søndag den 16. december 2012

David at Second Nature Wilderness program

Hello all, my parents sent me away when I was 15 for what I now believe to be a valid reason. I went to second nature utah for 8 weeks, and then to Caron, a 12 step based, 30 day RTC. Immediately fallowing Caron, I was sent to an all boys ranch in Tombstone, AZ called In Balance Ranch Academy, a long term work ranch which is centered around A.A. The stay at In Balance is a minimum of 10 months with the average stay around 16 months. I graduated from In Balance a day short of one year. I was away 15 months overall, I am now 17, I have been out of treatment for 8 months, and I am not sober.

Upon reading this information you may disregard what I write as biased, or you could decide that reading this is a waste of time. What do I know?, you may be right in either case. Since I am not sober, you may even regard me as a failure. You may stop reading, or you might continue reading my story, searching my treatment process for flaws, so that you wont make the same mistakes in treating your own children. I cannot blame you, for I have just listed my own preconceived notions about you readers; and I believe that your intentions are right, for you would be doing what you believe to be in your child’s best interest. However, I share this information so that you can at least trust my message as being an accurate perspective of a kid who has graduated from the kind of programs you are considering for your child, or that your child is currently attending.

I write this to those of you who have a child in wilderness or any sort of residential treatment, and to any parents considering sending their son or daughter away. You will never understand what it is like to get sent away, just as I (unless put in your position) will never know the pain of a parent witnessing their child destroying themselves with drugs.

I have listened to many parents reminisce over the wonderful times they spent with their child, before he/she started do drugs. Any of you, who are imagining this past relationship resuming or becoming a reality once your son or daughter has completed treatment, are due for an eye-opener. I cannot say whether treatment will be positive, negative, or “effective” for your child, but I will tell you that your child will never be the same, and your relationship with your son or daughter will never return to what it once was. I have not seen it from your perspective, but I would also imagine that a parent would never be the same after sending their child away, no matter what their motivation.

For better or for worse there will be change, especially in your child, but also in your family; and do believe that such a decision effects all family members, particularly the innocent sibling (for me my younger sister). There is only so much a parent can do for their child, and once you pull the plug, there is no going back. All I ask is that before you make any decisions, realize what a humungous step sending a child away is, and only proceed if you honestly believe that residential treatment is your only chance, and that such a huge chance is worth taking since life for you, your family, and especially for your child COULD NOT get any worse. If you truly believe this to be the case, do what you believe is right and do not allow yourself to be bullied by your child. If you do decide on treatment, do not at the absence of your child, allow yourself to be bullied by therapists, program owners, and ed consultants. Your child will attempt to manipulate and argue that they do not need treatment regardless of their condition, just like therapists and most other “professionals” will always argue that your child needs further treatment. Almost all parents will receive a letter from their child during their stay in wilderness which either describes their horrible conditions, appealing to pity, or pleading for forgiveness, or both. I wrote one, I’m sure many of you have received this same letter. Do not think they are lying or exaggerating for there is no need to, but their intent is clear. Either way the child is begging to return home. Other than this letter, which is edited and monitored by therapists there, parents have no contact with their children, and therapists provide all parents with the same basic updates, and statistics about further treatment options. These people may know more about addiction or treatment, but there is no one who knows more about about a child than his or her parent. Do not be swayed, make the choice that you believe to be right. Statistics can be manipulated to support any side, allow for some time to observe your child’s change in behavior, at home or after wilderness. Leave time to see how much progress your child makes. The threat of being sent away is often motivation enough, and don’t make the decision for long term treatment to quickly, a lot can be accomplished during 8 weeks in the woods.

I’ve heard some parents say that their child’s situation at home was one of “life and death”. This was not the case for me, however my parents gave me plenty of forewarning before sending me away and I ignored them. I know that my parents believed that what they were doing was making a sacrifice for my well being. I do not know if it all ended up being for my well being, but I know they were acting in what they believed to be my best interest, so I do not blame them. For a long time I hated them, and I thought that I would always hate them for it. Many of my good friends from treatment, sober or otherwise, still hold onto that resentment.

I will not go into the details of my drug use, or the many stories from my time away from home. Getting sent away was horrible, treatment in general was the worst thing I have ever experienced, but today I am a successful college student, I have a good relationship with my family, and I have many friends that I can trust. I do not know if I would be better off without having gone through treatment. My time away was awful and depressing, but I did a lot of things I never would have done, and met a lot of great people, many of whom (students and select sane staff members) I am still in contact with. I was completely sober for 15 months (i.e. no nicotine, alcohol, drugs, girls ect.), and I “relapsed” the night after graduating In Balance on alcohol and pot. (I put quotes around relapsed because I had no intention on staying sober after getting out so I wouldn’t really consider it relapsing). My parents are aware of my use, and during my time in treatment they were committed to me staying completely sober after graduating. Since then we have been through a lot and they have been very understanding. Today they judge my well being on how I am doing in general (school, work, life), and not on my drug use.

I have to admit that I am using as much, if not more frequently than I was before treatment, but I am certainly managing my life much better than I did before treatment. Treatment didn’t teach me the skills necessary to accomplish these things, I had them all along, its just that after going through it all, I realize that my life is pretty good, and to keep it that way I need to take care of my responsibilities. Sometimes I feel detached and disconnected from kids who haven’t been through the things that I have. I feel much more mature now, and less naive, but also much less innocent, and often times unhappy. I do not know if treatment was for better or worse, but either way I do not regret it in the least. Nor do I regret my drug use, each has made me who I am today, and I am happy with who I am today.— for those of you who simply scrolled to the end of this long explanation the main point of it is; do not send your child away unless you have exhausted every other possibility, unless you are willing to risk permanently losing your relationship with your child. you should only exercise this option if you believe that it is the only possibility you have to save your son or daughters life.


søndag den 11. november 2012

Stacey at SUWS

This story was originally written on the message board called the Fornits Home for Wayward Webfora. All rights goes to the original author known as Stacey

Hi, my name is stacey and im 15 years old. I am a SUWS Idaho survivor.

I was sent there in October of 2001 and graduated three weeks later on October 31. A day later I arrived at Mount Bachelor Academy in Oregon.

I had an ok experience with suws. It is a very unique program. The first night you arrive you are placed in a group with about 7-9 other kids boys and girls and two instructors are assigned to each group.

On the first week you cannot talk to anyone in your group not even the instructors unless you are spoken to. you are given assignments to put up traps,make a bow drill set and other outdoorish things. Each group is assgined to a "Field Supervisor" who is the one person in contact with the parents or guardians of every kid in the group.

On the second week this person come and visits the group at whatever site they happen to be at that day. he has a one hour session with each kid individually. On the first night of the second week we get moved up into "family phase" where you are allowed to talk to your peers and actually get to sit by the fire to eat your dinner with everyone else as opposed to sitting by yourself in the cold eating near your sleeping bag. The menu consists of oatmeal with no flavoring for breakfast, one slice of pita bread with peanut butter on it for lunch and rice and lentils for dinner. If every bite is not eaten you receive a consequence like staying in the desert for an extra week.

