Recreation, Vocation, and Service Opportunities


Recreation and Athletics

Forest Ridge recognizes that participation in athletic activities can fill an important role in the healing and growth process.  Organized sports activities increase personal qualities like leadership, a sense of achievement, self-esteem, worth ethic, self-discipline, trust, and teamwork.  Athletic activities also increase fitness and good health habits.  They allow participants to set both short- and long-term goals and then work to meet those goals with the support and help from others.  Many of the young women placed at Forest Ridge have not had the opportunity to participate in athletic activities due to poor school performance or attendance and a lack of necessary social support.

Recreation and Leisure Activities

The recreation programs at Forest Ridge have been developed to compliment and support our core program and service components. Pride in our school, improved self-esteem, sportsmanship, and being part of a team are all vital pieces of our program, and recreational activities help build these. Young women go to the Estherville Regional Wellness Center (RWC) regularly to participate in water aerobics, swimming, weight training, aerobics, indoor track, and team sports. Throughout the year, special events are held at Forest Ridge including Falcon outings, Cottage Olympics, Girl Scouts, and Girls Rock Weekend.  

Competitive Athletics

Forest Ridge is a member of the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Union and develops teams that compete in volleyball, basketball, and track with other high school teams. Forest Ridge generally competes at the JV or Freshman level in volleyball and basketball, but competes at the varsity level in track. For more information on our athletic department, contact Shawn Connelly, Assistant Executive Director and Athletic Director for Forest Ridge sports.  

Vocation and Service Opportunities

The World of Work vocational program at Forest Ridge offers young women the opportunity to participate in on-campus, supervised work projects to build responsibility, fulfill restitution and community service responsibilities, and earn money of their own. Community Service opportunities exist for youth to give back to the community through specific projects or regularly scheduled visits to organizations that work with individuals in need.  

World of Work and Restitution

To participate in World of Work, young women request the opportunity through their unit team, submit an application for current job opening, participate in an interview, and are selected from the available applicants. Students who are a high run risk or who have ongoing behavior problems will not be selected to participate in World of Work until they correct their concerning behavior.

The work generally includes janitorial or food service positions and are scheduled during specific periods in their school day. The money they earn is placed in a trust fund or forwarded as directed to meet restitution requirements, as agreed upon between Forest Ridge and the placing worker. The trust fund money can be accessed by the youth for personal use and the remaining balance is forwarded to the student 30 days following their discharge. Youth may be suspended from the World of Work program if they fail to meet job standards or violate the World of Work norms.  

Community Service

Community Service opportunities exist for youth who have court ordered obligations to fulfill, as well as those who simply desire to give back to the community. Service activities are generally held off-campus and are with organizations that serve youth or the elderly. This requires that participants are not a high run risk and have not been displaying disruptive or inappropriate behaviors.  

For youth with court ordered community service obligations, an agreement will be made between Forest Ridge and their placing worker regarding the documentation and submission of their community service hours.