Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

"Skiing is a dance, and the mountain always leads."
  ~Author Unknown

Skiing and snowboarding season is upon us, with our first scheduled day to hit the slopes on Big Mountain in Whitefish being this Saturday, December 8th.  Last Saturday we all went to Big Mountain to purchase our ski passes and get all of our equipment together.  Now all we need is snow, snow, snow!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chrysalis Halloween 2012

The students and staff of the Chrysalis School once again enjoyed a fabulous Halloween party!  On Saturday, October 27th the girls were busy on campus preparing for the exciting event.  After weeks of excitement over what costumes would be worn, it was finally time to prepare for the party.   

Friday, October 26, 2012

Soccer Season 2012

Take your victories, whatever they may be, cherish them, use them, 
but don’t settle for them”
 ~Mia Hamm, US women’s soccer star

This October marked the end of the Chrysalis soccer season for 2012. Our soccer team was composed of 18 girls of  various ages and skill levels. Throughout the last few months, we have been practicing twice a week and competing against other teams on the weekends.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bugaboo Provincial Park, BC - August 2012 Hiking Trip

 "Everybody needs beauty ...
places to play in and pray in where nature may heal
and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike."
~John Muir

 In August, two of our Chrysalis staff and six of our amazing students traveled to the Bugaboo Provincial Park in British Columbia for a challenging weekend hike.  This is not a trip for the faint of heart, and our girls proved themselves up to the challenge!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tanzania 2012

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things 
you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. 
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. 
Catch the trade winds in your sails. 
Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

With that sentiment in mind, on June 26, 2012 a group of 14 Chrysalis students, Kenny Pannell and Mary Alexine, two of our staff members, a couple of former students and some family members set off on a life-changing trip to Tanzania, Africa.  Our trip itinerary included service work at Kaloleni School, a safari on the Serengeti, an expedition to Zanzibar, as well as two side excursions in London while we traveled.  A lot to pack into 16 short days!

Our first order of business was to spend five days at the Kaloleni School in Moshi.  Kaloleni School is in an area mainly supported by rice plantations.  Students are primarily from poor families, some are orphans unable to live with their parents because of the significant HIV/AIDS problem in the area.  Our work was to complete tasks that would provide the most benefit to the school and students at the time. The overwhelming joy and satisfaction we experienced doing this work is hard to describe and will be with us always.

Next we headed out for a camping safari in the Serengeti, Africa's most famous game reserve.  The name "Serengeti" is derived from the Maasai word "Serengit", meaning "endless plain".  The reserve is world-renowned for its predator population, and we were able to see many different animals, including elephants, lions, giraffes, water buffalo, and many others.  It was an amazing two days, full of breath-taking scenery and magnificent animals.

Ready for the next leg of our adventure, we boarded a plane for our flight to Zanzibar.  Zanzibar is a small island in the Indian Ocean.  It is stunningly beautiful, with white sand beaches, and crystal clear, warm seas.  We spent three days in Zanzibar, shopping, relaxing and taking in the beautiful scenery.

On July 12th we landed back in Kalispell, Montana.  Travel-weary and ready to be home, but satisfied, happy, and forever changed by the magnificent adventure we had just experienced. We can truly say, as Mark Twain so eloquently phrased it, that in twenty years we will not look back with regret on our time in Tanzania.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Global Finals Here We Come!

Two teams from Chrysalis School will represent the state of Montana at the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals 2012. Competing alongside 1,200 creative problem-solving teams from around the world, the eight Chrysalis students, two team managers, and one clinician will journey from Eureka, MT to Knoxville, TN on May 22 for a week of high-level challenges and camaraderie with other creative kids from more than 20 countries.

