Eckerd Youth Alternatives
Eckerd Youth Academies
 FamilyLight sm: Successor to Bridge to Understandingsm
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Eckerd Youth Alternatives is a chain of programs that FamilyLight sm holds in high regard and expects to review in more detail soon.  

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FamilyLightsm is an educational consulting firm specializing in work with families with a young person with behavioral, emotional or psychological difficulties.  We offer in-depth personal guidance to families on a fee basis and free guidance on the internet. FamilyLightsm attempts to be fully objective and accepts no advertising nor referral fees.

Briefly,  Eckerd has long been a major provider of services for adolescents funded by state and other government agencies in Eastern part of the United States with several dozen program sites.  Generally Eckerd programs operate in the Therapeutic Camping format as championed by Campbell Loughmiller. This is not to be confused with either Outward Bound or NOLS type programming or the relatively short term high impact wilderness programming you will see described elsewhere in this website.

We believe that of all the Campbell Loughmiller type programs, the Eckerd programs are the standouts for staff training, professionalism, and integration of therapeutics, education, and the natural impact of the outdoors.

Relatively recently, Eckerd has created the Eckerd Academy program for private families on three sites of former Eckerd public sector programs.  These are Eckerd Academy at Deer Lodge, Eckerd Academy at Brooksville FL, and Eckerd Academy of the Blue Ridge.  These are programmatically similar to what Eckerd has always done, but with the customer service private families expect.

While you wait for us to present a more complete review, please look around this website.  Look at our Guidelines -- a fairly comprehensive statement of what we believe quality is all about.  If you come to a search and planning process with limited experience, this is an opportunity for you to find some principles to measure schools and programs against.

Keep coming back to see the updates. Look at "What's New" (Announcements).  In spring of 2009 we expect to have returns from schools, programs, and related organizations published, giving deeper insight into these than has ever been available on the web before. 

Official web site of Eckerd Youth Alternatives

Official web site of Eckerd Academies

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Feedback is invited. We will publish feedback in good taste, consistent with our standards.  Email

Disclaimer: No  program review, no matter how positive, is a blanket endorsement. No criticism is a blanket condemnation.  When we express our level of confidence in a school or program, that is our subjective opinion with which others might reasonably disagree.  When we assert something as fact, we have done our best to be accurate, but we cannot guarantee that all of our information is accurate and up to date. When we address compliance with our guidelines, you need to remember that these are only OUR guidelines -- not guidelines from an official source.  We have also set the bar very high, and do not expect any school or program to be in total compliance.  It is not appropriate to draw a conclusion of impropriety (or even failure to live up to conventional wisdom) from our lack of confidence in a school or program or from less than perfect conformity to our guidelines.  Some will say we expect too much. Readers are responsible for verifying accuracy of information supplied here prior to acting upon it. We are not responsible for inaccuracies.

Last updated  3-1-09; Minor edits 7-14-09


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