At the end of the first week we all went on solo, which is where we go out into a huge field and all get assigned to a tent which is very secluded from the tents of the other kids. for three days straight you stay in your tent and dont leave it unless it is to use the bathroom the instructors will bring you yuor food without speaking to you and if you have your 3 traps set up you get rewarded with a loaf of bread ( which is heaven, when you havent seen anything edible for 2 weeks)The third week you become the search and rescue team of the desert and are supposedly officialy "on call". We do cpr training and other emergency training.

About two days before we are supposed to leave we get a call on the radio saying that there are two runaways from another group and we have to k=hike out into the desert to find them when we do there is one girl laying on the floor complaing of a hurt skull we do everything we are trained to do and then at the end we are told that it is a simulation and we did very well. Every single person from my suws group went on to a emotional growth boarding school including me.

What made the program so hard was probably the conditions in which we were living and the fact that we had no contact with our family except for 2 letters at the most. We hiked about 3-7 miles a day which was extremely difficult when your carrying a 70 lbs pack on your back and only weigh 100 lbs.It didnt help that the instructors were hostile and uncaring and most of the kids are completely depressed and sinical about everything. For the most part i would say it was a good experience for me and it was definetly a rude awakening but i wouldnt wish it upon my worst enemy and would die before having to repeat it myself.

In memorandum:
Gregory Owen Jones and Rocco Magliozzi who never made it home from SUWS but died during their stay at this wilderness program.


lørdag den 20. oktober 2012

New film-project: Incident(s) At Paradise Bay

We have learned about a film-project related to the topics in this blog.

Where do the teenagers being transported end up and how are they treated?

In the film-project some of these questions will be answered.

You can support the film-project with your money. Today we see the result of the 90's tough reform schools and 3-strike politics. The tragedies have affected many families.

Any additional information which can inform the world about what took place will properly prevent similar tragedies in countries slowly adapting the methods used in the United States because they only see the marketing which was aired back. There is very little information offered about all those teenagers who lost their lives during their stay or took their lives because they found themselves too emotional damaged due to their experiences during their stay.

For more information you can consult the homepage of the film-project.

Link: Incident(s) At Paradise Bay

tirsdag den 11. september 2012

GONE 14 MONTHS. home. 2yr aniv.

This statement was given on a Myspace blog. All rights belong to the original author.

I never blog.
I figured that today was a day worth it. Well today.. as in the date. June 23rd. Except for the fact that it was two years ago... and it was a Thursday. But a one time a year, June 23rd none the less.

Sunday, December 31, 2006
..> ..>
my story. and thanks to 2006<3

If you have been wondering about where I was for the fifteen months I "dissapeared" and you have the patience.. read on.

Thanks to friends etc on the bottom.

I don't really know where to begin or where to end this. Considering I was in an all girls level three lockdown boarding school at this time last year, I guess I have a combined of 2005 and 2006. Things were hard. I was in an amazing relationship when I first left home in June of 2005. I had been with him for a while and I guess I would consider him my first love. Combined with my lack of motivation and ambition when it came to things I had always loved such as sports and spending time with my family, as well as dropping out of highschool, I was going down hill fast and my parents knew they had to do something to help me.

So I had been staying with my friends family, considering the circumstances of my home life, and my parents one day asked me to return home. I had been there for two weeks and then my family decided we were going to go to Arizona for vacation. Everything was cool, I packed, stayed up all night (considering we were leaving at 5am) and waited for my boyfriend to come say goodbye to me before he rushed off to work bright and early. It's crazy how you can seem to remember such vivid details on the days you would rather forget. I remember what I was wearing. A white wife beater with red gym shorts, no makeup on, drinking a capri sun sport. (The yellow kind) I had been downloading music all morning talking to Kyle Scaletta til 5am on the computer. I wrote my boyfriend a cute letter to give to him. So my boyfriend came over. He didn't want to kiss me in front of my parents while they were packing the car, his attempt at being a gentleman, so I begged my dad to let him kiss me. He agreed. He was wearing a white shirt with old white pants his dc hat and older shoes... such vivid details.

As I got in the backseat of our suburban and we pulled out of the driveway, I watched him walk to his car. For some reason I remember listening to seven years (saosin) and just crying as I watched him get into it. I didn't realize at the time why, but I soon understood why.

I guess, because of staying up all night, the exhaustion had caught up with me. I fell asleep quickly. I remember getting up out of the car to eat something at Burger King. Then we got back into the car and I fell asleep again. We were supposed to taking a trip to Arizona, but later I found out that not only had I been sleeping while we passed the Arizona Utah border, but I had also been sleeping long enough for my parents to set the time back on our car clock so nothing seemed fishy about driving so long on just an Arizona trip.

We arrived in some hick town. I saw the gas station and I had to use the restroom badly. We had parked in some sort of parking lot, abandoned looking, but not quite, and I darted across the street. My dad looked at me and went and grabbed me and told me to use the restroom in the building they were going in. He grabbed me with fear in his eyes. I should have realized it right then. My parents told me they were just going to grab some brochures, and I asked the lady at the front desk if I could use their restroom. As she grabbed my arm (I began to grow weary) and brought me into the backroom. She handed me a small cup and told me to pee in it.

She pushed me into the restroom. I looked all around the restroom trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I paced back and forth. The door had no lock and the side door on this old house which was now a business building, had been boarded up. I looked at a large sign on the side of the wall which read "Aspen Achievement Academy." I threw the cup inside the bag and tossed it on the ground.

As the lady ran into the restroom to make sure it didn't come out, I darted for the door. It was locked, outside in. It was one of those classroom doors with the small rectangular window on the upper right side. I saw her face, pale. She was balling and I was screaming. I had no idea what the fuck was going on and I didn't have any desire to stick around and find out. My sister and brother were sitting in the car, and my entire book of poetry was in there as well. I just wanted to say goodbye to my fucking sister. That's all I wanted! I was kicking screaming balling. Anything I could do. I had no idea where I was and I just wanted to say goodbye. My friends had no idea where I was. My boyfriend had no idea where I was. I just wanted to say goodbye to him. That's all I wanted. (Here I go crying again...)

After a few minutes my eyes were so swollen I could barely see out of them. The lady took my blood (my biggest fear) missing the first two times. I looked back out the window on the door and saw the empty window no longer filled with my parents faces. I felt so alone. After that they took me out the the back room where I met up with a girl who had arrived just a few minutes after me. There they had us strip down. Squat and cough. The whole deal. They dealt us out our 10 granny pannies that we had to make deal with for the entire time we spent there. We had to take out all of our piercings. They gave us long johns, one thermol, three plain blue t's (the aspen uniform) green wool pants, cacky cargo pants, converse and hiking boots.

