Addiction is a powerful thing. Substance abuse rehabilitation requires more than behavioral modification; it requires a heart change. Jesus is the one best qualified to change hearts, so He’s central to all we do at Clearfork.
The habits we develop as teens set the trajectory for the rest of our lives. We treat adolescents because we believe in a better future for them. By addressing faulty thinking now, we can literally change their minds before their brains are fully developed. If they’re impressionable enough to fall into addiction, they’re impressionable enough to recover.
The Difference Between a Calling and a Job
A job pays the bills; a calling is a life’s purpose. Helping adolescents overcome substance abuse is a calling for us. We love what we do and the teens with whom we work. We celebrate their victories and grieve their setbacks.
This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.
Jeremiah 6:16 NIV
How did we get our name?
The origin of our name comes from 3 unique identifiers.
Geographically: Eagle Mountain Lake is fed by three different regions, West Fork, Clear Fork, and The Trinity River. We are positioned on a Texas ranch backdrop on the Clear Fork region of the lake, thus the name Clearfork. In many of the stories in the Bible and other significant events throughout history, they are often memorialized by a place. We invested a lot of time, energy and other resources to create the prime location because we want to provide the most captivating atmosphere for our teens and our staff to conduct therapy. We wanted to give them an area to get out into nature and connect. Having 40+ acres overlooking Eagle Mountain Lake allows us the opportunity to provide this kind of environment.
Psychologically: When individuals are stuck in addiction or other mental funk, they cannot see a “clear fork” in the road. It can be difficult to see the path that leads to recovery or at the minimum a road that leads to change. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy suggests that there is always a “clear fork” for us and if we are willing, we can find that new direction. Often in the midst of all the chaos, our teens feel like they are on a tunneled road with no exit ramp. At Clearfork Academy we provide that “exit ramp” through our clinical excellence and treatment programming which ultimately brings us to a place that we can lead teens to a new legacy.
Theologically: This is the major factor that separates us from the pack. We are not just a treatment center with a small section devoted to Christianity. We are totally and fully devoted followers of Christ and we strive to represent that daily. However, this does not mean that we are just a glorified church camp incapable of clinical intervention. In fact, the opposite is true. We use the call from Jeremiah 6:16 as a guidepost to lead our teens to a new legacy. We stand, look, ask, walk, and rest with each of our clients and their families as well. This is The Clearfork Way.
Our Core Values
Honor, Unity, Sacrifice, Transparency, Legacy, Excellence, and Fun are the core values at Clearfork Academy. First and foremost, our core values really are not words that we just kind of came up with in a brainstorming session. They are quite literally posted on my refrigerator at home and they represent something that comes out of who we are and who we are developing into. These are the marks we aspire to each day. A lot of people do vision, marketing, and branding sessions to come up with core values and mission statements and purpose for their organizations. But these values really have come out of who I am personally and who we are as an organization.
We made banners and signs and placed them all over our campus to visually instill the beliefs in the entire community, clients and employees alike. We did not have them in any specific order and one of our teens said, “Hey, did you know the core values spell out H.U.S.T.L.E. and Fun.” It was a mind-blowing revelation that nearly knocked me off my feet. Those two things on their own – Hustle and Fun – are purely representative of my entire life. They resonated so clearly with me at that moment. I could remember preparing before a game in my high school years and the coach would call us over for a huddle. He would say, “There is no substitute for hard work.” That drive instilled in me then paved the pathway to the actions of H.U.S.T.L.E. and Fun in my own life.
HONOR – Our first core value is honor. We believe that if we cannot honor ourselves, honor God, and honor other people that we should not be doing what we are doing. It is really our goal to incorporate honor into every transaction. If I am making a decision, I have to run it through the vertical filter that I have with God. If it gives honor to Him and it checks off that way, then I can proceed. Furthermore, I need to assess how my actions align with my values and how I am honoring myself. This action of honoring effects every connection point that we are responsible for. From employee, client, or family member and beyond, we have an obligation to honor them. I need to ask, Am I honoring every relationship that I have been blessed to steward? This core value delivers huge significance in the way that we operate. It is the firm foundation on which all other values can be formed.
UNITY – The second core value is unity. I truly believe that no man is an island and that we have a common unity, that of grace and of addiction and empathy for our fellow human. We all face trials and tribulations and we use unity to collaborate, connect and engage our young men. This affords us, the staff, an opportunity to do fun things with our clients which allows to not feel disjointed from them. We can hold each other accountable and uphold that other core value honor. It not only protects us and keeps us right in the middle of the fight it gets us further than we could ever get on our own and that on its own is so important for anyone in recovery. Unity is all about the community you surround yourself with. Do you want four quarters or 100 pennies? I often tell our young men, “Show me your friends and I will show you your future.”
SACRIFICE – Our third core value is sacrifice. There is an obviously amazing example of sacrifice from God, our father, who sent his only begotten son so that we may have eternal life. Through that, we can perceive that sacrifice is doing much more than that of which you get compensation. It may not be my job to pick up trash, it might not be on my job description but when I see a full trashcan, I am going to take it out. This is a severely downplayed argument for sacrifice, but it starts small. If we can demonstrate sacrifice on a level that is understandable to our teens than that further inspires their personal growth. There may be a moment when they feel like it is out of their element to show encouragement and uplifting actions to a peer but sacrificing their self, their time, their emotions to help a distressed friend will always go further than they could imagine. It reveals to them what sacrifice can do for them mentally, physically, spiritually, and relationally. We find significant growth in our teens when they do something that is outside of themselves.
