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May 8, 2023

Behavior Modification and Skills Training Among Focus of D.Y.S.’ Mountain Youth Program

Walton Garbutt

While the program officially launched today, the two-year D’Silva Mountain Pine Ridge Youth Program has been in operation for the past two weeks. Already there are reports that is has not all been smooth sailing. Last week, information surfaced that a handful of disgruntled youths left the camp ground on foot. We have since learned that those youths returned to Mountain Pine Ridge after their concerns were addressed. Walton Garbutt told us more about the structure of the program. Cadle also spoke about some of these early challenges.


Walton Garbutt, Deputy Director, D.Y.S.

“We have the program split up into three phases, the first phase is the behavior modification aspect whereby for four months they are going to go through this rigorous training and military style behavior instilled into them. After that we are going to move into skills training and build these young people capacity. As the director said, eighty percent of them are illiterate so we have to start with upping their literacy levels and making them more productive or being more suitable for society. Education is a next thing; I realize we need to build their capacity in terms of reeducating them, putting them back into the evening program, whatever we need to do to get them on that level so we don’t sell those empty promises. A lot of these young people don’t believe they have people out there looking out for them. In a lot of one on one conversation I have had, they really and truly don’t believe we are there as yet. But as I have told them as long as they buy into the end goal it is not something that is going to happen overnight, it is a two-year program.”


Paul Lopez

I don’t know if it was off to as good a start as we were hoping for. Let us talk about a bit of the breakdown recently and if that is reflective of the concerns some may have of the rigid, concentration camp type of approach to reform.


Kevin Cadle

Kevin Cadle, Director, D.Y.S.

“It is nonsense you heard, total nonsense. If you go in the Mountain Pine Ridge, before you reach Di Silva is a creek, a river that runs right through where we are which is the Di Silva Youth Mountain Challenge Program. What happened was that the personnel from CISCO along with our manager had dug an encashment  to catch the water but when they did it the water was a bit murky plus I think they had the pipes down too low and that is what created this murky water. But let me emphasize that we had ordered two thousand gallons of water which was placed in a vat and they had water pouches and bottled water. They never drunk that water or never used it for cooking.”

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