This year’s global finals provide the Champion teams, the highest titles earned at the state or country level, a range of optional and mandatory activities. All teams will compete by presenting their long-term skit and completing an Instant Challenge. Other intellectually demanding events are optional, such as Make Your Mark, an activity for the artistic commemoration of the week’s activities and the 3M Explore the Uncharted event in which teams “transport” needed supplies to new planets.
Interaction with other teams is facilitated through a number of planned events. Montana’s team members will have the chance to trade their state Dragon Kite pins for those from other states and countries. The Fiesta Improv will allow hands-on experience with products from vendors at the finals.
You can watch live online the opening and closing ceremonies at, the official website for Destination ImagiNation and this year’s global finals. Opening Ceremonies take place Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. EST. Closing Ceremonies takes place Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 7:30 p.m., EST.
To learn more about the Montana Destination ImagiNation program, visit:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chrysalis School Montana

Chrysalis School Montana began more than a decade ago as a small home-based therapeutic program in Eureka Montana.

Back in 1998, Chrysalis began with a class of eight teenage girls, founder and co-director Kenny Pannell said.

Pannell has a background in community mental health. Sensing a great need, he decided to start the school as an alternative to publicly funded therapeutic care.

"The impetus was to create a level of care that truly took care of kids in a more developed way," Pannell said.
Chrysalis School Eureka Montana continued to grow over time as more families took advantage of the therapeutic boarding school. After a couple of years, the program expanded to 10 girls, and over time Chrysalis has grown to a capacity of 36 girls ages 13-18.

Students at Chryalis face challenges such as different kinds of trauma, learning challenges, depression and/or anxiety, adoption issues, eating/body image issues or a sense of entitlement.

Staff at Chrysalis includes the co-directors, teachers, case managers, clinicians, house parents, program staff, adventure staff and business administrative staff. Each student undergoes an individualized program geared to help them progress academically, emotionally and socially at their own rate -- building their self-esteem while helping them learn to build healthy relationships.

Located just a handful of miles from the Canadian border, Chrysalis sits on 65 acres between Koocanusa Reservoir and Carpenter Lake. The therapeutic boarding school is provisionally licensed and registered with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry as a Private Alternative Adolescent Residential Program. Chrysalis is also accredited by the National Independent Private Schools Association.

A student's length of stay at Chrysalis Eureka Montana depends upon their individual needs (typically between 18 and 24 months). Most Chrysalis graduates adopt health lifestyles and go on to college.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mother Daughter Retreat

Chrysalis held its second annual Mother Daughter Retreat in West Glacier, Montana. Seventeen mothers and daughters of the Chrysalis family met at the historic Belton Chalet just outside the entrance of Glacier National Park for an extended weekend filled with quality time together, games, outdoor adventures, good food, laughter, growth, and memory making. 

The Belton Chalet is a beautiful old building filled with history from the early days of Glacier Park. The old-world feel of the building lent itself well to creating a cozy, familial atmosphere for the retreat guests. 

Activities of the weekend included get-to-know-you activities, large and small group sessions, free time to play games drink hot cocoa and read books together, morning yoga classes, day trips into the park to snowshoe and cross-country ski, family therapy sessions, and a celebratory closing dinner at the Belton's restaurant.

Retreat goers enjoyed seeing and experiencing the beauty of Glacier in the winter, learning about the history of the chalet, spending time with their daughters, and getting to know other families in the Chrysalis network.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chrysalis Teams Excel in Destination ImagiNation Regionals

Destination ImagiNation (DI) is a creative problem solving program that allows students in grades K-University to work on teams of five to seven people to solve both long term and short term challenges. DI promotes creative thinking and team work in students from more than 30 countries.

This past weekend, three DI teams from Chrysalis competed in the Montana NW Regional Competition to earn the chance to compete in state tournament slated for March 24 in Manhattan, Montana.
“Disciples of Murphy’s Law” competed in Challenge B: The Solar Stage. This team was required to research solar energy and create a skit and solar powered prototype, which is integrated into their long term skit. “Disciples” presented a skit about a group of children stranded at sea when their boat motor is broken and there is no wind to power their sails. Instead they rely on their creativity and intuition to use one of the children’s propeller beanies to capture the power of the sun and power their boat to get home in time for dinner.

