**Blog post by Clinical Director Scott Dueker
What a whirlwind! One day I was working at BACA Prep, the next I was frantically trying to find a place to live in a town 3 hours away. Holy cow, what had I done?
In the beginning of March, I had just accepted the offer to be the clinical director at the BACA Hart location, that’s what. It meant big changes for me and my family. I would now be 3 hours away from everyone – my mom and sister, my kids, friends I had. But the opportunity was there. And it was the right one for me. So, here I am now; Settled in to my position and new surroundings up north.
But, let’s reflect a moment. Why did I do this to myself and family? (In my best Godfather voice) It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. During the interview process, I came up to the Elkhart location to see what it was all about and spent a whole day here with the staff and clients. I talked to Amy MacFarlane, the acting clinical director, about how things were going, what opportunities she saw, and other fun things. I talked to staff to get a feel for how strong was the morale here. I watched the clients. I looked at the building itself. And, as I was driving back to Fishers, I think I had made up my mind that Elkhart was filled with good possibilities. I also thought about what I had wanted out of life. (It’s a really long, boring drive from Indy to Elkhart, so you have plenty of time to think.)
I was just about to finish up my master’s degree in ABA and would be taking the BCBA exam in the fall. Obviously, I was going to continue in this field and felt that consulting was the path for me. But I also wanted the chance to be an advocate for the kids as well. All too often, that part is missed – getting out into the community and shouting to the masses that ABA is the right service for these kids. That’s where I felt I wanted to go and this position being offered would afford me the opportunity to do that. Giving tours to prospective clients, meeting with community people to discuss our services, forging relationships with local colleges, participating in expos and fairs. Throw in the consulting with the clients that I would also do as the director and it was a win-win.
Once I decided to accept this new challenge, my fiancé and I made two trips up here to secure some place to live. We looked at houses and apartments, trying to fit as many as we could into a single day because almost nobody is open or available on Sundays. Sometimes we took a look at the property and just kept on driving. It’s hard to tell about a place from the internet. On one occasion, we noticed something unusual even before we found the house on our agenda. Located on a nearby street was a huge mound of clothing. And by huge, I mean it was probably someone’s entire wardrobe. Just sitting in a pile on the curb. We decided we didn’t need to see the nearby house. We found the place we liked on our second trip up to the area. It was a house in South Bend. Once the lease was settled, we began packing. My fiancé did most of it for us, thankfully. I was still studying for class and needed to take time out for assignments and projects there. I never realized how much stuff we had. And I can say without reservation that I’m glad we had a moving company do the heavy lifting.
Everything was done in a month. I trained my replacement at BACA Prep, trained on my new job, packed up all my stuff, and moved three hours north. My first day in the new center was Staff Development Day. I had delegated responsibility for staff trainings to the consultants and would be introducing the updated Employee Handbook myself. Right off the bat, I was front and center with the staff. But it went well.
Fast forward to today. We’ve been up here for 3 months and things are going well. My fiancé and I are enjoying the life that the area has to offer. BACA Hart is humming right along. We have one new client since my arrival and several more potentially starting soon. Staff is great and working hard with the clients. Everyone seems to be having fun. We’ve been in the community at a few functions to raise awareness. I feel we are well on the way to fulfilling the potential that this area has to offer. And that is the biggest reason I came here. Thanks to everyone who made and continues to make this possible.