They took us out onto the field. Here is the confusing part to follow along. So the facts. We were in hicktown Utah, and they drove us in an old beaten up truck for two hours out into the wilderness of Utah. They dropped us off there.

Two/three staff which change every wednesday, and on average 8-10 girls per group. 4 levels. mouse, coyote, buffalo, and eagle. Mouse is the transition level when you arrive out on the field (there phrase for when you are pushed against your will into the wilderness of Utah) on average it takes two days to move up to coyote, which is when you can eat real food, and talk to the other girls in your group. Until then you are just a bystander, silently watching the other girls. It took me five days. I was stubborn. You only have to be on level two (coyote) to graduate, and each level that you move up to has more priveledges, but more requirements as well. I made it to coyote. And I spent the lot of my 8 weeks at Aspen Achievement Academy on coyote.

It isn't easy. On average hiking 5-6 miles a day. This isn't your treadmill 5-6 miles. This is your up moutains, puffing your inhaler every 10 minutes 5-6 miles.

Sleeping outside every night, under a tarp, with only your sleeping bag to keep you warm. You only slept as good as you attached your tarp to the tree. If it was raining and it flew off, you either tuffed it out or got out in the freezing cold to fix it. You had to bust a fire with sage on sage, or you ate cold. (which usually consisted of oatmeal no sugar=] )

Thursday is graduation day, which means the girls that were going to graduate soon left on Thursday, they met up with all the other graduates from the other twelve groups out on the field (no the girl groups never saw the guy groups, let alone any other group) then on sunday the parents would come out and stay til graduation on Tuesday, where the kids reunited with their parents and showed them everything they had learned while they had been out on the field.

I was there for almost eight weeks, but the time it takes you to graduate just depends on the progress you make. My therapist at AAA, I hated with a passion. My parents were hoping that I would learn my lesson during my eight weeks, and regain my ambition for life, and I could return home. My Therapist convinced them that "I was like wet cement and needed to set" so my parents made the decision to send me to a boarding school named Copper Canyon Academy, in Rimrock, Arizona. I was first convinced this program was a 3-6 month program, but later came to find out that most girls who graduated, did so in about 14-16 months. This hit me like a bullet.

I was in highschool. Missing my entire sophmore year, and it was probable i would be there through junior year as well? fresh summer, soph year, soph summer, and junior year? I just couldn't comprehend, or understand, what I had done to bring my life to this. I knew I had made mistakes, and I realized a lot of my wrong doing during my stay at Aspen, but still. 16 months? Wow.

When I first came to CCA. They had one house for highschool girls (about 35) and a junior high campus on the other side of town. (much smaller) They were building two new houses on a huge lot of land they had about 500 feet from the house we were currently living in, and they were planning on making the two new houses for the highschool girls, selling the house on the other side of town, and moving the junior high girls into the one we were currently living in. There were four levels, just like the other program, but much different. We had strict uniforms, pants no more than an inch under your belly button, cacky or blue bottoms, pleated skirts only. no shorter than two inches above your knee. Level ones wore red shirts, level two wore blue, three wore maroon, and four wore green. These shirts were all shirts that had been previously used by other girls at the school. You had seven shirts, and had to do your laundry once a week. You could also be on probation which meant you still wore the color of the level you were on, but had the priveledges of the level before. There was staff buddy, which wore a green highlighter shirt, and had to be two feet from staff at all time. You usually got this as a result of self mutilation, or attempting to run. (You are probably wondering why I didn't try? No one ever got away. The school had private detectives.) Even Mexico couldn't save you.

There was also the "silence vest" you know those bright orange things that crossing guards wear? If you were caught gossipping you had to wear this silence vest for twenty four hours. This meant no looking at ANY OTHER PERSON at the school in the eyes, unless they were an adult and you were simply asking them for direction. Crazy huh...

You could not only go on probation for your level, but also get dropped. Every Tuesday we voted for whether or not people should move up to the next level, but people could also get dropped if they had shown through with one of their old non-working behaviors (manipulation, stealing, lying, cheating etc.) I never got dropped, but I spent close to four months on level one due to my lack of motivation. I kept my head on strong once I reached level two and kept working my entire time there. Because of financial issues (the eight grand a month started to wear on my parents) they decided to pull me from the program a month early of graduation. I needed to start a new school, because I would not be allowed to return to Rancho High School, and they wanted me to spend a month at home before school, as well as go see my grand parents in Oregon. I left CCA on July 29,2006. I came home August 1, 2006, after spending some time with my family in Arizona.

Although I didn't go into depth on the emotional issues and problems I encountered during my stay at AAA and CCA, it was extremely intense. All of this is a soft spot for me and I usually don't like to go into much detail with people, because it's tougher for me to relive it all then many of you could fathom. Now I'm at home, and although I have relapsed on a few of the things that had me down before all of this, I have quickly picked myself back up. I am doing extremely well in every facet of my life, and am simply enjoying it!

Source: GONE 14 MONTHS. home. 2yr aniv. (Myspace blog)

søndag den 12. august 2012

Q & A about Missanabie Woods Academy

Missanabie Woods Academy was a wilderness camp and not exactly a mainstream wilderness program where the minors only live in tents and hike. However elements of the treatment the staff inflicted on the minors were the same as in any other wilderness program. Here is an interview with one of boys who were there for many years ago.

  • Your name, first and last.
    Brian Fey
  • To which institutions were you sent?
    Missanabie Woods Academy
  • How old were you?
  • Date you entered The Program/ Date you left.
    1980; I was only there in the summer.
  • What was the highest level you attained?
    I don't recall such levels. We had ranks. Perhaps they had not started using these levels, or I was there too short a time for it to matter. I did advance in rank and usually had second rank in my squad. Everything was handled by rank; things such as what food you got to eat... when there was a bread roll there you had to ask: “Would any one before me (higher rank) like this roll?” And starting with the squad leader going on down the line people would have the option to eat it. If they didn't want it you could have it.
  • Please describe the circumstances that got you sent to The Program, i.e. trouble with law, issues with parents, problems at school, etc.
    No problems at all. I was a pretty innocent little guy. Grew up in a loving environment.

    The trip was to be to a survival camp in Ontario and was a reward from my parents to me for good schoolwork. I had a lot of wilderness experience. The brochure was total misrepresentation of that the place was about. After I arrived it was obviously not what was advertised and my parents called to get me out. Most of the students there seemed to have been sent my the courts.

