Tele-therapy available, updates

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Upcoming Trainings

Kenny Turck Presenting: Creative Methods in Social and Emotional Learning Based in Neuroscience and Applied Theory at 125th Annual MSSA Conference at Minneapolis Hilton March 21st 1:45pm-3:15pm and at MACMH 2018 Monday, April 16th “The largest children’s mental health conference in the nation”, DECC, Duluth, MN 1:15pm-2:30pm

DIRT GROUP (2003), is a trauma-informed, children’s mental health application based in social and emotional learning in the context of a gardening/farming/food/creative arts project. Grounded and informed by 5 major theories and recent findings in neuroscience, DIRT GROUP provides participants an experientially rich context with which to learn, practice, and master important life skills related to social and emotional intelligence and neuroplasticity. DIRT GROUP provides tangible outcomes in increased competency, preparation for life, pride and ownership, the “BIG RIPPLE” effect (opportunities to participate and contribute in the community), and social inclusion (Turck, 2011) which serve to increase overall well-being.

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Harvest Retreat 2017

Italian Parmesan Buns sample for HBC2017

Italian Parmesan Bread

We’ve talked about it for years but yesterday we had our first annual CRFS Harvest Retreat, bringing together members from all three locations for a day of team building around neuroscience, food, experiential learning, symbolic interactionism, social learning, and strength-based theories which guide our work with youth and families.


Rosemary Officianlis 2017

Although not everyone could make it all of our locations were well represented and it made for a great day together. We spent some time sharing pieces of our individual and collective stories and together made and ate breakfast, lunch, and sweet stuff for dinner as we were all still stuffed! I was planning on making leg of lamb for dinner but the oven was occupied consistently with the 20 batches of bread we made from scratch! We also processed one of 7 kinds of Rosemary I grew this year. As we continue to develop we will have access to certified/licensed commercial/catering kitchens which will offer a continuation of our social skills training programs as we become licensed in Minnesota and trained in Safe-Serve Food Safety and become certified to prepare and sell food with the proceeds going to feed kids at group.

Recommended Resources in Neuroscience and Trauma*
(Some of the science congruent with DIRT GROUP)

DIRT GROUP is a trauma-informed children’s mental health application based in social and emotional learning in the context of a gardening and farming project. Grounded and informed by four major theories and recent findings in neuroscience research*, DIRT GROUP positively influences social and emotional learning in youth


Mindsight: Daniel Siegel, MD (2010)

Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: Daniel Siegel, MD (2012)

The Body Keeps the Score: Bessel van der Kolk, MD

Queensland Blue Squash

Thanks for visiting!!




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DIRT GROUP is in the metro!!!

Our gardens are producing food and increased social competencies!!!


This summer we expanded our services to include the Twin Cities metro location with our clinic in New Hope, MN and our DIRT GROUP gardens for 2017 in South Minneapolis near Abbott-Northwestern Hospital. We are so excited about the productivity we are experiencing and are SUPER THRILLED AND EXCITED with how DIRT GROUP is going in the Twin Cities as well as in our out-state locations.

In his 1970 book, Identity, Youth, and Crisis, Erik Erikson, one of the founding fathers of psychology discussed how social identity formation happens in adolescence but not outside one’s social context. The vast majority of youth CRFS serves are kids that don’t have a single friend they spend time with outside of school. With this limited social context, it makes it extra challenging for these youth to learn, practice, and master important life and social skills which often results in these youth experiencing many more risk factors resulting in significant behavioral/emotional impairments impacting their day to day functioning.

Crow River Family Services is and has been a MN DHS Certified CTSS (Children’s Therapeutic Services and Supports) Provider for over seven years. CRFS provides group skills training as a part of CTSS which only limited number of agencies provide. DIRT GROUP is a trauma-informed children’s mental health application based in social and emotional learning in the context of a gardening and farming project ( . DIRT GROUP is an award-winning, theory-based service which provides a therapeutic milieu/social context/marinade which supports participants in learning, practicing, and mastering important life and social skills, returning children to a normal developmental trajectory. DIRT GROUP provides tangible outcomes not only in the forms of fruits and vegetables but in increased social competencies by providing experiential opportunities to learn, practice, and master important skills which prepare participants for life. Participants have the opportunity to make a difference in their communities by growing food, increasing pride and ownership, and experience social inclusion (Turck, 2012). All of these outcomes act as protective factors which increase mental health and well-being.

Crow River Family Services, LLC has clinics in Hutchinson, Litchfield, and New Hope, Minnesota (metro location) including experiential group skills training sites in all three areas. Crow River Family Services, LLC mental health team has extensive experience in outpatient, community-based, hospital, school, residential treatment, restorative justice, academia, and the child protection fields. Our practitioners have won awards for their work from the National Association of Social Workers and the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health. CRFS practitioners are regular presenters at state level conferences on topics related to mental health as well.

Kenneth S. Turck, MSW, LICSW
President & Chief Creative Officer
Crow River Family Services, LLC

DIRT GROUP: Growing to Learn, Learning to Grow (All Rights Reserved)
Kenneth S. Turck, MSW, LICSW

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MACMH 2017

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Come see us at the LARGEST Children’s Mental Health Conference in the Nation – MACMH 2017!!

