I have also been through Redcliff, graduated in december '03 was there 90 days. They were filming some brits or whatever and I remember that one kid from Brooklyn that was in our group (aah shit it wasnt bullfrogs it was lions something like) left and joined the filmed group. It did help me considerably, I was a whinely little bitch and needed a good slap of reality. It helped me with depression but say 4 months afterwards i feel into a more anti-social 'conduct disorder' routine, and 6 months after I was arrested and am still on probation for my crimes.
I respect RCA more than juvies/psych hospitals/residentials blah blah and any other institution I have been to since they didnt just try to shove fucking pills down my throat and attempt to diagnose me with ODD or this and that. It was an emotional experience to say the least.
I was taken from Horsham Clinic (behavioral health hospital in PA) and escorted by a pig and my mother to the airport and flew into vegas. From there I meet the intake people, a chick and a man both huge and tall, mouthed off to them a bit and was driven to Utah. I got to base round 1:30 Am and then preceded with intake. After I was stripped and given those 'battle tested' fatigues, I was blindfolded and was off to the wilderness. 3 hours latter I arrived at my camp Bullfrogs and became acutely aware how damn heavy those packs are and that I was seriously in the middle of nowhere--contrary to what I was told and assumed, that it was some haughty taughty cliche "lets go camping and learn about nature!" Bullshit.
After pissing and moaning about hiking in my first letter i wrote home, I got depressed. Even to my dismay I couldnt make fire. I continued this little ruitine of mine for nearly two months till I got my first fire, rushed through all my phases, got named "White Falcon" and graduated. We had to take a shower, but at grad camp they just built it and it had no heat--i remember it was colder than just using a pot and soap, but I really didnt care. Cold meant shit to me then, after 'gut-bomb', 3 peak, fires, my hair freezing (always wash your body first then your hair kiddies), blisters etc. I was just happy i was going home. They make you run like a mile down to your parents, and that first month home is really the most thankful. I remember i had trouble trying to explain my experience to kids in my school and they all backed away from me cause I was 'bad'. So eventually I gave in started to chill with punk/skin crews more and eventually got myself into some run-ins with the law.
I meet some interesting people that I did seriously like to meet again Mike "Red Badger" or that hobo chick Ericka.
Abuse was there if you cared to notice (staff dismissing the group to another area to piss off on some kid, degrading remarks, instigating etc) but most of the time 'consequences' involved carrying rocks if you swear, having a looooong day of hiking, camp drills/pack drills, no peanut butter, cheese or meat rations (replaced by the nastiest greenish brown shit ever) and the 'cart'. My group got the cart just "to see if we can handle it". All in all though it did just depend on the staff and thier mood.
Getting sick is just horrible. They dont give you conventional medicine but make you drink sage tea which id imagine tastes exactly like shit laced with pesticide i remember I could hardly get it down and vomited but they insisted to drink up because of how sick I was (and for two weeks after I was discharged I still was taking medicine for it). It was the worse I have ever been I was freezing cold couldnt eat coughing up green phlegm, couldnt walk 100 yards without huffing and puffing and all I would do was stare off drooling by the campfire haha I spilt my honey and when someone finally noticed it was all gone and I didnt even care which to an RCA kid is fucking extreme. When we hiked (only 6 miles or so) I barely made it and got about a dozen or so faint spells where honestly I had no clue what the hell was going on. Fortunatly I graduated that weekend right befor the 15 miler we were going to pull off (dont know how I wouldve fared with being sick and all)
RCA doesnt change shit let alone profoundly, it just grows you some hair on your chest and leaves your suburbanite mommies and daddies 30 grand poorer (and for a poor family like mine, well lets just say your going to be eating lots of canned patatoes and ramen)
RCA dont work. Nuff said.
The original testimony (Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora)