the Circle of Courage Model
Early research on peer influence by the University of Michigan and Strength-Based Services International identified the core growth needs of Attachment, Achievement, Autonomy, and Altruism. These brain-based needs undergird a wide range of youth development programs including the Circle of Courage resilience model and the Cal Farley’s Model of Leadership and Service. In psychological terms, these are the vital signs of positive youth development. If these needs are unmet, children show a host of emotional, behavioral, and learning problems. This discussion highlights evidence-based essentials for building strengths in all children and youth, including those in conflict in home, school, and community. The call for evidence-based practice began in medicine and has spread to all education and human service fields. As methods and models compete for the evidence-based seal of approval, complexity, confusion, and contradiction abound. As documented in Deep Brain Learning: Evidence-Based Principles for Education, Treatment, and Youth Development (Brendtro & Mitchell, ©2015 Starr Commonwealth), the scientific principle of consilience can be used to identify powerful simple truths. Specifically, this entails combining research from natural science (particularly recent brain research), social sciences, practice expertise, and core humanistic values. The term “deep brain learning” refers to instilling enduring changes that transform lives.
Larry Brendtro served on the clinical faculty of the University of Michigan Fresh Air Camp and established graduate programs in the area of children’s emotional and behavioral disorders at the University of Illinois, The Ohio State University, and Augustana University (Sioux Falls, South Dakota). Augustana colleagues Larry Brendtro, Martin Brokenleg, and Steve Van Bockern developed the Circle of Courage model which has been widely circulated through the publication of the best-selling book, Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future (published by Solution Tree, ©1990 and 2002). This work has inspired numerous books that have expanded the theory, research, and practice base of the Circle of Courage model. These include Reclaiming Our Prodigal Sons and Daughters (Scott Larson & Larry Brendtro, 2000); Kids who Outwit Adults (John Seita & Larry Brendtro, 2002); Troubled Children and Youth (Larry Brendtro & Mary Shahbazian, 2004); No Disposable Kids (Larry Brendtro & Arlin Ness, 2005); The Resilience Revolution (Larry Brendtro & Scott Larson, 2006). In 2015, Larry Brendtro and Martin Mitchell collaborated with thirty colleagues in the Reclaiming Youth movement to produce Deep Brain Learning: Evidence-Based Essentials in Education, Treatment, and Youth Development (©2015 Starr Commonwealth).
To disseminate the Circle of Courage model, Augustana University professors, Larry Brendtro, Martin Brokenleg, and Steve Van Bockern founded the non-profit organization, Reclaiming Youth International. In 1992, Nicholas Long of the LSCI Institute and Larry Brendtro established the journal Reclaiming Children and Youth which was published for over 20 years. Subsequently, Brendtro, Brokenleg, and Van Bockern established the annual Black Hills Seminars (Rapid City, South Dakota) and the Vancouver Island Seminars (Victoria, British Columbia). In 2005, Larry Brendtro and Lesley du Toit of South Africa developed the training program Response Ability Pathways (RAP) which put the Circle of Courage into practice. Trainers in Response Ability Pathways (RAP) now operate internationally.