The Autauga C.L.I.M.B. (Character, Leadership, Integrity, Motivation, and Best Attitude) program is located on 63 acres in rural Autauga County near Prattville, Alabama. The facility was constructed in 1986 by Bradford Health Services to serve as an alcohol and drug treatment center for adults. In 1994 the property was acquired by the Department of Youth Services for development of a short term program.
The Autauga C.L.I.M.B. program (formerly HIT) provides a short-term, highly structured environment for low to medium risk males in the juvenile justice system. With the help of specially designed programming and trained staff, youth are motivated to participate in outdoor adventure-based programming to address behavior issues and to learn pro-social skills in an effort to increase their self-esteem, self-discipline, regard for others, and functional ability to adapt and make a contribution to today’s society. Core program components include Project Adventure, Aggression Replacement Training (ART), and Changing Directions. Educational services are also provided.
The Project Adventure programming at Autauga stresses teamwork by giving youth situations where they are challenged to solve a problem as a group. Project Adventure helps youth learn how to work together through interaction. Youth learn why it is important to discuss possible solutions before attempting to solve a problem, to listen to suggestions from other people, to respect others ideas and feelings, and to think before acting. Youth learn the feeling of accomplishment when a difficult situation is faced, discussed, and then solved successfully.
Aggression Replacement Training (ART)
Aggression Replacement Training (ART) at Autauga is an evidence based program and is one of the most important aspects of the C.L.I.M.B. program. In anger control training, youth are instructed on how to control their anger and aggression towards others. Through numerous group training sessions, youth become aware of their feelings, how to tell when they are becoming angry, and what they can do to calm themselves down before they do something they would regret later. They are given written exercises to complete when they become angry to allow them to analyze the event, how they handled it, and what they could do differently to improve the situation. Other components of ART are:
Structured Learning Training (SLT)
Through discussions and role-playing, youth are taught to treat others as they would like to be treated. Through this training, youth learn how to respect others feelings. Being respectful is a basic social skill; and youth learn that the little things such as saying “please” and “thank-you” really mean a lot when expressed to others.
During these training sessions, youth are given scenarios where individuals are faced with moral dilemmas. The youth chooses one of the possible solutions and explains why he would react in that way. Through these discussions, youth practice the skill of moral reasoning and receive a better understanding of morals and their importance to society.
Another important aspect of the Autauga program, Changing Directions, assists the youth in understanding himself and relating to others. Each youth is given a workbook to use during these sessions. These sessions help him to increase his confidence by teaching him to think for himself and not to put himself down. When a youth has confidence, he has a feeling of increased self-esteem and self-worth. These sessions also teach a youth how to set goals in life and how to attain those goals. Negative attitudes are also addressed and how attitudes affect attaining ones goals.
LB Wallace Annex IV, which is located on-site, is an annex to the LB Wallace School in Mt. Meigs, Alabama. The program provides educational services to male youth who are committed to the Alabama Department of Youth Services. The school day is divided into several components. One half day is spent in academic classroom instruction. Two separate components are taught the other half day: (a) Aggression Replacement Training and (b) Project Adventure/Alpine Tower. The academic curriculum content is based on State Department of Education curricula guides with emphasis on the development of basic skills in reading, language, mathematics, and science. Academic instruction is individualized to meet the specific needs of each youth. An individual plan is developed for each youth based on previous school records, informal diagnostic techniques, and TABE test results.