20 Sep The Coach Approach
When now-retired Circuit Court Judge Steve Caldemeyer approached his longtime friend and architect Bob Taylor with an idea to revolutionize the treatment of troubled children, the idea would quickly turn into reality. In 1989, the two friends began researching more progressive ways to house and treat the youth who had become wards of the state. Typically, children were sent to facilities outside of Delaware County which limited the family’s ability to effectively engage in treatment and reunify with their children. Judge Caldemeyer and Bob believed that the treatment setting for a child in need of services should replicate a good, stable home – something many of the children had never experienced. Bob enlisted a class of Ball State University architecture students to present plans for the first cottage. In 1992, two residential cottages were constructed and more were built the following year.
As the need for services expanded, so too would the YOC’s campus. Soon it would need a central services building to house areas for counseling, preparing meals, administrative offices, recreation and classrooms. Today, the 75 acre campus is home to over 180 children and is one of the largest youth residential treatment facilities in the state of Indiana.
Bob’s passion for the YOC’s mission led him to combine his love of the outdoors with the healing power of nature. Bob and a team of YOC staff led a group of three YOC teens on a nine-day trip to his primitive fishing property in Ontario, Canada. Under Bob’s guidance and instruction, the children learned how to cook, boat and even built their own sauna. He refers to his leadership style as the “coach approach.” He believes that by pushing kids to achieve their goals and always rewarding them, they’ll learn to stand on their own and become productive members of our community.
“I compare our lives to eagles,” Bob said. “They glide and soar by themselves a lot, but they’re members of a bigger something.”
Although this experience could not be duplicated today with the complexity of the youth being treated at the YOC, Bob’s experience was life changing for the youth and Bob.
“The trip to Canada was the most enriching thing I’ve done at the YOC,” Bob explained. “Above constructing the YOC.”
Bob’s commitment to the YOC’s mission continues today as an architect, advocate and donor.
“This place’s richness is that it’s sufficiently able to respond to change. It’s the most overtly positive serving entity that exists. It’s part of me.”