Lock-In Before Lock-Up: Youth Retreat

We highlight and present the following five basic concepts to the participants in our Lock-In Retreat:

  1.  AWARENESS – “Who am I? – My cultural identity.”

  2. ASSESSMENT – “What resources are available to me?”

  3. ACCEPTANCE – “I must be responsible for the direction and purpose of my life.”

  4. AIMS – “I must set goals and limits in my life.”

  5. ACTION – “I must set an agenda of steps to take to become a positive and productive member of my community.”

At the conclusion of the “Lock-In”, each individual makes a written commitment to stay free of drugs and gangs. In between retreats we have meetings with youth using interactive journaling (IJ).

Due to COVID-19 we are not having in house youth retreats, but we are meeting with youth virtually. If you are interested in participating please contact us.


We use the interactive journals as curriculum. There is research and more than 30 years’ experience behind the evidence-based practice of Interactive Journaling. Research supports the structured writing process and Journal design. Interactive Journaling (IJ) is included in SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.


Evidence-based Motivational Interviewing also plays a large role in IJ, acknowledging that youth and young adults are best suited to identify and achieve change when it comes from within them. As such, youth are led through verbal and written exercises during which they assess their current situation and determine how best to achieve change.


We use the "Courage To Change” and “Forward Thinking” Curriculum of the Interactive Journaling created by the Change Companies.


Interactive: Focuses on personal application

Structured: Directs participant to journal about specific topics. 

Experiential: Focuses on thoughts and feelings.

Motivates: The focus is on personal, attainable goals.

Guides: Offers “bite-sized” information with consistent application to the questions, “Where am I?, Where do I want to go? And how do I get there?”


Courage To Change Journals: 1.Getting Started, 2. Social Values, 3. Responsible Thinking, 4. Self-Control, 5. Peer Relationships, 6. Family Ties, 7. Substance Use, 8. Seeking Employment, 9. Recreation and Leisure.


Forward Thinking Journals: 1. What Got Me Here? 2. Individual Change Plan, 3. Victim Awareness, 4. Responsible Thinking, 5. Handling Difficult Feelings, 6. Relationships and Communication, 7. Reentry Planning.