    Oddly, I chose to stay. And I did try to use the place for my benefit regardless of its messed up nature. I had been kinda of wuss and the experience did make me tougher, though I think it damaged me emotionally as well. I didn't mind the hard work as I was used to that. If I recall right, I got runner up for student of the year. My name should be on a plaque somewhere. The other students thought I was wacked for choosing to stay.
  • Which house were you in?
    Squad 3. We had a bunkhouse over near to the canoe docks. The other two squads shared a bunkhouse I believe. My impression was that Squad three was for sort of smart guys. Squads 1 and 2 were divided by wusses, and tough guys. I was happy I was not placed in the wuss squad. There were girls in a camp across the inlet, but I had no contact with them though we went over once to put out a fire in their camp.
  • Please describe instances of abuse you experienced while in the program, if any.
    Program director Bud Teare is the only person in my life to assault me. (Except a drugged out dude on the street once and a girlfriend who hit me once.) Our bunkhouse was not clean so they lined us up and each of us was hit on the face. I think it was the side of the face. I fell down and didn't want to get up because I didn't want to get up again. They told me to get up so I did because I was afraid they would kick me. They had kicked another student (Kent) in the stomach when he was already lying on the ground earlier. I wrote how I thought that was wrong in my journal. They read the journal and then Bud and a tall guy with a beard whose name I forgot came to correct my thinking and show my why they need to use these techniques.

    I never agreed with them inside but I didn't argue anymore and certainly wasn't going to be honest in “my” journal.

    I got punished for some little things like I asked if the water for post-meal cleanup had arrived... I had just walked past it without noticing it so I had to go walk off the dock. Certainly walking off the dock is no big deal; just kinda cold. I was kinda a spaced out person and still am. It is just how I am by nature.

    I do not appreciate being assaulted.

    There are many other examples of their violence and ineptitude. It is all pretty classic brainwashing techniques being used by less than skilled people.

    James Leach(?) was a sadistic man there. I recall that right after my 48 hour survival solo he demanded that I take my axe test. My whole body was weak and I said I didn't wish to be he was in charge and made me. I did poorly of course not having eaten, except for a few plants, for a couple days. He really enjoyed watching me fail. I had no lack of skill with an axe as I grew up cutting wood and trees.

    There was also a sadistic assistant squad leader from another squad but luckily I only had contact with him when were were out on some multi-squad hike. It is the same kind of sadism encouraged in fraternities when they haze pledges. One generation of abuse breeds another.

    Other students had a far worse time that me because I was cooperative and did not fight the program. “Fronting” is the term used, I believe. Some students apprently had experience with “Mr. Black” a rubber strap they were hit with. I have no personal knowledge of that though. I just cooperated and worked hard while knowing these people were seriously damaged. It took one guy three days to convince them that he has broken his leg on the ropes course. They should have better medical training. Eventually they took him out and got his leg set and put in a cast. He was kinda a whiner so maybe that makes it understandable.
  • Describe abuse of other students you witnessed, if any.
    They had kicked another student (Kent) in the stomach when he was already lying on the ground. I got the impression that my squad was generally less trouble than the others. I did not see many cases of actual physical abuse and it is harder to tell what mental abuse is. Certainly some kids do need some tough experiences to get them in tune with civilized behavior. The program directors could use some help in that area as well.
  • Do you have any good memories of The Program? What are they?
    We jumped off some cliffs into the lake. That was fun and scary.

    I liked the competitions and did very well in them. Memory is fuzzy on this... but I recall first place in Orienteering and Survival Solo. Second in a canoe race. I don't remember the rest.

    There were some nice people there as well. An older guy who taught me how to build things a little. I think his name was Garret. I wish I could have spent more time with him. I assume he has since died. He was a real Christian.

    My squad leader was named Brad I think. He was ok.

    I kinda wonder what happened to the other guys in squad 3. They were odd people. I never got to know them too well though. we were not supposed to talk about personal things. I was only 14 and not very socially skilled either.

    The work was hard. We carried heavy logs that cut the skin off our shoulders. And I was on the saw squad working long hours trying to break out records for making boards out of logs. That was pretty fun in a painful kind of way.
  • What is your overall impression of The Program - did it “help you”?
    It helped me be less weak and be able to handle pain well. It helped me to crush my emotions.

    Certainly the experience taught me how twisted “Authority” can be.

    These people have serious problems. These kinds of people should not be in the business of “helping” youth, especially not youth who are having some problems. Maybe it is different now. I doubt it. It does seem like they couldn't get away with such stuff as they did when I was there in a world of internet etc... but maybe they can. When I was there, there was supposely a Canadian mail strike so there was no contact via letters. The only time I had outside contact was the phone call from my parents.

    I do not see the program as christian in any way. They just use the words of christianity to support they messed up program. Christ would hate to have his name associated with this stuff. It isn't a good survial training program either. Maybe it can teach city kids something but it certainly isn't very advanced.

    I was never really the same after that. I was no longer was open with people and I never told anyone about the things that happened there. This letter is the most I have ever said. There are many other small stories, but I don't care much about this stuff. They are just a tiny part of the messed up world of violence and hate.

    Though the program was good for me in some ways, I think I would have been a much healthier person and been better off not having gone.
  • What do you think of the quality of education you received?
    Unimpressive. I was expecting a wilderness survival school. Not a brainwashing survival school. They lied about what the program was. Most of the activities and training listed in the brochure never happened.

    We did build a pretty big dining hall. They didn't really try to teach of how to do it though. We were just the labor.
  • How old are you today?
  • Did you go to college afterward? If so, what degrees do you have?
    I went to the University of Washington and have a degree in Editorial Journalism from the School of Communications.
  • What is your profession?
    I am an artist. Painter.
  • Do you consider yourself a Christian today?
    No. The actual words of Christ I am fine with, but the rest of it and a lot of the church don't seem to be Christian. I like Zen a lot. Perhaps I am an Anamist or Pantheist. I am mostly a philosophical materialist.
  • What effect did “The Program” have on your faith?
    I no longer believed in a judeo-christain diety after I was 12 years old.

    The faith of a child did not become the faith of a man, though the culture and ethics of much of loving chritianity I retain to this day.

    The program did not affect my faith in any way though I did see a pretty ugly side of christianity in some things there. Bud Teare told us he was in favor of the deuteronomy solution to homosexuality which he said is to put a millstone around their neck and throw them in a lake.

    But... I tried to see the loving christianity I was exposed to growing up as pretty different than the twisted version that these folks seemed to be following.


lørdag den 14. juli 2012

This testimony was published by Kimberly on another Blogspot blog. All rights goes to the original author


Have you ever gone with out showering for 57 days? I don't think so. Well if you consider billy baths a shower than you are crazy! A billy bath is when you get two small containers filled with creek water and two drops of concentrated camp soap. You got to have a "billy bath" once a week. A billy bath was the equivalent of a shower at Wilderness camp.

I had to deal with this because I was sent to SUWS of the Carolinas. SUWS of the Carolinas is one of the most prestigious wilderness camps for teenagers. It is sort of like Outward Bound but much more intense, and it isn't voluntary. I was sent there for partying a little bit too much.

Throughout my time at wilderness I had many crazy experiences. A normal day consisted of getting our pants and shoes brought to you in the morning (you had to give your counselor your pants and shoes evernight to prevent people from running...which it didn't accomplish).

