Q: What will the living arrangements be like? Will I have my own space? Can I decorate it to my liking?
A. The living arrangements will be that of a positive and supportive home-stay atmosphere with the supervision and guidance of the live-in Parent Counsellor(s). Yes you will have your own space consisting of a “suite” within the home. Each suite contains it’s own bathroom, living room, kitchen, and has either one or two bedrooms. Both the Parent Counsellor(s) and the youth residents still access the entire house, however, the independence you acquire is agreed upon between you, your parents and the Venture Academy staff. There may be one other youth living in the home with you and the Parent Counsellor(s). You will have your own room to personalize, as you please, (nothing of an offensive nature). It will be your home away from home.
Q. What are the program expectations of me? What can I do so that I’m not bored?
A. Once accepted into the program, your Youth Counsellor will assist you in accomplishing your goals. These agreed upon service objectives may range from participating in recreational activities, reviewing your behaviours, leading a more healthy lifestyle, continuing your education, finding work, becoming aware of community services, working through family difficulties, enhancing your interpersonal and independent living skills, or many other planned or spontaneous activities.
Q. How long will I stay in the Semi-Independent Support Homes Program?
A. Ultimately, this decision is between you and your parents. Venture Academy recommends youth participate in the program until most, or all of the originally identified goals have been completed. Depending on your willingness and motivation, usually this means a minimum stay of about six months. Sometimes, completing these goals may take longer, or you may discover new goal areas to work on. You may also want to finish off the school year, or continue with new-found activities and friendships. In these instances, you may be in the program for eight to ten months, or longer.
Q. My parents want to know that I’m going to be safe and feel comfortable while away from home. How can they be assured of this?
A. Without a doubt, your safety is of the utmost importance to Venture Academy. All staff (who are subject to criminal record checks and trained in non-violent crisis intervention) are chosen because of their compassion and proven experience in successfully working with youth and young adults. Whether it be a one on one discussion, or engaging in challenging outdoor activities, the Venture Academy team make it their priority to ensure all participants feel emotionally safe and are physically protected.
Q. When can I go home to visit my family?
A. Anytime. Venture Academy staff recognizes that this may be the first time the participants have been separated from their families for an extended period. Keeping in mind the programs objectives and your goals, youth and parents are encouraged to pre-plan home visits in a manner least disruptive to the participants established routines.
Q. Can family come and visit me?
A. Yes. Visits can be accommodated at anytime. Venture Academy staff will take time to talk with your parents about the program, your goals, objectives and your participation.
Q. I’ve noticed words like therapeutic, emotional growth, self-esteem, etc. Do you need to have some kind of “problem” to get into Venture Academy’s Semi-Independent Support Homes?
A. No. Venture Academy believes that all youth benefit from our nurturing philosophy, ambitious expectations, skill building and the application of universal principles such as emotional growth support, life skills etc. Each individual is different. We help youth achieve agreed upon growth and service objectives as identified in your Individual Service Plan.
Q. The physical activities sound challenging. What if I can’t keep up?
A. Don’t worry. Venture Academy’s trained and experienced staff are sensitive to the needs and capabilities of all youth in our care. Yes you will be challenged, but the staff will always be aware of your individual comfort level and will support you in pushing your own limits at your own pace.
Q. What if I want to pursue an activity I recently experienced while in the Semi-Independent Support Homes Program?
A. No problem. With your parent’s approval, Venture Academy will match you with an identified resource and help you develop a more intensive schedule that will favour greater involvement in the activity of your choice. For example, if Venture Academy introduced you to water skiing or snowboarding and you decided you loved it and would like become better at it, we will connect you with a water ski school or snowboard instructor or in order for you to pursue your new interest.
Q. I have a special diet and there are things that I can’t or won’t eat. How can this be accommodated?
A. Your Parent Counsellors plan the menu based on the Canada Food Guide and in consultation with a dietician and the youth residents. Individual needs and tastes are considered. With notification, your special diet will be accommodated.
Q. How will I know I’m taking the right school courses to get into the university or college of my choice?
A. Venture Academy staff and local teachers assist youth and parents in identifying post secondary entry-level subject material. Youth in our programs have every opportunity to, and are supported in achieving their academic goals.
Q. Is there a dress code at the Semi-Independent Support Homes? Can I bring my own clothes?
A. Yes, there is a dress code at the Semi-Independent Support Homes. Clothes must be reasonably appropriate and suitable for the activity in which you are participating. Venture Academy will not allow any clothes that display a negative message or are decorated with alcohol drug logos or offensive portrayals. You are required to bring your own clothes but Venture Academy will gladly assist you in purchasing clothes from local outlets which will be suitable for your stay.
Q. My spiritual life is important to me. Will I be able to attend church and practice my religion while participating in the Venture Academy Semi-Independent Support Homes Program?
A. Yes, Venture Academy is sensitive to the spiritual beliefs of youth and their families. If desired, you will be supported in accessing an identified place of worship and will be given the respect and freedom to practice your religion.
Q. What happens if I get sick? Will I be able to have access to a doctor and a pharmacy?
A. Your health is very important. Any illness will be attended to immediately. You will have access to emergency medical care or a doctor for any treatments necessary. Venture Academy has a pharmaceutical consultant whom identifies appropriate over the counter medication for youth and young adults in need of help with minor medical conditions.
Q. What happens if I’ve signed up for a certain period and realize after sometime that things won’t work out for me in the Semi-Independent Support Homes Program?
A. Venture Academy staff will attempt to support you in working through any difficulties you may be experiencing. If the time does come that you must leave the program, you may do so at any time under the agreed upon terms of the contract.