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Youth camp to expand drug treatment with grants

by Christy Chalmers

Drug treatment programs at the China Spring Youth Camp will soon be expanded thanks to a pair of state grants.

The camp recently received grants totaling $102,340 from the state Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Camp Director Steve Thaler said the money will pay for two counselors to help the 40 boys at the facility.

“It’s a big step for us,” said Thaler. “This is something we’ve been trying to do for years. It adds a nice component.”

Delinquent boys from around Nevada are currently sent to the youth camp nine miles southwest of Gardnerville, which focuses on teaching discipline and responsibility through a regimen of school, exercise and vocational training. Plans to add a facility for delinquent girls are being finalized.

The camp got a $25,000 grant in 2000 that was used for a full-time drug counselor, but Thaler didn’t know if the grant money would be renewed.

A $57,100 grant was awarded for 2001. In addition, a separate grant for $87,010 was awarded, to be shared by China Spring and the Western Nevada Regional Youth center, a drug treatment facility that opened in August in Silver Springs.

China Spring is using its share of the money – $45,240 – to pay for a second drug counselor. Thaler hopes to hire the new counselor by the end of January.

The money is disbursed annually by the federal government. The state decides how to allocate it, using a competitive system with an objective review team, said Maria Canfield, chief of the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

Canfield said the board considered 36 proposals containing 107 different requests for funding.

“We had about twice as many funding requests as we could supply,” she said.

Thaler estimated up to 90 percent of the boys at China Spring could benefit from treatment. Though the Western Nevada facility focuses on drug rehabilitation, Thaler said the programs won’t be competing.

“If a kid is too serious (an offender) to go to the Silver Springs facility, we’re able to deal with him,” said Thaler. “To be able to have treatment adds a lot.”