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Summit Achievement


Stow MaineSummit Achievement Review

Founded in 1996, Summit Achievement is located in the White Mountains region of Maine. It is a flexible-length, co-ed therapeutic boarding school with a built-in residential program that serves adolescent clients between the ages of 13 and 20 who are struggling with substance abuse, mental health and/or family problems.

The typical stay is 42-56 days, and in addition to their scholastic pursuits, residents receive support for mental health problems such as anxiety and depression as well as specific adoption-related issues. Clients requiring substance abuse treatment work with staff who use evidence-based methods like CBT as well as drug and alcohol education, recovery support, an introduction to AA/NA meetings and relapse prevention.

Accommodations and Food

Situated on a sprawling 54 acre property, the 5,500 square foot campus has central lodging, a dining space, a commercial kitchen, a recreation and event space as well as laundry facilities and counseling offices.

Clients are accommodated in shared four-bedroom cabins with common areas. Direct Care staff also sleep in each cabin. Typically, clients bunk two to a room, and each cabin is considered a “team,” helping residents develop camaraderie and peer support. All meals are included in the cost of stay, and teams rotate helping prepare and serve dinner, developing responsibility and life skills. The SA Academic Center is 3,500 square feet of classrooms, as well as clinical and medical space.

Treatment and Staff

SA clients are enrolled in one of two programs that combine therapeutic activities and school: Achievement and Traverse. The Achievement track includes wilderness expeditions for four days and three nights of the week. Academic classes are scheduled three days per week, Monday through Wednesday, for a total of 22 weekly hours. The Traverse track includes the same therapeutic and academic parameters, except class take place five days a week and also includes monthly off-campus experimental field trips.

Treatment is individualized and includes one weekly individual and one special group session run by a Master’s-level mental health professional, in addition to daily groups. Parents are to take part in no fewer than three in-person family sessions, along with weekly video or tele-conferences facilitated by a primary therapist. Home visits may also be advised. SA clients may transfer to Traverse after completing Achievement.

Teams are typically made of up to eight students who share a cabin, attend school and groups and go on expeditions together. There are both gender-specific and co-ed teams and they periodically meet up for supervised games and activities throughout the week. Each team has six dedicated direct care staff members (or “guides”) who work in shifts of three, each working one week on, one off.

Every evening, clients participate in guide-led group discussions about communal living, and give each other feedback. Staff includes Master’s-level therapists, CSWs, accredited teachers and a visiting physician who meets with students every Tuesday.


Depending on the season, residents participate in a range of extra-curricular activities and adventures. Excursions like backcountry hiking, rock and ice climbing, snowshoeing, canoeing and swimming are typical outings. Expeditions are conducted Thursday through Sunday. Additionally, there is a yearly alumni reunion, connecting former residents with newcomers, and creating a community of recovery and support.

In Summary

For over 20 years, Summit Achievement has provided a supportive academic environment for adolescents requiring substance abuse and mental health support. A well-structured treatment program that includes rigorous activities and evidence-based therapy helps young clients develop life skills and relationship building tools to help bolster self-esteem. A committed and credentialed staff supervise all activities, and accredited teachers ensure students don’t fall behind academically while they grow emotionally. The impressive New England campus borders New Hampshire, and is a good choice for those hoping to cultivate self-sufficiency and community while working through the obstacles young people face as they overcome addiction.

Summit Achievement Location

69 Deer Hill Rd
Stow, ME 04037

Summit Achievement Cost

$1,500-$2,500 (enrollment fee); $9,150-$15,500 (depending on track, 30 days). Reach Summit Achievement by phone at (207) 697-2020 or by email at Find Summit Achievement on Facebook, Twitter and Google+

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