After you woke up you would go get the bear bags with your group. Bear bags was an area at every site that you would go to, far away from where you slept to hang your food, toothpaste, and trash at night so bears wouldn't come attack you. You would everynight thrown a rope onto a very high tree and have to tie up all the bags and hoist it up there.

So after retrieving your food we would all walk back to camp and start to take down camp. We were given about 35-40 minutes to take down our tents, pack up our packs, destory the loo, and get breakfast made. Breakfast was a cup of oatmeal with a pinch of brown sugar, a scoop of powdered milk, and raisons if you were lucky. Not a very appetizing Breakfast to say the least.

After breakfast we would start are hike. These hikes were trecherous, strenuous, and grueling. Our packs alone weighed about 50 pounds and then we had group gear which added another 20 pounds. We would hike for hours, miles at a time up steep mountains. I think the worst mountain we had to climb was called heart break. The name alone gives you a slight taste of what we endured. I also am saying mountains because we were not climbing baby hills. We weren't climbing hills at all. When we climbed heartbreak our counselor was set on our group breaking the record for climbing this mountain. Therefore instead of taking a 5 minute break every 20-30 minutes we were going for a 2 minute break every 30-35 minutes. This was heartbreak number one.

We became reliant on those 5 minute breaks to take of our 70+ lb packs and drink the some of the four full one liter water bottles that we were required to drink everyday.

SUWS was started in the early 1970's and it one of the oldeste wilderness programs still in operation. It was purchased by Aspen Education Group in 1990's. Two boys have died there so far.


lørdag den 16. juni 2012

Sarah at Second Nature

The Author Sarah wrote this comment on the webpage "Troubled Teen Blog", which is a kind of marketing page for the Troubled Teen Industry. All rights belong to the auhtor.

I was sent to Second Nature when I was 16 for what my parents thought was a good reason, but none of my other friends were sent away for the same reason and for them this teenager stage blew over like it always does.

I think a parent must not overeact to teenage rebellion and risk taking, it is in fact very normal. Do try your best to keep them safe, but sending them away can be riskier than whatever the problem is at home.

Many kids have died out there-do your research! Don’t google ” wilderness program”. There are thousands of websites making money off of this. To find some news google ” wilderness program deaths” Unfortunately most of the teens I was with out there were in the program for ridiculous reasons. Most smoked pot and talked back to there parents. This is not a good reason to send your teens away!

I am now a parent myself and one thing I know for sure is I will never ever send my boys away to the middle of Utah to be watched by people I don’t even know. How can you trust these people with your child? They can’t even contact you if something is wrong.

Personally I don’t think that a cure for depression is to take away everything they know and throw them out into the snow to sleep on the ground. I did not shower for 10 weeks! I had ticks all over my body and a flesh eating fungus all over my feet that burned like you wouldn’t believe. This did not help my self esteem at all. Many terrible details to this experience I don’t even want to think about, but I honestly still have nightmares more than 10 years later.

All the teens have different experiences depending on the teen themself and especially the staff that is with the child. Maybe some have a good experience, but this is not what I saw going on around me. You don’t want your child to go through what I had to go through even if they are driving you crazy right now. Try to find more patience and understanding in your heart and remember that they won’t be a teenager forever. You made it through alive didn’t you??


torsdag den 10. maj 2012

We are looking for escape stories

We are seeking escape stories from people who have been at wilderness programs. Please tell you how it it went.

Did you succeed?

Did you get caught?

If you was caught, what was then the punishment?

Please comment this blog-entry or use the threads listed below on various messageboards:

tirsdag den 10. april 2012

This story was originally written on the message board called the Fornits Home for Wayward Webfora. All rights and credits goes to the author known as vagrant

I was a pretty rebellious teen.... I would ditch school frequently, While I wouldn't call myself addicted I used drugs a little more than casualy (Pot, Cocaine and Alcohol), The real issue was my homelife. My folks and I could not get along, I was the oldest kid by 8 years and naturally my folks tried a variety of different parenting techiques in an effort to see what worked and what didn't... They couldn't get along with each other to save their lives and I couldn't get along with them... Screaming matches would ensue on an almost daily basis at one point.... It was an emotional nightmare for a 16 year old and for my folks I'm sure.

It was around 4 in the morning... I awoke to my dad and 2 men I'd never seen before.. My dad told me I needed to go with them and that they were going to take me some place I could get some help... I was disoriented and kind of not with it, as I was still waking up.. I saw handcuffs on each of their hips and knew I didn't have a chance to make a break for it... I got dressed we walked down the stairs my Mom told me she loved me, I was confused, angry, scared, and felt betrayed and with all of these emotions running through my mind at once I couldn't muster a reply to her. We got in the car, I sat in the back next to the bigger of the two escourts, doors locked, we drove into Chicago (I'm about 40 min out) they offered to stop at McDonalds for me but I was the furthest thing from hungry... We got on a plane to some other airport then flew from that one to Salt Lake City. Once there we got into another car and drove to Vernal UT (Never in my life have I ever seen a stranger town, and I play in a touring band...) They fed me, we went into the office, the doctor gave me a physical, had me give him a urine sample, and without warning jabbed my finger with some needle thing for some sort of reading... They then drove me from the office to Colorado where I was greeted by maintenence staff and taken into the mountains...

Get into the mountains, change out of my clothes, into the MHYR student uniform. (Yellow shirt/sweater, camo pants) Was given my mountain supplies and given a student mentor (you get one on your first week to kind of tell you how the program works)

19 Weeks later I left. You're supposed to pass 12 or 15 weeks to graduate from the program (Many students don't and stay there until the parents run out of money) I passed 15 weeks, I also acheived my GED there..

Yeah I'd say some things stick out... Watching a kid fail every week because he didn't want to eat the food, couldn't physically complete the hikes, and was really just miserable, the other students in the group would constantly get upset with him because he would slow the group down, The week before he left I awoke to him wimpering in his sleeping bag, lips chapped, he had defacated himself, Looking back on it now I realize just how wrong that was....They did call him a faker.....After reading Aarons tragic story.... There was a pretty legitimate similarity between the two.. (But he was pretty damn far from a skeleton) His parents pulled him later that day... I'd like to think the mountain called them and told them of his deteriorating physical state and advised they come get him.... But I doubt it... They told us that more than likely Matt was being transfered to a more punitive program..... My god that is so fucked.... And the students nodded and we were never allowed to speak of him again.... JESUS CHRIST HOW DID I NOT REALIZE HOW BAD THAT WAS AT THE TIME!?

I've never seen paler faces then when a counselor came back into camp with a student who was on Solo.... A Mountain Lion had apparently passed by the students solo camp site... The student was sent right back out on solo that night... Why?... Why the hell does that make any sense at all? An extremely dangerous animal passes by this kids site and you send him back out there to spend 3 days alone....

