By Sandy Naiman
(NC)—For most kids, the prospect of “going back to school” triggers excitement, nervousness and angst, but for a small subset of adolescent boys, traditional schools don't work. Some have ADHD, ADD or ODD. Others struggle with diabetes or morbid obesity. Still, others flirt with substance abuse or the law.
Each boy's issues are unique, but solutions are never easy, according to Tina Ward who sent her son Maxwell to the Robert Land Academy (RLA) two years ago. “He has Type 1 Diabetes and wasn't controlling himself properly.”
“No parent ever feels happy about sending their child away, especially when he doesn't really feel he deserves it,” she adds.
Along with Max's consistently high blood sugar, “my marks were poor and I couldn't talk to my family,” he says. Everything began changing when he arrived at RLA, Canada's only military-style school near Welland, Ontario.
“In a matter of days, I started feeling healthier and better about myself. By showing me what's important, by giving me balanced meals every day, by the exercise we had to do, the Academy helped me a lot,” Max says.
RLA students “typify a particular temperament,” says founder and headmaster G. Scott Bowman (Maj. ret.), describing them as dominant, stubborn, intuitively bright, often lazy, with powerful and extreme personalities.
“They're gregarious, effusive and adventurous in spirit,” he says. Often at odds with conventional authority, they don't like change unless they author it. Yet, “as adolescents, they're typically manipulative and can be overtly oppositional or passive aggressive.”
Genuinely empathetic with his recruits, Bowman started his school in 1978 because he has the same temperament, but no such school existed for him, he explains. RLA was established for future generations of struggling, misunderstood boys, like himself, Max Ward and hundreds of others.
“Intellectual curiosity is a constant in these boys,” Bowman adds. “It causes teachers and parents grief.”
Ward's mother credits RLA's regimentation for the “marked change in her son's health.” He eats meals at exact times, counts carbs and engages in physical activities, “all great for diabetics,” she says. “He's more athletic, more sports-minded. His marks have improved, too.”
Now his odds of managing his health and diabetes are better than ever because he is physically fit and eats well.
“Max is accountable for himself. What else can you do as a parent? You can't be there 24 hours a day.”
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By Sandy Naiman
(NC)—Today morbid childhood obesity is an increasingly critical societal, cultural, medical and emotional health issue jeopardizing every sphere of a young person's life from his interpersonal relationships to his academic abilities.
Robert Land Academy (RLA) cadet Peter Smith (who requested a pseudonym) used to be a poster boy for morbid obesity.
Not any more.
After one year of rugged physical fitness, regimented eating, structured military-style living, and his schoolmates' and teachers' support, Smith has dropped 105 lbs. Last summer he weighed 360 lbs. Now, at 15 and a much healthier 252 lbs., he's added years to his life, and he's on roll.
“This summer I hope to lose more weight to get down to my 210 pound goal,” he says.
Smith didn't lose his weight at RLA by dieting.
At home, he'd raid the fridge whenever he wanted. “I used to think I ate pretty healthy. When I got sad, though, I'd eat a lot. Emotions controlled my eating,” he says. “Now, I eat three times a day. I like the food here. It tastes good. They don't give you too much or too little. You control your portioning. Make choices.”
RLA Chef Bruce Ness, an alumnus and classically trained professional chef is “a believer in home-style cooking, food that sticks to your ribs, feeds the mind, body and soul, that carries you for the day.”
Before attending RLA, Smith admits he couldn't handle school. “I had poor study habits. I couldn't do my homework, couldn't even read. Now, I sit down, read, study for exams and do all my courses properly.
“RLA taught me how to set goals, value my nutrition, work out properly.”
Last year, he couldn't run one lap “without getting out of breath. I couldn't do anything. Nobody liked me. Now, I can run five kilometres in 32.3 minutes and do 40 push-ups.”
Smith had set backs. After foot surgery, he was immobilized for two weeks until RLA Deputy Headmaster Colin Doig helped him back onto his feet. They started running together.
“It was hard, but he stayed at my pace, pushing and teaching me how to run properly. I thank Major Doig for everything I've accomplished this year. Without him I wouldn't have gotten anywhere.”
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By Sandy Naiman
(NC) - Paul Burrill's future looked grim in 2009. His grade nine marks were plummeting. He struggled in Burnaby, B.C.'s public school system. Needing redirection, his parents sent him to Robert Land Academy (RLA) near Welland, Ontario.
This June, Burrill at 17, was valedictorian at his 2012 graduation. Here's how his military-style education changed his life:
• Initially homesick, he made his classmates his family. “Now I consider every boy here a brother.”
• He learned quickly to achieve short-term goals, realizing his capabilities were “more than I was allowing myself to achieve.”
• Burrill's extracurricular activities “weren't exactly ideal, ” but at RLA, rock climbing, boxing, wrestling and jumping out of a plane were activities “that made life really worthwhile.”
• Teachers spent endless hours ensuring students fully comprehend course material, learning time management, productive study skills and university preparation. “They really care about our future.”
• Burrill boosted his averages from 55% to over 80%. He's enrolled in the University of British Columbia's Bachelor of Science degree program, then will pursue wildlife studies.
• Academics are central at RLA, but the school “develops the whole boy,” teaching social deportment, how to always look presentable. “We iron our clothes.”
• Students are prepared for the disciplines of the workforce. Wake-up time is 6 o'clock every morning.
• Respect for the students' superiors is crucial. They're mentored in leadership skills. “I feel confident I'll succeed in any situation in the future.”
• Staff and classmates are there to talk to and willing to listen, all the time.
• “I've achieved more and learned more valuable lessons here than any other education system in Canada could teach me,” Burrill says.
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A FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: Are tuition payments to Robert Land Academy tax deductible?
Find out the answer to this question when Robert Land Academy hosts a free online information webinar August 2nd at 10:30 am (EST) with financial planner and author Peter Merrick. [ REGISTER NOW FOR WEBINAR ]
If your son is under the age of 16 and/or is diagnosed with a disability (ADD, ADHD, ODD, Learning Disabled, or some other disability), you may qualify for tax relief for tuition payments paid to Robert Land Academy under Canada’s:
- Medical Expense Tax Credit
- Disability Tax Credit
- Child Care Expense Deduction, or
- Through the creation of a Health & Welfare Trust (for business owners)
Attend this one hour webinar to find out more.
ABOUT THE PRESENTER: Peter Merrick is a Certified Financial Planner and financial author who has authored two business textbooks and has over 400 published articles to his credit. His articles, writings and interviews have appeared in such magazines and periodicals as The Wall Street Journal, McLeans, The Globe and Mail, and Profit Magazine to name a few. He is also a regular business and financial television commentator on the CTV Network, CBC’s The National, CBC’s News World and BNN. Peter is a graduate of Robert Land Academy (1984) and the President of Merrick Wealth Management [ www.merrickwealth.com ]. He has helped a number of families from Robert Land Academy save thousands of dollars through tuition costs paid.
HOW TO ATTEND: Attend this webinar from anywhere in the world. All you require is a computer with internet access and a speaker. You may also choose to access audio using your telephone once you are logged on to the webinar through the internet.
Once you complete the online registration process you will receive an email with a link and login instructions.
SEPTEMBER 2012 ENROLMENT: Robert Land Academy is presently accepting applications for the 2012 fall enrolment. For further information, call 905-386-6203 or Contact RLA