to let you know more about an incredible part of Teton Youth and Family Services- The Van Vleck House.
The Van Vleck House provides programming to children and adolescents in our community along a continuum of care.
Our programs include:
  • The Jackson Hole Leadership Program which is a summer camp focused on social skill building, problem solving and having fun in the wilderness
  • Crisis Shelter for youth in need of a short-term break from the issues that they are experiencing so that they and their families can gain new perspectives and new tools
  • Group Home for youth who are in need of longer term treatment for mental health and behavioral struggles
  • Staff Secure Holding Facility for youth in an acute mental health or legal crisis which acts as a bridge to more definitive care
These programs offer a wide spectrum of opportunities and interventions. For youth who participate in the JHLP, they are offered the opportunity to interact with others who they might not normally associate with which brings up many opportunities to try new things and learn how to communicate more effectively. Kids participate in group challenge activities, canoeing, ropes course, camping and overnight backpacking.
Youth in the Crisis Shelter may be getting help with their issues for the first time and are encouraged to see their struggles from a new perspective. Parents receive help in understanding and re-connecting with their struggling teen. They then have the opportunity to practice what they are learning through reintegration to the home while practicing these new skills.
Youth in the Group Home have typically been struggling with the issues that brought them to us for many years. As such it can take some time, often many months, to learn to trust adults and to develop healthier behaviors and habits. This takes place in the context of the family also learning new coping mechanisms and building on the strengths and resiliency of their child.
The Staff Secure facility allows a child to be safe while their family regroups to formulate a plan for further intervention. It also provides a safe place for kids who have made poor choices and sends the message that they are not criminals.
All of our staff is trained to work from a strength based perspective which encourages kids to grow based on their resiliency, what is working and what they are already doing well. At all levels of programming we emphasize that the quality of one’s life is directly affected by the quality of one’s relationships.
I love seeing the progress the kids make over time knowing that they have worked hard to achieve their goals. TYFS programs are all about developing relationships with kids and their families that in turn help them to make a greater connection with each other and with their community.
Please consider supporting our essential services this year during Old Bill’s Fun Run- together as a community we can make a difference.
Jeremy Silcox
Director of the Van Vleck House
28-Day Wilderness Adventure

A letter from Tom Concannon: 28 days in the mountains

28-Day Wilderness Adventure
Our Special Wilderness trip ran from June 14th to July 3rd this year and our regular Wilderness Trip went from July 13th to August 6th.
These trips are always quite challenging due to our route and the duration of the trip. Most people are not physically prepared to hike with a heavy pack for 21-28 days in the mountains. In addition to the normal physical challenge, this year the weather was rather wet in June. The boys and staff persevered through these challenges, realizing many individual goals and forming a cohesive unit, working together to make it through.
Our trips are designed to help young men change their perspective of themselves and their perspective of the world around them. Completing difficult physical labor allows a boy to see himself as capable. Completing a difficult physical task in the company of the same small group of boys allows a boy to see himself as capable of caring about his buddies, helping a buddy in need, and seeing himself as capable of having quality friendships. Completing a difficult task in the company of adults who keep you fed, on track, and safe allows a boy to see the adults in the world as caring, safe, reasonable, and worthy of his trust.
The 13 boys who completed this trip all experienced major gains in self-confidence, social skills, and a sense of community. They also developed individual skills with the assistance of the trip therapist and the field staff.
We watch these boys thrive after their experience in the wilderness and we are especially appreciative of our donors who make this trip possible year-after-year. Our donors’ generosity makes a significant positive impact on the health and well-being of many young men in our community.
Thank you,
Tom Concannon
Director, Red Top Meadows Treatment Center