The impact letters.... Your parents wrote you a letter about how much you've hurt them, all the pain you've caused your family, and why they sent you.... The students then were to read this aloud during group in the evening... Staff would read the letters before group to make sure you didn't leave anything out when you read it. There's recognizing that your actions have had negative effects on people, and taking accountability.... And then theres self degredation and humiliation... I guess it's a matter of opinion but I think MHYR's "Impact letters" were leaning towards the latter...

Come clean letter: Self explanatory... They even had a formula you would plug in to confess how many times you've used profanity in your life.... We read these aloud infront everyone as well... Again... Very humiliating... I believe the emphasis on these letters is also self degredation... You write all of these things down, to the last ludicrous detail and you think "My god I am such a fucking piece of shit", I should be dead,which then turns to "I'm so lucky I came to this program"" Really manipulating shit man.... I think thats what bothers me the most now.... Is all the subtle ways of manipulation

Runaways came in waves.... Typically if you had a bunch of new kids there at once and a problem student or two, you could expect a runaway. Staff DID NOT restrain students who ran, they followed them until they wished to come back, (realized there was nowhere to go)....I actually thought this was prett metaphorical and cool.... But now I can't help but think it was yet another way of manipulation.. A student told me when he ran he somehow got closer to the road and staff then threatened to "restrain" him if he proceeded... I never ran..

I failed 4 weeks... One a staff member handed me my laundry past the fire circle (where you need to have gloves on) I grabbed it and he failed my week...

The other week I failed was during my "2 in one" where you get ONE oppurtunity to do two weeks in one week to make up for failing a week. (Again you only get this oppurtunity once) A female staff, who was on for 2 shifts and we never saw her again after that had told me to speak up when helping another student with her book report, "I've been speaking up I thought you could hear me... Ugh.. Gettin Pissed" She had thought I said "Fucking Bitch" Now guys.... 3 years later... I swear on my sons life I never called her a fucking bitch. My words were "Getting pissed" which was ok to say.. I had absolutely no track record of disrespecting staff or using profanity whatsoever in the 10 weeks I'd been there to that point. I begged and pleaded with her to see I hadn't called her that. To no avail. The head staff sympathized for me and asked my "Therapist" if we could pass one of my weeks for the "two in one" instead of failing both of them (This had been done before for students)..... Now because I still claimed I had not said that, He refused, stating I was refusing to take accountability.

The third one, my parents and I had bickered back and forth a bit on a phone call, no name calling or cussing or anything just not agreeing on the rules for me when I come home, my Mother told me she was going to put my little brother and Sister on the phone to say hi but Now she wasn't going to because of the conversation we had.... I replied with "Oh great cause you know I don't want to talk to my little sister or anything" In obvious sarcasm. My therapist then suddenly got upset and hung up the phone call and told me that I had failed my week because of the phone call.

Now each of these were a little suspicious, but when put together... I honestly believe, because of the amount of money my folks had, and the rate i was progressing through the program, they wanted to keep me longer.... Longer stay = more $ and my folks had more money than alot of the other kids... You can put two and two together... I really hope I don't sound like some bitter child about this.... I'm not. I would absolutely love to believe that when I failed my weeks, it was to help me progress as a person and about personal accountability... But It wasn't.. It was about money.. and the inconsistency in treatment of students proves that to me..

Food was Oats, Germade, Rice, Lentiles, Spam, and ...ashcakes.... I actually puked the first time I tried to eat rice and lentiles, the first month I would go to bed feeling hungry at times..If you moved up to the ranch phase you got to cook on a kerosene stove with eggs, noodles, sauce and some other not "shit" tasting food.. We had to drink a quart of water with each meal and half a quart in between.... When you first got there, every 10 minutes youd have to pee....

Speaking of peeing...

I don't give a damn what anyone says.... There is something disturbing to me and degrading... About having to piss and shit in a hole in the dirt filled with other peoples piss and shit while you call out your number every 5 to 10 seconds.... The mental image of me yelling out "4" while flies swarm around me and I try to block out the stench of everyone elses waste and not fall in...

Thats not therapeutic... It's fucking wrong....

But again.. Thats my opinion, not the legal systems.

Before I go there are a few things I want to clarify.

The escorts were in no why violent, degrading, or cruel. They were nice guys, offered to feed me a bunch, we listened to Howard Stern in the car, cracked jokes, and they wished me well. The traumatic experience of being yanked from your bed, forced to travel across the country, and allowed no contact with anyone you know the whole way.... That was the cruel part...

MHYR did not help me... But I benifited from my stay there.....I survived the most mentally and emotionally grueling experience I've ever been through... I learned to better myself in spite of the actions of others, I learned how to survive in the wilderness, I learned how to motivate emotionally distraught kids, and I learned about one of the most impressive scams I've ever seen.... MHYR didn't help me.... I helped me....They just cashed the check...

Field Staff is a mixed bag... Some genuinely care and want to help, Others are there for a pay check, a few are in between. Please do not make the false assumption that anyone who works at this place is a bad person...

I do not seek any sort of compensation from MHYR or to press charges on them... I can't even begin to handle that whole ordeal... Theres so many "what ifs" and "Yeah but technnicallys" and.... It just feels wrong to me to do that.

This isn't a cry for attention man... I just started dealing with this and really just need to write about it so thank you to anyone who read this, thank you to this site and thread, apologies to anyone I may have offended.

That's all I'm gonna write for now feel free to ask more questions, I'll write more later.. Theres so much more about the maniulative genius that is MHYR I plan to eventually write a book on what I went through and my thoughts on it.


onsdag den 28. marts 2012

Wilderness therapy: Shouldn't 2012 be the end of this

Another human rights organization called "Secret Prisons for Teens" wrote the blog-entry below december 2011:

Kurt Hahn developed the early basic for so-called outward bound education before the second world. These ideas were picked up by several schools.

In the 1970's the first wilderness therapy programs began to emerge. However they took only volunteers in and while the survival gear was somewhat primitive compared to the equipment at hand here in 2011, most teenagers who entered these programs made it home.

This all changed when the Reagan and Bush administration in the 1980's declared war on drugs and raise the age of alcohol consumption to 21 in the United States. Such a war demanded strict punishment and when the parents discovered that even minor violations of the law could put their children in jail for decades - in some cases even life, a market for alternative private punishment marketed as therapy was pushed in business based on parental fear for the future of their children.

The first wilderness programs where teenagers were forced into entering the program appeared. Then deaths of such teenagers in the wilderness became headlines in such a number that they eventually were something you could read about on page 34. It was an accepted risk because the alternative was claimed to be a life on drugs and as result deaths or life in prison.

One of the first programs of this new type was named Challenger. It was as almost every modern wilderness programs outdoor adventure combined with boot camp mentality. In closed a few years after it opened because a young girl named Kristin Chase died during the program.

