History

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.

Since 1997, the Society has continued to work towards its vision of creating safe places for people of all nations to recover from the abuses in their lives. In 2005, the society opened Hope House situated in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. In the years that followed VisionQuest opened seven more Assisted Recovery houses, including one specifically for women, all south of the Fraser River from Surrey out to Abbotsford.
In 2013 VisionQuest developed a new Recovery Model when they opened a 60 bed facility ‘VQ The Creek’, located in the old Centre Creek corrections camp on Chilliwack River Road. This model involved all new male VQ clients spending three months Stage 1 recovery in a more isolated setting where they could focus on their recovery plans. In 2015 VisionQuest opened a second 60 bed facility in an unused corrections camp near Logan Lake, located 80 kms south west of Kamloops in the interior of British Columbia. Unfortunately legal and financial issues forced the closure of ‘VQ The Creek’ and most of the Stage 2 houses. Today (2019) VisionQuest operates the 60 bed Stage 1 facility ‘VQ The Lake’ along with Abbotsford’s Discovery House, a 10 bed men’s Stage 2 house and in Surrey, Harte House, a 10 bed women’s recovery facility for Stage 1 and 2 clients. VisionQuest carries a daily client load of 80 clients.
While maintaining its daily focus on the health and recovery of its clients, the Society continues to work towards its ultimate goal of making our successful program widely available to more fully meet the needs of the seemingly endless number of potential clients who still suffer.

Governance

The VisionQuest Recovery Society is a non-profit society incorporated under the terms of the Societies Act. It is also a registered charity recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency. The reporting requirements of those registrations are assiduously maintained and can be verified on the CRA website.

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.

Program Success

The sole measure that VisionQuest utilizes for success is continued abstinence. Not counting the approximately 25% of new clients who play the ‘get out of jail free card’, are not interested in recovery and leave in the first few weeks of their six month commitment  to the society, almost 40% of clients remain abstinent after 90 days. Fully 35% percent remain abstinent after one year. Given that the majority of the clientele of VisionQuest are primarily addicted to crack cocaine and crystal meth, these statistics represent a success rate approximately three times the current industry standard.

The Value of VisionQuest

“VISIONQUEST RECOVERY SOCIETY IS UNDERVALUED AND UNDERFUNDED!”
Given the opioid crisis that currently plagues Canada, having drug addicts find recovery, in abstinence based surroundings, is beyond any dollar value for many families. It has been the provincial government’s position that each of our clients ‘surviving on the street’ will require about $55,000 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 $30.90 per day, or $960 per month for each client receiving welfare assistance, for an annual savings of $44,200 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).

Another way of measuring the value of VisionQuest’s program is against the most usual alternative for its clients. The current cost of keeping an inmate in provincial custody is $240 per day. Given that 75% (45) of our clients are on some form of judicial release, VisionQuest saving the provincial treasury roughly $9,400 every day.
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.

Any comments or concerns can be directed to our Executive Director, John Davidson who can be reached via executivedir@visionquestsociety.org