Dear Northwoods staff
We just wanted to say thank you all very much for everything. It’s wonderful to have our old son back. We know there’s going to be ups & downs but we’re excited to see our son put his plan into action.

He has:

  • Filled out applications
  • Working with us on his budget
  • Addressed his plan with friends and staying away from the wrong friends

He’s been very open with our family too and excited to share his goals. We can’t say thank you enough for everything. Especially to Rory & Devin. You will always be a part of us, Northwoods is an amazing experience and it’s everything we hoped for. Thank you.

~The Sullivan’s

Dear Devin & Rory:
Thank you for an eye-opening experience.
Thank you for your kindness and patience.
What you do truly makes a difference and one may only gain an accurate appreciation through in-person observation. It is difficult to quantify and qualify all of the meaningful aspects of our time together, let alone the potential we see in our son's future. Yours is a noble pursuit. You are changing the world one person at a time in a manner that is unconventional but steeped in the tradition to which you subscribe.
Now it is up to our son and us to build on the reset that you have made possible. You are remarkable men and I feel compelled to tell you that we are forever in your debt.


"Northwoods does a very good job of providing a friendly, yet productive environment in which personal attention is afforded to each student to work on himself. For me, Northwoods was exactly what I needed when I needed it, as it provided a relaxing environment in which I could work on myself and develop strategies to deal with my issues without the pressures of the outside world. What makes Northwoods unique is that there is always a Masters level clinician available to talk 24/7 for if and when a student needs advice or counseling. The program also did an extremely good job of providing lots of activities and exciting Wilderness trips to go on so that we were not stuck at the house all of the time. All of the staff at Northwoods have tried and true methods of helping students cope with whatever problems they have and proven to help students live more stable and happier lives in the long-term future. I am incredibly grateful for the support and help I received while at Northwoods Ranch and Retreat."

 ~Henry M


To Rory, Devin, and Melissa: 

"We are so grateful to all of you for working your special magic and helping our son develop his strengths and confidence during his time at Northwoods.  Your unique blend of outdoor activities, teamwork, farm work, house chores, responsibility to self and others, as well as group and private therapy sessions, have made a huge difference in how he sees himself and his potential.  

Your programmatic approach is rare because of the low client to staff ratio that allows for a deep familiarity and understanding to develop between the staff and the participants. The small size also makes it less intimidating for young men who may already be feeling a bit out of sorts with the world. There are too few programs out there for young adults who don’t fit easily into any traditional mold and can so easily make impulsive decisions that put them on a self-destructive path.  Additionally, as his parents, while he knew he was loved, our relationship didn’t allow him to listen to, and to process internally, the candid, constructive and therapeutic conversations your program specializes in.  Furthermore, helping him set goals and then successfully achieve them has given him confidence in his own abilities. Finally, the “icing on the cake” was your willingness to customize a transition program for him to continue his growth in independence and maturity under your stewardship. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you deeply. We will be your fans forever!” 

~C & R, Maryland

“Rory wasn't so biased and unfriendly as some professionals get, he counseled me by showing what a friend could be. Rory always talked to me as a human being causing me to see my inner soul without focusing on illness labels. He did and does his job well, treating people with respect and showing them their inner strength. There were times when he would simply talk about what I wanted to talk about, seemingly casting aside whatever agenda he might have had. Truth being however, he had an agenda, and he kept it, and it was to help me.”  

~Andrew V.

“I felt like I could talk to Rory about things. His attitude towards things was to tell it how it was, not sugar coating it. The confidence he had made me gain my confidence in a way. When we did running cadence that was a team effort, if a student fell back Rory would circle around and pump up that student and we would get back in sync. The way he handled conflict most of the time was with great reason and care. Rory was realistic with me, didn't BS, and was there and still is there for me when I need to talk to someone other than my family to get an outside perspective. There was a point where he stopped being my counselor and became my friend and that was when I moved into my own apartment.” 

~Brent K.

“I feel Rory was one of the people who helped me the most. He helped me overcome a lot of my fears. He was there to talk to and encourage me every step of the way. He told me to call him even after I left to keep me on my present path so I don't slip back. I can't thank him enough for helping me. He made such a difference in my life. If I had never met him I never would have wanted to sleep in a tent. I am a much better person today because of Rory.” 

~Chris N.

“Rory has a special way of working with people that helps them realize for themselves how to achieve the goals they set. Rory is considerate, honest and punctual. His positive attitude, professionalism and open-mindedness are just some of the things I have personally taken from him. He exudes a thirst for knowledge, and it’s contagious. If he doesn’t have the solution, he makes sure he finds one. Ever since I’ve had the pleasure of working with him he has been an example for me. He is a natural leader and people are drawn to follow him. Most things I’ve taken from him aren’t said but done. He is a man of action. Rory K. McLaughlin is an exemplary person, and I am better because of it.” 

~Dan P.