TRANSPARENCY – Transparency is our fourth one. It says, “I want you to know who I am.” It’s exactly why I have written this so that you can see my heart and hear my story. If I can be open with you and share my vision than perhaps you will be able to trust me with your kid. We never deliver any ‘got-yas.’ We say what we mean and mean what we say. We do assessments and treatment planning and sit down with the teens and let them know the direction we are going. They may not be able to articulate it fully, however, we lay it out for them and let them know where the big mile markers are. We also take this stance from a financial standpoint so that for the families there is also no ‘got-yas.’ We hold steadfast to this belief because without our word we are worth nothing. Once we communicate the expectations then we can manage them. In other words, what we say up front and what we do in the treatment programming is going to be concurrent to what happens at the end of treatment.
LEGACY – Our fifth and perhaps one of my favorite core values is legacy. If we did not settle on having them in this order, I would most assuredly put this one first. I want to leave a significant legacy for your kids and mine. I want them all to be able to look back on this and hear our story. I want my life to reflect good things, not just dollars and material things. I love the aspect of legacy that we can leave for our future generations. There is a Greek Proverb that says, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” The ripple effect of what is done here at Clearfork Academy, I know I may never ever have the ability to see, however, that does not change my capacity, my passion, and my calling to want myself and my team to lead your child to a new legacy. We have this tagline, ‘Leading teens to a #NewLegacy.’ It is so impactful and instrumental for us because we can show our teens the reality that today’s decisions will ultimately affect the very distant storyline that they may not get the benefit of seeing. Legacy encapsulates the whole journey here at Clearfork Academy because I think of it as we are affecting the future generation of this kid and the change in their life could be infectious. Our hope is that when the teen goes home, they are affecting change everywhere, that they will be a catalyst that propels their future generations into their own calling.
EXCELLENCE – Excellence is kind of one of those tawdry things that everybody puts up on the wall. But I don’t like shotty things. I like going the extra mile. If I can get something of great value a hundred miles away but they have an inferior product that looks the same across the street, I’m going a hundred miles away. That is all there is to it. I’m going to go get it because the excellence factor is much greater. We practice excellence in our treatment planning, treatment goals, in the way we dress and the way we communicate. We cannot operate without this value in mind. We must function beyond where the recommended bar is set. Our team exudes excellence in every aspect of the programming, and we expect that out of our teens as well. We do not allow them to discount themselves and we continue to remind them that there are greatness and excellence inside of them. They are unrelenting warriors that can move mountains and they can do it well.
FUN – Fun is our last core value but is certainly not the least. If we cannot have fun with what we do here we are going to burn out. All the hard work would be for a loss because we need to have the ability to just have fun with our teens and with ourselves. That is why we do a lot of stuff around the campus. Every opportunity we get we go outside and take our groups outdoors whether it is climbing a rock wall, mountain biking, kayaking, or even paintballing. Therapy can be overly exhausting and extremely taxing emotionally so we like to take some of that stress away by embodying the idea of fun. It is the atmosphere that we strive to maintain, and we carry over that belief throughout the campus. We have developed this culture of having fun while at the same time we are getting stuff done therapeutically. Overall, I just love when one of our team members comes up to me and says, “Man, I cannot believe that I get paid to do what I do. I love my job.” That for me is a win every time.
Our core values are H.U.S.T.L.E. and Fun. It’s not just something we put on the wall. We live by them. Even outside of this place we embody the belief system that is H.U.S.T.L.E. and Fun. From every individual that has a hand in this company, me all the way down to a contractor that works at our campus a couple of hours a year, every person exemplifies these standards. It has been engrained in us so that we can lead these teens to a new legacy.
What is The Clearfork Way?
Our process, or The Clearfork Way, takes Jeremiah 6:16 and breaks it down into action steps to lead our teens to a new legacy.
“STAND at the crossroads and LOOK; ASK for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and WALK in it, and you will find REST for your souls.”
– Jeremiah 6:16 NIV
STAND – Stand up, stand still, and stand out. The first phase in the Clearfork Academy model challenges our clients to stand still for just a moment to discover and assess what is really going on in their lives. It gives them a moment to just be present.
LOOK – The looking stage is the moment where the client begins to understand and assume a new perspective about their situation. Evaluating their lives by looking at their inventory is a key component to recovery and revival.
ASK – Asking for help and asking the hard questions can be obstacles for many, especially teens, but with help from our team our clients are able to confront the challenges in their lives by asking “Why?”
WALK – This next step is a pivotal one in the journey of recovery where we ask the client to walk it out. To walk out the steps that they have learned fearlessly knowing that they now have a community and support system to lift them up if they fall.
REST – Finally, the client must take time to rest, not on their laurels but rather getting off of the defensive and becoming proactive in recovery. This management phase is important for self-care. You are no good to anyone if you are not taking care of yourself.
The Clearfork Academy Promise
At Clearfork Academy We…
HONOR God first
Win by being in UNITY
SACRIFICE by doing more than our responsibility
Provide TRANSPARENCY as ethically as possible
Lead teens to a new LEGACY every day
Exemplify EXCELLENCE always
Have FUN as much as possible
We do it all through our core values H.U.S.T.L.E. and Fun that guide everything we do.
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