Doing good quality work…

IMG_0985What is the purpose of group skills training? “To learn, practice, and master–then transfer skills we are learning to places in our everyday life” (DIRT GROUP participant).

This past weekend and today my co-workers and I instructed, discussed, and reviewed DIRT GROUP participant’s target skill areas. These included: Doing good quality work, staying on task, completing tasks, cooperating with others, participating in activities, dealing with frustration, displaying appropriate control, resisting peer pressure, hygiene, using an appropriate voice tone, choosing appropriate words to say, accepting “no” for an answer, following instructions (the first time asked), listening to other with “eyes and ears”, starting conversations/talking with others, delaying gratification, among others.

DIRT GROUP is an experiential (hands on) social skills training group which positively influences social skills development in at-risk youth. DIRT GROUP practitioners instruct and review target skill areas with participants and create a “marinade” or a “therapeutic milieu” which fosters success in DIRT GROUP participants ability to learn, practice, and master skills they are lacking which help to return them to a normal developmental trajectory. IMG_0991

This past weekend DIRT GROUP experiential exercises included making chicken fajitas (chicken, peppers, and red, yellow, orange, green peppers, garlic, and even some sausage! The many ingredients helped youth understand that just like there are many ingredients for successful social skill development the same is true for making great fajitas!


Goliath & King Sampson



Goliath & King Sampson,  my two Jersey Giant mature roosters.
Use the Google and search Jersey Giant Chickens…I have nearly 50 Jersey Giant hens, 25 Production Red hens. I have 3 adolescent Jersey Giants roosters (hatched this past summer) among the hens, the hens were hatched in May of 2013, June 2014, and July 2014.


DIRT GROUP is an experiential social skills training group based in the context of a gardening / farming project for at-risk youth. DIRT GROUP was created by Kenny Turck whose family has been on the same farm since 1875 when his great grandfather Jacob threw an axe into the woods to decide where to homestead.  Kenny is a Social Worker and in 2010 received the NASW (MN) Paul & Sheila Wellstone Social Justice Award for his work on food security issues wirh at-risk youth through DIRT GROUP. Kenny has been working in the human services field for 30 years and is the founder, CEO, and Co-Owner of Crow River Family Services, LLC (CRFS) based in Litchfield, Minnesota. CRFS provides outpatient and community-based mental health services.

DIRT GROUP is informed by and grounded in 4 major theories: Symbolic Interactionism, Experiential Learning, Social Learning,  and Strength – based theories. DIRT GROUP provides tangible results,  skills that prepare participants for life, pride and ownership,  community contributions/investment & participation (“Big Ripple Effect”), and social inclusion–fostering resiliency, competence/mastery, achievement, mindfulness,  and emotional and behavioral self-regulation.

Implications for practice include alternative education opportunities in the form of academic credits in science, writing, technology,  FACS, social studies, economics, etc., community-based mental health/social/life skills training, early childhood development (brain development), juvenile and adult corrections, economic development (“What the Cluck Food Truck”,
“4 Bubbas Foods”, “Jersey Sausage & Kraut”, and more!!!)

Recent and upcoming trainings/workshops:
November 5th: Litchfield High School,  Adolescent Mental Health, Bullying,  & Inclusion
November 19th: Litchfield High School,  Mental Health Careers
December 12th: Keynote at Central Minnesota School Counselors Winter Conference (joined by Cynthia Packer) Trauma, Resiliency,  & Inclusion;  Breakout Session, DIRT GROUP,  Implications for Practice: Achievement, Inclusion, Competence, and Contribution




What a GREAT turnout! ! !

WOW!!! I am humbled and nearly speechless (ok, I know that’s hard to believe : ) but what an ABSOLUTE AMAZING group of folks attending my workshop at the Minnesota Association for School Age Children Conference–and filled to the gills! ! Thank you for your wonderful reception, attention, energy, and response! ! Your students are lucky to have you! ! ! I am humbled.

Inclusion & Education! !


Heading into presentation on DIRT GROUP, social inclusion,  and implications for practice in educational settings including academic credits for Alternative Learning Programs! ! !
Minnesota Association for School Age Children Super Saturday Conference
@ Calvary Lutheran Church Golden Valley,  MN

HO HO HO ! ! ! !


Just picked up boughs for wreath making with DIRT GROUP participants!  We will be providing experiential group skills training for targeted skill areas of following instructions,  cooperation, doing good quality work, . on task, completing tasks, perseverance, listening to others, displaying appropriate control, demonstrating appreciation, accepting ‘no’ for an answer, dealing with frustration, interrupting appropriately, etc! WITH TANGIBLE RESULTS! ! !

"Growing to Learn…Learning to Grow"