I highly doubt that anyone researching programs will look here.. on Yelp, but I would be remiss not to warn parents and families at every turn of this abusive program. Second Nature makes fantastical claims of it's success rates, safety, and the qualifications of its staff but a little intensive research yields the truth: Second Nature programs are no more effective, and absolutely no different than programs like Utah's now-closed North Star Expeditions/Challenger Foundation. In fact, wilderness programs and boot camp-style "tough love" treatments have zero peer-reviewed studies which show they are effective. I am 100% fo' serious (research it!).
I am a former camper, and I ended up swept through the system, and away from home for a bit more than two years. Second Nature refused me my inhaler while hiking despite the fact that I have had documented athsma my entire life (claiming that although I take asthma medication, that I was "lying" about my condition). 2N also espouses isolation as a successful form of therapy (most campers will spend 6-7 days on "Solo," not a single person in sight, completely alone with no idea where staff is located). Please read any literature related to the recent Kelief Browder tragedy if you're curious about whether or not isolation/solitary confinement is an effect form of treatment. 2N Counselors (who hold no degrees, certification, and are often 20-somethings with sleeves or tattoos and no career aspirations) were often incredibly cruel, telling a sick campmate of mine that she was "disgusting," or calling young girls brats, fools, manipulative liars if they were sick, "idiots" and more. Worst of all, the program is recklessly-run and thus, dangerous. Our group was lost one afternoon with no water and no food, and 1 of my fellow campers fainted from dehydration.
- Any program that monitors, censors, or severely limits the contact you have with your child raises a big fat red flag. Your child should be able to have unmonitored contact with you, in the case that they are being mistreated or are in danger. 2N censors written letters written by campers, and phonecalls (which are a privilege granted before one leaves) are always in the presence of 1 or more staff member.
- A program that deals with frightened, sick, or abused children and teens as "manipulative, liars, entitled brats," and more is also a red flag. "Being immature," is not a reason to send a child to treatment (a child or teen, by definition, is "immature").
- Programs that do not require staffers to have advanced degrees, and years of experience in the field= red flag. Qualified individuals should be a first-priority of any program which conducts it's "treatment" in conditions as extreme as 2N's.
- Programs which ask you to waive your power of attorney over to their staff and ask that you not sue in the case of severe illness, major injury, or death= red flag.
Essentially, there are far too many horror stories but the bottom line here is: do your research. Now do more. The troubled teen industry is just that- an industry (not-so-fun-fact: supported by Romney's venture capitalist firm, Bain), and their first and foremost priority is to make money for themselves and their friends at therapeutic boarding schools, "escort services," and "educational consultants." Profiting off a family's vulnerability, confusion, fear, or even worse abusive and dysfunctional dynamic is morally reprehensible. Torturing teens doesn't make anything or anyone better, it makes things worse. In the best case scenario, you will be exorbitantly wealthy and able to send your child to a "therapeutic boarding school," a program which I can only describe as abuse-lite. Parents- you have options! Please, please, please arm yourself with facts/peer-reviewed and unbiased statistics and studies regarding troubled teen programs, and not sales propaganda. Best of luck to you!
- (The original testimony on Yelp)
- Factsheet about the program (Fornits Wiki)
- 327. Second Nature Wilderness program (1000 places You don't want to be as a teenager)