The VisionQuest Recovery Society was incorporated in 1995. It first came to the attention of the public in 1997. In that year the VisionQuest Canoe Journey took place. This was a one thousand mile journey from Hazelton to Victoria, coinciding with the 1997 Tribal Journeys and the North American Aboriginal Games. The journey brought together people form many diverse backgrounds.
RCMP S/Sgt. Ed Hill and noted west coast artist Roy Henry Vickers had the vision of seeing the opening of a facility for the treatment and healing of addictive personalities. The two artists collaborated to paint a picture, and with the support of the RCMP behind them, the sale of limited prints would begin the fundraising. The sale of the limited edition prints of the picture they created, aptly named “Sheep Standing By Himself” was instantly successful and raised the first $100,000 for the Society.
Under the general guidance of the Board of Directors, the Executive Director and staff of the Society manage the day-to-day affairs of the program.
From 2000 to 2006, the Chair of the Board of Directors was the former Attorney-General of British Columbia, Mr. Richard Vogel. From 2006 until 2017 the chair was Earl Moulton, Assistant Commissioner, Ret’d, RCMP, and from 2017 the current chair is Gary Bass, Deputy Commissioner, Ret’d, RCMP.
The Value of VisionQuest
Given the opioid crisis that currently plagues Canada, having drug addicts find recovery is beyond any dollar value for many families. It has been the provincial government’s position that each of our clients will cost the justice and health care systems $199,000 in services per year while in active addiction. The RCMP have reported that each active addict creates approximately $350,000 in property crime annually. Meanwhile, the government pays $35.90 per day, or $1077 per month for each client receiving welfare assistance, for an annual savings of $186,000 in services and erasing the property crime impact of an individual’s addiction. (In other words, for each day a client is with VisionQuest, the government is saving $121.10 in services, and having a real and measurable impact on crime).
The savings quoted above do not reflect the added societal benefits of reduced crime, reduced insurance claims and reduced corrections costs. Nor do dollar figures exist to adequately represent the societal benefits in reduced family and dysfunction and the value added to the workforce. Ultimately, VisionQuest turns many of its clients from being chronic and expensive users of government services into tax paying citizens.
The Future for VisionQuest
For the past 15 years the VisionQuest tagline was “Crime Prevention through Rehabilitation” and we have enjoyed many successes, especially amongst Prolific Offenders. However VisionQuest has never enjoyed the general support of the Courts and other branches of the justice system, resulting in us having beds open. VisionQuest is creating new relationships with groups and organizations who have clients in need of Recovery. Immediate future plans include more counselling and client services at ‘VQ The Lake’. We currently enjoy an educational partnership with School District 73 (Kamloops) who are assisting clients complete courses required for them to received their Dogwood Certificates. We have also formed a new partnership with Thompson Rivers University (TRU) who will have an instructor who will attend the camp to provide two accredited courses aimed at clients’ reintegration back into society. Further counselling services, group and individual, are planned when funding for ‘VQ The Lake’ increases. More resources are to be provided for clients at both Harte House (women) and for the men at Discovery House.
The future, though not guaranteed, looks good for VisionQuest Recovery Society.