W. (Wilderness) T. (Therapy) F. (Friend)! In reference to last week's WTF? article, "Hoods In The Woods," I would like to inform our community on a few things. I am a past "wannabee drill sergeant" having worked for 2-plus years at a Wilderness Therapy Program. I take offense to being called this slanderous term. No, we are not crazy drill sergeants. We are real people who just so happen to care about our youth. We hope to lead students on the journey of self-discovery. We work to build stronger family units in a time when many are falling apart. My "wannabee drill sergeant" friends and I find Central Oregon to be an amazing place to help teens discover all these things.
The setting is unbelievable, the views are awe inspiring, and the silence of the sage desert is the perfect environment for soul searching. It is no wonder Central Oregon is the setting for many of these types of programs. The people who work at these types of programs and schools add a ton to this community. Whether it be working a second job in town, to supporting our local events, volunteering or just going out with a friend on the weekend to help them discover all the beauty of Smith Rock. Many former employees now work for not-for-profit organizations, as teachers, or still in a counseling role. We are vital to Bend. I also hate the use of the term "Hoods in the Woods". This shows a lack of respect for teenagers. Please don't call our youth "hoods in the woods." Please do call them people going through the pressures and struggles of the teen years. Please don't call us "wannabee drill sergeants." Please look us in the eye and thank us for our dedication to our youth, community and world. Finally, please do remember that our outdoor passions and pursuits come with inherent risks and dangers.