Circle of Courage

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The Circle of Courage Philosophy

Circle Of Courage _THUMBFirst described in the book Reclaimng Youth at Risk by Larry Brendtro, Martin Brokenleg, and Steve Van Bockern, the Circle of Courage is a model of care that creates a "reclaiming environment."

The model integrates Aboriginal philosophies of child-rearing, the heritage of early pioneers in education and youth work, and contemporary resilience research. The central theme of this model is that a set of shared values must exist in any community to create environments that ultimately benefit all. Although initially developed as a model of positive youth empowerment, the creators realized that it had implications for all individuals in care.

Catholic Social Services discovered the "Circle of Courage" when researching ways in which the Agency could improve its Aboriginal Resources programs. After consultation with Dr. Martin Brokenleg regarding the philosophy of the "Circle of Courage" and its potential to transform our Agency into a reclaiming environment for both clients and staff, this model was adopted.

The Circle of Courage is based on four universal growth needs of all individuals:

  • Belonging speaks to the need to be part of a group; to be accepted.
  • Mastery encompasses the desire to expand capabilities and capacities, feeling pride in that accomplishment.
  • Independence is about the individual learning true discipline and personal responsibility while developing the strength to become interdependent.
  • Generosity is the ultimate result - strong people have the capacity for altruistic behaviour.