One of our volunteers looked the program up on Facebook and found a group of survivors of the program. While some praise the program despite its harshness there are also those who to this day recent all what did take and basically blame their experience for all the suffering they have experienced in life since. What is true? Is it just something you should get over with or should you speaks up against the lack of fairness?

Life goes on but just as people have to endure scars and injuries from traffic accidents it does meant that you should forget all what was wrong. A girl died in the program and only pure luck prevented others from joining her.

Second those who praise the program forget one thing. It is a basic function in the brain which enables them to select the good things and make them forget the bad elements in the program just as rape victims often are able to hide the ordeal and function relatively normal.

But what about the deaths? Wasn't something learned from Challenger?

No, nothing was learned from her tragic death. In the years since the program closed not a single year has been without deaths in residential treatment programs for children. Several of the deaths in wilderness programs have been exactly copies of her unfortunately death - Deaths which for sure could have been avoided if just the tiniest piece of teaching had been learned from her ordeal.

Wilderness therapy is not safe. It doesn't matter what kind of regulations which are introduced. Records show that there will always be the next set of parents who will receive a coffin instead of a cured child.

Taking teenagers out of their comfort zone should be controversial and the very last resort.

2011 brought awareness of the risk and the suffering among teenagers who are being removed from their homes.

2012 should be the year where the use of wilderness therapy for children who are not willingly entering the program should stop.

That is our simple New Year wish.

The original blog (Secret Prisons for Teens)

onsdag den 8. februar 2012

setht79's stay at SUWS

The author known as Setht79 gave permission to have his story published on the webpage Reddit. All rights belong to the original author.

It sounds like the program has changed since I was there.

Back in '96, it only lasted for 21 days. I can see why they would want to extend the length of the program though. It costs them very little to run things, but they charge an exorbitant amount of money. Here's a description of my SUWS experience for those of you wondering what it's like.

Upon arriving, you are given everything you will need. All personal belongings are confiscated. Your kit consists of a heavy gauge plastic tarp that measures about 10x10, a military style rain coat, a blanket like they use in moving trucks, sleeping bag, a thin sleeping mat, a bag of oats, a bag of rice and lintels, powdered milk, salt and pepper, iodine tablets, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, 2 pairs of socks, thermal underwear, sweater, camo pants, a spool of thin rope, and a few misc other things.

A convoy of SUVs then drives you out to a remote location in the Great Basin Desert. This is not the Sahara by any means. It is simply an arid climate, with an abundance of sage brush. No sand dunes, lots of plateaus. Upon arriving at your destination, there is a brief orientation where they explain how to pack your kit (tarp laid flat, rain coat on top of that, blanket on top of that, everything else in the middle, fold the tarp/coat/blanket around your gear, tie with rope).

During the initial phase we were not given a backpack frame, so the rope was our shoulder straps (Kinda uncomfortable). Our group consisted of 4 guys, 2 girls, and 3 councilors (2 females, 1 male). Once everyone had put together their pack, we set out. The first week is all about learning the basics of survival. This was by far the worst part. No one was used to the hardships of being outdoors. That, combined with all of the hiking, led to a LOT of bitching and moaning (myself included).

The second week was "family week", which is all about teamwork. We were given 2 knives and a backpack frame to tie our gear to. The first knife was stainless steel for carving wood. The second was a carbon steel (I think) Swiss army style knife that would create sparks when struck with the right kind of rocks (for starting fires). During this week we learned some more advanced survival techniques.

The first half of the third week was called "solo". You spent 3 days in a small shelter by yourself, and were visited once a day by a councilor. The last 4 days were "search and rescue". During this phase we tracked 2 groups of people who just started the program and paid them surprise visits to "lift their spirits". Basically we would just let them know that it gets easier (it does). In the end, you make a long hike out and meet up with your family at base camp. You are all bused to a hotel, shower up, and meet at a diner for the best meal of your life up to that point. It's just a diner, but after 3 weeks of rice and lintels, a plate of pancakes is pretty amazing.

What I did not mention in the description is that there are some serious mental games being played by the staff throughout the whole thing. They are trying to convince you that you have major issues, (even if you don't), and that your parents are in no way at fault. They are also trying to prep you for the next facility you will be sent to, as they strongly advise parents to send their children to a more long term facility straight from SUWS. One of the things I learned from these experiences, is that some parents just want to be free of their kids during the difficult teenage years. Several of the kids at SUWS and my follow up facility had no substance abuse or major behavioral problems.

Ultimately, I'm glad I learned the survival techniques I did at SUWS, but I don't think shipping your child off is a good thing.

The original statement on the Reddit webpage

torsdag den 5. januar 2012

The days I was kidnapped.

This testimony was given by Alex K. on a message board. All rights belongs to the author.

Hello. I have been an intermittent listener for about two years now. I believeI have had an experience that would be of some interest to Mr. Molyneaux.

On the night of May 27th, 2005, I had a few weeks ago turned 15 years old. I was, I admit, spending too much time playing video games; yet I did not drink, did not use any drugs, and was not harming myself physically.

It was an average night at my home, except this night my parents were unusually suggestive that I should get to sleep at an early hour. After all, as I was told, there were electricians coming the next morning to work on the house and I might be woken up early. Although my parents are intelligent people, in hindsight some of the telltale signs of deception, most notably repetition of a seemingly unimportant point which is important to the deception itself, were visable.

The next morning I was woken up when two strangers walked into my room. They were older, in their early 50s probobly. One was both overweight and muscular while the other was short and lean. I would joke to kids I met on my journey that this was so one could chase me and the other could restrain me, as I've never looked anemic and have always been stronger than most.

I gave the pair a tired hello, rolling over in my bed, angry that these electricians had barged into my room when I was so tired still. The larger man went over to where my shoes were and began to unlace them. The smaller man told me to get up and brush my teeth. He told me we were going. I asked where we were going. I was told I would find out when I arrived.

Although at this point, as clear as the consequences of all our actions are with reflection, I should have known something was amiss, I had remembered my mother telling me I should go to a summer camp in order to get out more, in order to enjoy life more. I thought I was being taken to a camp by friends of my parents friends, or someone else close to the family who I did not know. I followed their directions. When I put my pants on after I had finished brushing my teeth, the larger man grabbed onto the empty belt buckle of my jeans and began to guide me out of the house. I clumsily shuffled down the stairs with my shoe lace-less sneakers to the back door, which, in our house, is near a pushdoor to the kitchen. I wanted to say goodbye to my two dogs, as I thought I would not see them until the end of the summer. When I began to move to push open the door to the kitchen, where my dogs usually are, begging for food and relaxing on the cold tile, I was yanked back into place and led out the back door. I was led out the garage to a minivan I did not recognize. I was forcefully 'assisted' into the back of the minivan and the door was slammed shut.

