The Associated Press recently reported on a mountain retreat in Colorado aimed at helping young men ages 18-23 who are having trouble getting going in life. Called Insight Intensive at Gold Lake, the program is not for addicts, violent, or criminally rebellious guys, but for those who are simply “depressed, anxious, overwhelmed and underprepared,” those who feel unmotivated, adrift, and lack “an early adult life plan.” Guys that may have dropped out of college or are still living with their parents. Because of the expensive tuition, these are typically middle to upper-class guys, the ones who should have a wealth of opportunities at their fingertips, but are still failing to thrive.
The camp tries to get the young men ready for the “real world” by giving them a little structure and discipline:
They have been eased into this routine. At first, the goal is to get them to go to sleep when the clock still says “p.m.” and to rise when it says “a.m.” — something most of them weren’t doing at home.
They also get used to sharing their living quarters — three-bedroom cabins housing six — and pulling their weight, by doing tasks such as their own laundry.
As they show they can be responsible, they work their way up in levels within the system. Eventually, they write a life plan, then take basic steps toward achieving it — putting together a resume’ and applying for a job or an apartment with the help of a life skills coach.
“This is practice. This is training,” David Krayeski, Insight’s program director, says, comparing it to preparing for a race. “These are guys who’ve been paralyzed, for lack of a better term. So we have to get them moving.”
Many of the young men also work — as kitchen or ranch hands, or on the housekeeping staff.
“You’d be surprised at how many choose housekeeping,” DeNucci says, recalling one client from a wealthy family who confessed, “I have to learn how to clean.”
While the retreat is supposed to help the young men get going with life, it’s hard not see it as further coddling. The young men do yoga in the morning and have therapy sessions, while living in a place that is “rustic, but comfortable with its wood-paneled walls, stone fireplace, sauna and massage rooms and outdoor hot tubs.” It costs $350 a day and lasts up to four months, and parents foot the bill. Which means it costs mom and dad an eye-popping $42,000 to teach junior basic life skills.
It seems to me that if a young man wants to turn his life around, it has to come from within, from some bootstrap pulling, not from a retreat like this. I know that reading this article would have made my Grandpa spit his coffee out in utter surprise.
Read the whole article: “Retreat Aims at Young Men’s Failure to Launch” (@Yahoo)
Hat tip to Joel D. for this link.