“Blooper Troopers,” competed in Challenge C: Coming Attractions. This team was required to create a four-minute movie trailer featuring a special effect and sound track for their long term solution. “Troopers” presented their movie trailer featuring Mexican singers who visit America, only to be offered the chance to stay and become famous singers. Will the singers stay and pursue fame, or return to Mexico?

“Steel Wooly Mammoths,” competed in Challenge D: News to Me. This team was required to bring six current news articles and integrate one of them chosen randomly on the spot – with only a few minutes to work as team before performing. They were also required to integrate a problem they are only given one minute before they must present their long term solution. “Mammoths” provided a headline about the price of oil possibly impacting the price of gasoline, while the DI headline was about a boy marrying his dog to ward off tiger attacks. The one-minute problem was that they were in the back of a garbage truck. Turns out the price of oil was causing unrest so the government let tigers out to make quiet those protesting, so the boy married his dog, in order to be better protected from the tigers.

All teams who participate in the tournament also perform an Instant Challenge, which is a secret challenge until after Global Finals are held in May 2012. This is because all teams in the program for each challenge and at the same level are given the same Instant Challenge. Instant Challenges are three- to five-minute challenges that force teams to work together, think on their feet and solve a problem quickly.

All three Chrysalis teams scored well in both their Long Term and Instant Challenge. With some practice and tweaking of props, backdrops, and lines all three teams will all be ready to compete at state.

We’re so very proud of what our Chrysalis DI teams have accomplished. The months of hard work, researching, team building, and script writing have come to fruition. And they did everything all by themselves. No adults are allowed to help. Way to go, Chrysalis DI teams!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Instilling the Idea of Service

By Ken Kudick

On the afternoon of January 30, the fire siren rang out in the small town of Eureka. Someone had called 911 to report smoke coming out of the eaves of a house in town. Being a member of the volunteer fire department, I rushed to the scene and was part of the team that went in a put out the fire – just doing what we as a fire department do when we are needed.

It was later that I found out that the family in this house was in the process of moving out, and that they didn’t have much to begin with. There are three teenage daughters in this family and suddenly much of what they did have was damaged by the fire. 
Part of my job at Chrysalis is to lead Wednesday night service activities. During the year we visit residents at our local nursing home, help package food at the food pantry, do yard cleanup for elderly or disabled families, and much more. I found myself presented with a new opportunity to fill a need in our community. Over the next week several other staff members and I made announcements that encouraged students to look through their belongings and see if there was something they would be willing to donate to the family whose belongings were damaged in the fire. When I went through all the different items donated by both students and staff I ended with two pairs of boots, a bottle of shampoo, a large trash liner filled with clothes, and a suitcase full of clothes.

One of the things we hope to instill in the students at Chrysalis is a positive idea of service. This might be a new or foreign concept to some of the students, but it doesn’t take a long time in being here before they begin to see what they can accomplish, and the experience of helping those in need. Students who may have come with a negative attitude towards the idea of taking time to help someone else suddenly find themselves excited to be going to play bingo with residents at the nursing home, or writing letters to soldiers overseas, or raking up leaves and pine needles in an elderly couple's yard. As a staff it is very rewarding to see what and how much the students can accomplish for this community and the willingness that the students present as we go into another activity.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Joe, the newest resident of Lake House

Companion animals often capture the hearts of our students here at Chrysalis, as the girls adopt cats and dogs to keep them company during their stay in our campus residences.

After the loss of longtime Lake House feline resident Felix, a new  kitty has taken his place in the household. Joe was adopted from the  Eureka shelter and has stolen the hearts of both girls and staff with  his HUGE friendly, outgoing personality. He has joined Lola in the  house, and so far, they keep their distance. He's still not quite sure about his canine counterparts and stands wary but firm in their presence. So far, we've had no serious mishaps and Joe will soon be going  outdoors to explore his new surroundings.

Our Chrysalis campus includes three residences, a multi-use facility called the Chrysalis Center, a cabin, a school building and a clinical building. The Lake House residence stands adjacent to Carpenter Lake, where the girls play hockey or ice skate in the winter and kayak, canoe and swim in summertime.