At this point the two men, who's names I did not know and to this day I do not know, told me I was going to O'Hare Itl. Airport. I asked where we were flying to and I was told North Carolina. I began to panick a bit at this point. I realized I had no control in what was occuring. I felt flustered by the use of force barring me from bidding my dogs and my parents farewell for the summer. Although this is tough to admit to because I love to view myself as a rugged individualist unwilling to allow others to defeat me on a personal intellectual or emotional level, at this point I began to cry. My crying was not out of complaint or pain, but rather it stemmed from the fear of my circumstances. I was locked in a minivan with strangers who had led me there by force, and now I was on my way to an international airport.

As we drove, the trip to O'Hare being about 45 min from my house, the two men talked about the night they had spent in Chicago before. They laughed about the time they'd had at Uno's, a famous Chicago Pizzaria I was familair with, and they showered praise on the city's night life.

When we arrived at the airport I shuffled along with the two men, not willing to subject myself to the force I had experienced earlier when trying to stray from the preordained course. I had a backpack with me that my parents had packed and the two men had given to me. In it was my favorite book, "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque. (Off topic I STRONGLY recommend this book. My initial juvinile misreading of the book led to my pro war patriotism, and my rereadings of the book led to my anti-war pacifism) I began to read while we waited for the flight from Chicago O'Hare to Ashville Airport in North Carolina. We boarded the flight and the plane took off. I was seated in the middle seat of a three seat row, in between the two strangers.

About half way through the flight I was handed a folded sheet of printer paper. It turned out to be a letter, in the style of speech I had learned to associate with my father. The letter told me about how sorry my mother and father were to have had to resort to handing me over to strangers to take me to North Carolina, but it was clear that my lifestyle required some intervention. I immediatly thought of the discussion of summer camps I'd had with my mother. I felt calmed. "I'm going to summer camp." I told myself, "It wont be that bad. At worst it will be boring." As I began to realize that the hand had been taken off of the chess piece, that the plan was in play, I began to calm myself, forcing myself to come to terms with what I thought would merely be the loss of my summer.

If you have come this far without clicking away I applaud you. Up to now most of this has been just description of the initial trauma of an experience that would last for a long time to come.

When the plane landed at the Ashille airport, the two strangers handed me over to a man with an Aussie accent. I was told to get in his car. I did so and we drove off. I asked the man how long I would be where he was taking me, still assuming this was summer camp, and he told me the minimum stay was twenty eight days. I was determined from that point on to be home within the month of June.

When we arrived at camp I saw what could be expected of most summer camps, some log cabin domiciles and kids in the same clothes on an open field sitting around what appeared to me to be a counselor. So far so good.

I remember with a horrific distinctness the moment I realized I was not at summer camp. This was when, in a room in one of the cabins, the man with the Australian accent told me to take off all of my clothes. Not having a say in the matter, I stared blankly at him and did as I was told. He told me to turn around, grab my ankles an cough. I did this too. I was then issued a pair of hiking boots, a pair of pants and two shirts. I was taken to one of the cabins and told which bed I would be sleeping in.

After talking to the other kids in my 'group,' known as "Group G," I was told I was at wilderness. What I learned was that I was in a rehabilitation center for unruly children. The issues these kids had ran the spectrum from those who were slacking in school to hard drug addicts. All of the kids were under eighteen, the age at which they could legally refuse to be taken somewhere against their will. I asked the kids how long we would be forced to stay here. I heard that there was a minimum of twenty eight days, and the maximum time was not defined. Immediatly I began to think my parents made a huge mistake. I did not belong here. This was not a place for me. If I could just get another chance to get the grades my parents wanted me to get, I could reform myself! Anything but this!

I asked the staff member if I could contact my parents. I was told I could write letters but make no phone calls. All my personal belongings that I had travelled with had been confiscated so I asked for pen and paper. I immediatly began writing up a plea to my parents. I concocted a letter begging to be given one more chance live up to my parents expectations, and gave this letter to the staff member responsible for looking after me so he could send it off.

As I learned more, I was told by other kids that most of the children in this camp were sent away to other locations for periods from one year to two years. I was told this was almost always the case, yet I had no fear of this happening to me. "MY parents would never do this." I thought.

A week into my experience at this camp, I was given a few feet of seatbelt material, a sleeping bag, a tarp and a metal cup. I was taught how to roll all my belongings together and tie them to my back with this seatbelt material. A few days after that, my group, group G, set off into the Pisgah National Forest.

It would take a book to document my experiences in those two months alone, but the jist of it was I cooked my own meals, over my own fire which I made with sticks. I pitched a tent with the tarp I used to hike my belongings around, miles a day, and I was not allowed association with others in my group. I was a boy alone in the mountains of North Carolina. Two weeks passed and I got a letter confirming what I thought not possible. This was not the end. I would be going to a "theraputic boarding school" after my stay at wilderness. I was crushed. Two months passed. I was reunited with my parents then swiftly passed off to a "school" in Utah. I spent 6 months there. Fortunately, I was able to convince my parents to remove me from that location, a "school" with window alarms, locked doors, guards posted outside at night and forced work at recycling centers and on road cleanup crews when I agreed to attend a Catholic school although from as long as I can rememeber I have been an atheist.

After the end of the school year at Catholic school, I told my parents I refused to reattend a cathlolic school the next year. Within a week of this announcement I was woken up early by the exact two strangers my story begins with. The horror and addrenaline that rushed through me is inexplicable. I hopped up out of the bedroom where my experience began and tried to flee. I was knocked down at the door by the larger man, he hopped on my back, pushed my face into the carpet and contorted my wrist as to disallow me to move in any way without an increase in the pain I already felt. I was told I could either go back to my "school" in Utah "willingly" or go to a worse place, horror stories of which I had heard from children at the location I was sent to for 6 months in Utah. The large man, no longer a stranger, then showed me a pair of handcuffs and pepper spray. I decided to return to, as we called it, Jail for Kids, willingly.

I spent the next year there. I was allowed to see my family for a total of around 15 days in that period. I witnessed kids try to run. I witnessed those kids fail. I witnessed a "therapist" use the DEATH of a woman in a car accident one of the kids was involved in (sober and not caused by him) AGAINST that child (16 years) in order to extract information the "therapist" thought he knew about where some kids had ran away to.

I witnessed a kid dragged away by thugs to a worse location for the crime of smuggling in caffeine pills, and I saw a kid barred from any social interaction with others for holding hands with a female attendee of the institution.

Please read up on what is going on infront of our eyes, but beyond our scope of vision.

A good website I have found that sums a lot of these places up well: http://www.caica.org/

A list of child murders in these institutions: http://www.caica.org/NEWS%20Deaths%20Main.htm

I saw a kid be forced away to, what I heard from rumor was all of our worst fear... what kept us 'in line.' : http://www.alternet.org/story/31000/ (Tranquility Bay)

I wrote this kind of hastily, realized I was going on too long and summed it all up fairly rapidly, but hopefully I had given some good FDR anti-agression individuals a window into what occurs and what has occured to me.

Thank you,
Alex K.

The original thread on the Free Domain Radio Message board