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A Stout leader
State vet at helm of facility for boys
Stout Director 6 es
Gary Stout gives a tour of the Bald Ridge Lodge. - photo by Emily Saunders
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For more information or to make a donation to the Bald Ridge Lodge, call Gary Stout at (770) 887-1220.
Gary Stout is a man leading boys to what he hopes will be a successful future.

In July, Stout came on board as the new executive director of the Bald Ridge Lodge.

The nonprofit facility opened July 2008 to temporarily house “at-risk” boys ages 12 to 17.

Stout replaced Amanda Prior, who is currently serving as the lodge’s director of operations. He said they work together as a team.

“We’re a stabilization and assessment center for boys ... placed here by the juvenile court through [the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services] and there’s also kids that are placed here by the court that do not come through DFCS,” he said.

Stout is familiar with the state agency. He worked about five years for the Forsyth County branch of DFCS as the child placement supervisor.

He said the lodge also takes in boys who are suspended from school or have been truant and offers them tutoring throughout the day.

He said plans are developed for each child that comes to the lodge and are followed accordingly.

The boys who stay at the lodge go to school during the day. Stout said one, who is 17, has his GED but works at a local store.

“Rather than having him sitting around all day long and doing nothing, he was able to get a job,” Stout said. “He likes to work.”

He said the teenager has told him he wants to come back to the lodge as an employee when he turns 21.

“He’s a really good kid,” Stout said.

The lodge offers counseling as well as tutoring and life skills to its residents.

Stout said the boys have to do their own laundry and share different chores such as washing dishes and cleaning.

Those who like to cook are allowed to do so under supervision.

“We just try to basically make sure they get skills here,” he said. “Any behavior problems they have we try to deal with those and we try to find different ways that we can correct what their behaviors are and make it more positive.”

Parents are also involved in the facility’s efforts.

Stout said parents have visitation on Friday afternoons when they're taught improved parenting skills.

“It’s good because the child is actually here and the parent can work with the child,” he said. “Also on Sundays when there’s visitation, we allow the parents to come eat with the kids. That’s a family setting and we teach them manners and things like that.”

But it’s not all work and no play. Stout said the facility tries to take advantage of community resources. Boys have gone to the rodeo, Atlanta Braves baseball games and recently held a car wash.

Stout said boys stay at the lodge anywhere from 24 hours to 90 days. The lodge is capable of housing 12 boys. Currently there are seven.

Stout said a weekly report on each boy is sent to Forsyth County Juvenile Court Judge Russell Jackson.

“The judge determines at that point whether they’ve met the goals he thinks they should meet and then be discharged,” he said. “I think that’s a real good thing.”