Come see us at the State of Minnesota’s Association of Children’s Mental Health Annual Conference in Duluth, MN April 23-25th!!

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Passion. Integrity. Truth.

I cannot adequately express my feelings after meeting with Princess & Darryl from Appetite for Change yesterday at the Breaking Bread Cafe in Minneapolis. I am moved by their passion, integrity, and truth of the work they are doing and humbled by their kindness, sincerity, and generosity. Please do yourself a favor and visit their Facebook page and website. Then make plans to experience the food at Breaking Bread Cafe at 1210 West Broadway Avenue in North Mpls. The real deal. Hooganaga

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My apologies for yesterday’s barrage of email notifications! For some reason, every time the blog auto-saved while I was writing and sent out notifications! UGH!! I’m very sorry this happened a the issue has been corrected! Thank you,

Kenny Turck MSW, LICSW
Chief Creative Officer/Co-Owner
Crow River Family Services, LLC

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Hard work, perseverance, and resiliency…


My grandpa Henry Turck used to say, “you gotta learn to forethink” or plan ahead. This meant you had to problem solve and make good decisions by thinking through things ahead of time rather than just “flying by the seat of your pants”. This skill came from hard work, failure, frustration, diligence, perseverance, learning from mistakes, and bouncing back.

I recently saw a Facebook post that was somewhat challenging of youth culture and focused on a sense of entitlement and a lack of the above mentioned skills as a generalization. Someone else remarked that there are many youth who do not fit this stereotype and challenged the author of the post to not throw all youth into this category. I understand both points of view and I seem them both as having validity.

Growing up today is filled with different challenges than we had growing up for sure but I’d like to offer a unique perspective about the above assertions. Since at least the mid 20th century we have made significant advancements in efficiency to make our lives “easier” and so we could spend less time “surviving” and more time “living”. The idea that efficiencies would allow us to spend more time with family and friends–because we could get our work done more quickly and that extra time could help us increase the quality of our relationship with others. As each generation passed, parents tried, with every good intention, to give their children a life/childhood that they hadn’t had and want to create opportunities so our kids would have a greater chance for success. In this process we removed obstacles, disappointment, barriers, failure, and frustration with the idea that we didn’t want our children to have to struggle like we did. As decades passed, the erosion began ever so slowly and continued to undermine important developmental protective factors such as social competencies including problem solving and good decision making skills which traditionally had been fostered through “hand on” or experiential learning–or learning by doing. Learning to connect the dots and navigate life successfully through this way of learning was replaced by machines that connected the dots for us so that we didn’t need to learn to problem solve and connect the dots on our own. These opportunities, although great efforts at efficiency, have limited the necessary varied brain stimuli we need as humans to successfully wire our brains. To effectively problem solve, make good decisions, accomplish necessary life tasks, persevere, deal with frustration, delay gratification, develop self-discipline, demonstrate resilience, become autonomous…we need different ingredients in our marinade.

We have done a great job of failing to provide important hands on learning opportunities in favor of another electronic medium rather than fostering learning through creativity and innovation. Learning how to learn, and learning how to think takes practice and lived experience in order to really master something. We’re not behind the rest of the world in math, science, and engineering because our kids aren’t smart…our kids aren’t interested in going into these fields of study because it’s hard work and nothing they’ve experienced in their lives to this point has demonstrated or appreciated the value of hard work. If I’ve never learned how to work hard, to persevere, to bounce back–how does one develop the neuro-pathways necessary to learn, practice, and master these necessary life, social, and work skills if they don’t ever have to do it? (Neuropathways develop in our brains from redundant activities or thought processes. Have you ever seen a dirt road with tire tracks where the vehicles pass and grass in the center? These tracks or “dirt road” form from repeated (redundant) driving over. This is how neuropathways develop in our brain as well and how we learn, practice, and master important life, social, and work skills–it is through repeated/redundant practice/thinking/behaviors/learning process).

Due to advancements in technologies many of our schools now utilized tablets of some sort (Chromebook, MacBook Air, etc.) for all assignments, homework, etc. Many classes which were “hands on” learning (experiential learning theory) have become more limited and seemingly not valued at the same level as those courses provided through electronic learning. Although I am a huge fan of technology and use it everyday–we are shorting our youth by limiting opportunities for experiential learning. We are wiring our kids to believe that anything we need we can get quickly and if it doesn’t come easy, fast, fun, or now–we place little value on it. The “American Dream” has been sold as, “you’ll never have to work another day in your life”, “everything will be easy, fast, fun, now!” Efficiency has been oversold and it’s this lie that has become an insidious grip eroding the most basic, foundational ingredients of competency that bring real satisfaction through diligence, perseverance, achievement, gratitude, and service. Our kids need to learn perseverance and resiliency and without having to practice either in hands on learning opportunities–they will never develop necessary neuropathways to develop emotional intelligence/self-discipline. If I never have to bounce back from something because everyone removes the disappointment, frustration, failure, and the need to demonstrate patience, and delay gratification–how then when struggles present themselves will I be able to navigate them successfully?

Kenneth S. Turck MSW, LICSW
Chief Creative Officer/Co-Owner
Crow River Family Services, LLC

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