A person sent this statement to a human rights organization in the United States named HEAL-online about her stay in a wilderness program in Utah. All rights to this story belongs to the Author, who is known by organization:
Everything in my statement is true. I give HEAL permission to use my statement. I went to aspen
achievement academy in 1991.
I read 2 of the survivors stories and that is exactly what happened to me while I was there. EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!! it makes me think they had to have been written by two of the kids I was there with. the people at aspen are insane. I was starved for the 1st 3 days. starved as punishment.
I was there in December and January. the clothes I was given did not fit me. the 'hiking boots" they gave me had totally bald soles from the 1st day I had them. I was not allowed to bathe in any way shape or form for 60 days. 8 pairs of underwear were doled out to over the 60 days when the "counselors" or whatever they were felt we needed clean ones. thank god I never got my period while I was there. I never once menstruated while in Utah, I always figured that I was so malnourished that there was no way I could have afforded to loose any blood. the adults that were there with us were horrendous.
Two them from the first group we had were getting married and I remember hearing them having sex at night. the woman gave me I knife when I told her I wanted to kill myself so I could get out of Utah. our "therapist" Robert was a joke. he enjoyed seeing ho w angry we would get.he would verbally abuse me to the point of hysteria every time, no matter how determined I would be to not freak out during "therapy", I almost pushed him off a cliff once and didn't give it a second thought.
There are a few people that I have to mention because if they would not have been there I can't even imagine how bad it would have been.
Levoy the teacher, was the nicest, kindest, sweetest teacher I could have asked for. he would bring us bananas and sneak them to us behind the "counselors" backs. he told us that the reason he worked for aspen was because he knew how they treated us and he wanted to be there to make it even a tiny bit better for us if he could. I love that man. I would call him a saint and our "counselors" demons.
Except for "Sept" his real name was mike but he told us it was sept, short for September, AND I still have no idea why. he actually showed us how adjust the backpacks that we got for about 2 weeks. they were given to us without sizing considerations and with no instructions on how to wear it properly so that our lower backs weren't getting the entire weight of the pack. he also stood up to the other "counselors" when they would want to punish us in some insane way for anything they felt like.
I remember having to walk around a hill for hours and hours in a circle. starting it during daylight and not being able to stop until the sun started coming up the next morn. I don't know how many times I collapsed from exhaustion and malnutrition. we drank water that came from streams with cow feces I n it. while we watched the "counselors" drink bottled water they brought from home. we ate raw sticks of butter, raw oatmeal, and raw potatoes while they ate the meat that they had taken away from us as punishment. the other girl there once tried to fight me and OUR punishment was having our wrists tied together every minute if every day and night fir 2 weeks while we were hiking, sleeping, going to the bathroom, climbing mountains everything. and there was also the hand cart, it is a huge wheelbarrow that takes at least 4 people to push. one on each wheel, manually turning the spokes with your raw un gloved hands.
And two behind the bar in front pushing it forward basically with our abdomens. me and the other girl had huge swollen bruises across our whole stomach region that we had to keep pushing against every day pushing the hand cart, the only time we ever slept in any kind of enclosure was when we pushing the hand cart. it was filled with a huge 3 room tent made of canvas with all the poles and stakes, all the "counselors" backpacks, tons of huge heavy iron skillets and the most food we ever saw out there. one of the guys punched the wheel of the handcart and broke his hand. he never got medical treatment. he had his poor broken shattered hand wrapped in dirty rags for weeks. if your wondering why he punched the wheel, it was because one of the "counselors" had tackled him and broke his glasses . they never got replaced and he has half blind for the last 3 weeks we were there.
We also were made to bathe before our parents saw as . the 2 guys and the 2 girls each had to share a cannibal pot of warmed water to wash off 59 days of filth. I spent Christmas in solitude
confinement eating raw potatoes and sticks of butter while everyone else ate the biggest meal we
were given. I had to join the group during dinner and watch h them eat their dinner while I ate
butter. this was my punishment for crying the day before, x mas eve, when I read the letters my
family sent me. I could go on and on. everything that I read from the other 2 stories is absolutely true!!!
Everything from being tackled in the middle of the night in your room and getting taken to
Utah, to the bullshit they told our parents when they were signing us up, and having to sign over custody of us to aspen achievement academy is also absolutely TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!
I vowed to someday go back there are save some kids from this. but even to this day, 13 years later I can not find where I was on a map,on google earth, anything.
I’ve driven through the north part of the state 4 times and I cry the whole way through. I don't stop for anything, and I pray the entire time that I don';t get captured and taken back to the high desert mountains of , I think, southern Utah, where we were considered devil children that were brought there to be tortured as punishment for being teenagers that were not mormons, I was 14 when I went there. smoked pot twice, had gotten drunk a handful of times and I didn't even know things like meth and herion existed until I learned all about them from the other kids there. I got out and couldn’t wait to do speed and acid.
I’m going to look on the internet right now and try to find out where I was in Utah, cuz after writing this I know I need to go there and save anyone I can from there, either that or sit outside their offices begging everyone that walks through t their doors ready to enroll their children to not do it.
I have never felt so hopeless, helpless and scared as I did for those 60 days of my life. I will do anything I can do to stop a parent from enrolling their child into aspen achievement academy. you just let me know and I’m there.
Aspen Achievement Academy continues to be in operation despite the fact that teenagers have lost their lives in this particular wilderness program.
The original statement
Datasheet over the program on the wiki database of Fornits