How to Make the Level System Work!

Find incentives the boys want to do, by asking them. 

Cottage Manager:

“Is there something you want to work towards that will motivate you to be on level?”


“Yes! I want there to be an Xbox inside the recreational room. I see there are games, but we have no way of playing them.”

Cottage Manager:

“If you were on level A I will buy you an Xbox, but if you get off level you know you won’t be able to use it!”

Or asking the residents…

Cottage Manager:

“What are some places you want to go to for your outing?”

Some of the residents just want to walk around the mall with their friends without any staff. 

Cottage managers:

“So let’s see if you can be on level “L” for 4 weeks and we can work out a community pass!”

Ask the residents what events they want to do in the summer and actually keep their end of the bargain, by scheduling that outing on the events calendar. Seeing all their outings, the ones they wanted to do in the first place, will motivate the residents to be on track with their program. Because they know this Saturday, I want to go to Knott’s Berry Farm. So I know what I have to do to earn as many points as possible to go.

What does this require the cottage manager to do:  

  • Have the per diem staff prescheduled? 
  • Have the per diems fill up the vehicles with gas.
  • Request the to-go lunches in advance 
  • And managers hold your end of the promise! 
  • Trust staff with the outing money by distributing it in advance. 

Also, let’s not forget about the MPR and Rec rooms! Ask the kids: 

Cottage managers:

“What type of video games do you like to play? How about board games? Do you enjoy watching movies? How about TV shows? Maybe a Hulu and Netflix account is in order. Do you enjoy reading? If so, what types of books do you read? (science fiction, horror, documentaries, or comics) Do you like to do crafts? If so, what kind? (Painting, coloring, drawing). I want you guys to be motivated to follow your program, so now that I know these are some of the things you enjoy, I will be purchasing them to be placed inside the MPR and Rec rooms!”

Managers would not only motivate the resident toward success, but they would also help treatment counselors to have actual consequences that can reinforce their redirects. Empowering both residents and staff to feel there is a clear-focused objective. Rewards that can motivate the residents and consequences that can motivate the staff to redirect and persuade the residents to follow! This is how we make the level system work. It would encourage teenagers to follow their program and help them develop habits, that could be beneficial to their future. Isn’t that the point of a treatment center’s program? I will let you decide.