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
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

Reducing Stress in Children’s Daily Lives

Reducing Stress in Children’s Daily Lives

Back-to-school season — we all know it well. And even though children and parents are often thankful for the familiar routine of the school day, the transition from summer back to school can create stress. Kids are just as susceptible to this stress as parents, but sometimes it harder to see in our children.
Children display stress much differently than an adult does as their communication skills are less developed and their coping mechanisms not established. Recognizing specific behaviors can help parents support their children through the stressful time and increase the child’s confidence in future stressful situations. The following are potential reactions children may have to stress:
• An increase in oppositional behavior
• Loss of interest in things the child normally enjoys
• Changes in eating patterns
• Regression in behaviors like clinginess or frequent crying
• An increase or decrease in energy levels not due to an illness
It is normal for children to go through phases where life may seem more difficult, providing some simple structure and guidance can assist the child in moving through the phase. Teaching your child stress management techniques can build self-esteem.
Communicate. Try to generate an open environment and create opportunities for your kids to express themselves. Parents can facilitate these openings by asking straightforward, non-threating questions about school, friends, classmates, and teachers. It can even be as simple as, “How are you feeling?”
Eat Healthy. We’re all on the run and once school starts, it is harder to keep track of everything our kids are eating. But a healthy body is one that is better equipped to withstand stress.
Encourage Physical Activity. They don’t have to be flying down the slopes or getting in aggressive activity, but regular exercise can help with health and, especially, with mental health. A daily walk or bike ride can help them sort out their thoughts- and feel better about themselves.
Establishing a Bedtime Routine. Work on getting your child in the routine of going to bed at ‘school time’ and waking up accordingly. The Mayo Clinic states that school-aged children need 10-11 hours of sleep, in comparison to adults who need 7-9 hours. A sleep deprived child will be a child who has less energy for school and activities and will need time to make-up for their sleep deprivation.
Listen. Learning to listen to your child and their needs is a skill developed throughout parenthood and is unique to each child. As a parent it is easy to give advice and not hear what your child may be saying about their perspective on what is happening in their daily life. Taking moments to hear your child’s perspective is a great way to understand what the sources of the stress may be and how you as a parent can best support and show your love for your child.
Matia Wilson

Staff Highlight: Matia Wilson

Matia is a Therapist for the Van Vleck Group Home and Crisis Shelter in Jackson, Wyoming. She was born in Shrewsbury, VT and attended the University of Vermont, majoring in both Psychology and Anthropology. The day after college graduation, Matia moved to Jackson to guide horseback rides in Grand Teton National Park.

In 2015, Matia went back to graduate school at the University of Wyoming and received her Master’s in Social Work. During her search for an ideal job, Matia was drawn to work at the Van Vleck House because of TYFS’s strengths based approach and community involved atmosphere. She enjoys helping kids and their families create meaningful connections and rebuild relationships with themselves and those around them. A sincere thank you to Matia for all she does at TYFS!

Registration is open for 22nd Annual TYFS Golf Tournament

Register now to enjoy some early season golf and raise funds to support children and families in our community. Join us on June 25th at Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club for the 22nd annual Teton Youth and Family Services Golf Tournament. An entry cost of $300 (or $1,000 for a foursome) gets you lunch, golf cart rental, green fees, post-golf reception, and an event gift bag.

Register Now

OLD BILL’S FUN RUN AMAZES US ONCE AGAIN!

It is amazing! Old Bill’s Fun Run gets better every year. Once again the second Saturday of September was a beautiful morning and the town square and surrounding streets were jammed with a wonderful cross section of Jackson Hole residents. All the people were smiling, laughing, interacting and excited by giving of their energy walking and running, time volunteering and giving to non-profits they value. The entire event impacts all of Jackson Hole thanks to the wonderful generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Old Bill and the Co-Challengers, the hard work of the Community Foundation and volunteers, and the many hundreds of thoughtful, caring people like YOU that contributed to all of the nonprofit organizations.

Teton Youth & Family Services was graced by all of the kindness as much as anyone. Your gift, whether $5 or $5,000, reinforces the value and importance of our work. It makes it possible for us to help over 650 individual family members find their way to more fulfilling and successful lives.

Thanks to gifts from supporters like you middle school youth are able to improve their peer relationships via an exciting week of adventure activities in the summer leadership program, families receive support and guidance, children and parents rekindle their trust in each other, young men and women gain new skills and self control, and young men gaining new perceptions of the world and themselves via wilderness programming.

For all of us associated with Teton Youth & Family Services, the amount of support we receive from you is as rewarding for our spirits as the total donations are for our budget.

Thank you to all!

Red Top Meadows School Newsletter- Winter 2017

Check out what is new in the Red Top Meadows classroom- Winter II Newsletter 2017

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