lørdag den 18. december 2021

Gavin Cruz speaks about his time detained at BlueFire Wilderness Therapy

This testimony was located on Google. All rights go to the original author.

The staff were nice but the over all help they had with targeting certain kids including myself was horrible. The staff would mess up the re rash and we would have way less food and we were stuck barely eating. Also your pictures of blue fire on your website is completely false we had horrible quality clothes I was in there when it was five degrees and below and the gloves and layers of clothes were not meant for that environment they were horrible it’s basically cruel punishment for people trying to get help. What’s the point of putting someone with mental issues or drug or alcohol addiction in weather where they can’t feel there hand or body while having kids cook horrible food with horrible ingredients giving during re rash.

I was there for eleven weeks I enjoyed my therapist a lot but I didn’t make any progress at all he was a great guy but didn’t help me at all. I went to a treatment center after and they couldn’t help me either I struggle with depression and anxiety i am the exact same person as before. There is no point of sending a struggling kid to a wilderness therapy especially one that does not give you the tools to be safe. If we didn’t bust a cold we were stuck sitting around the camp site freezing then going into a green wall which y’all said that we were going in a yurt every night on y’all’s website when we went into one only at three camp sites. I remember waking up in a fetal position and I used one of my nalgens filled with my urine and put it on my stomach to keep me warm. And they would only let you sleep in a long sleeve skin tight shirt and pants that matched the shirt with no jacket or anything so you would basically be sleeping in your underwear they also took your shoes so you would have to wake up and pee outside with no shoes and in a shirt and pants in the snow. This was punishment my parents still think it was a fun experience when in reality it was a living hell.

I’m begging you from the bottom of my heart don’t send your kid here they lie to you. Just get a therapist at home and if needed send him or her to a mental hospital. Also don’t send your kid to a treatment center it’s the same process as wilderness but in a building it’s not helpful there at all. Don’t ever consider this.

The original testimony on Google

lørdag den 13. november 2021

Carter's experiences at Bluefire Wilderness program

This testimony was found on Google. All rights goes to the original author

Hi i am a past student of blue fire and I am writing this for struggling parents who feel like they have no option but so send their kid here DONT DO IT this place can care less if you come out better and even less that you actually go home.

At my time at blue fire they used cruel punishments on me and the kids in my group we were constantly deprived of food when I first got there it was 8 kids when I left it was 16 kids and we were still getting the same amount of food it was used against us as punishment and what made it worse is the staff knew what they were doing because me and the kids would constantly say you can’t use food as punishment and even are therapist tried to help but once the therapist left and it was just the unsupervised staff with the kids they were free to do as they please and punish how they pleased so we were genuinely scared that whatever we said about the staff out of fear that it would be used against us or that our “privilege” of talking to our family be taken away much of the program is hiking and I remember an occasion when we actually ended up getting lost in the desert and they forced us to hike 25 miles all the kids had blistered feet and we were out of food but of course the staff still had food and they were eating beef jerky in front of us when they knew damn well we were deprived of meat there.

I could write a whole other review talking about the food they fed us horrible beans and rice almost every meal also forgot to mention to have any contact with your parents you have to write them a letter saying how good of a program you are at and how much of an opportunity it is for you to be there and if you don’t your not allowed to talk to your parents these people who run this place are sick in the head and see basic necessities as privileges

The original testimony

lørdag den 14. august 2021

A testimony concerning the BlueFire Wilderness Therapy program

This testimony was located on Reddit. All rights go to the original author known as reds2032

How I was abused at BlueFire Wilderness Therapy

Fuck ok I really really don’t want to write this shit down but it needs to be known. I, and many others, were abused at BlueFire. I was there from fall of 2020 to February 2021. Im extremely nervous to put any more information out in case of being recognized.

An incomplete list (because I can possibly remember them all):

I broke a bone and was left untreated for 4 days before being taken to a hospital. They tried to convince me I was making it up for attention, but once my skin started turning black and purple I realized I wasn’t making anything up. We were forced SO MANY (2 dozen plus times) times to sit in the snow without fire or shelter for countless hours in silence. This was a “consequence” for “misbehaving”. I was not allowed contact with any family for the first six weeks as punishment because of the panic attacks and hysteria I had my first week. We were made to force-feed eachother TO LITERALLY DEMONSTRATE WHAT ABUSE WAS LIKE. We had to backpack one day with our legs tied together to represent how being depressed keeps you away from being free. We were told several times to shut up because we were the ones in crazy camp and we didn’t deserve to be listened to. I was told my dog died then told she didn’t to test how I reacted to grief even if it wasn’t real. That one just makes me mad. We weren’t allowed to talk to eachother at all unless we were being watched and recorded by staff. We had to walk barefoot in several feet of snow to use the “bathroom” (any bush) Our shoes/socks were taken away at night. This was so it would make it harder to run away. We had to do layouts in our under garments in below freezing temperatures while it was raining.

I can’t make myself write anymore. My legs are literally shaking right now.

The original testimony on Reddit

mandag den 19. juli 2021

Redcliff Ascent experiene

The testimony was found on Qoura where the question was whether it helped.

As someone who spent 5 months in a wilderness therapy program (in the Utah desert, in a program that is supposed to last 28 days or less), I can tell you the answer is both yes and no. In short, it depends on the person. Most people I encountered were there involuntarily (including myself). You could consider the experience character changing, to say the least (my experience has stuck with me 10 years and one child later).

After having been highjacked from their beds in the middle of the night, flown out against their will across the country, blindfolded for hours on end during a never-ending-car-ride-from-hell until reaching their final destination, the first impression is understandably unfavorable. However, coming out of the program, I can say with confidant certainty that ”complete rehabilitation” was 0%, while “partial rehabilitation” was (at best) 50/50.

I know of more than one program “graduate” that went home only to kill themselves (one camp-mate of mine with her own fathers gun), and several more that ended up in very bad places. This was due to a variety of factors. What parents don’t realize upon sending their “troubled teens” out there, is that they are handing their kids over to people who are largely unsupervised in an extremely harsh and unforgiving place. A place where basic, common sense laws don’t seem to apply to children or ADULTS. Many of these programs are male/female, so there are both male and female staff to supervise. Just because they are “trained staff” does not mean they have ANY business around children. Several girls (from 13–16 years old) were raped or molested during my time there, and the adults were never held accountable or punished.

During my time there I had witnessed multiple staff members breaking down and sobbing hysterically (completely unable to function) either because our water sources ran dry or were frozen solid (and there was barely any snow to melt, so water was rationed by the sip, or at best by the ounce), the “food drop” trucks (that came once every 2 weeks) were several days delayed (for different reasons) so we would go hungry, they would get LOST in the desert which would require 15+ mile pitch black night-hikes (on top of the 15+ already hiked during the day) on steep mountainsides (where kids were rolling down the mountain every 10 minutes while carrying 80+ pound packs, only to be saved from certain death by smacking into one of the many trees that littered the edge just before the cliff drop-off)….

If that is not enough, there were smaller (but considerable) issues with kids getting frostbite, no helicopter for emergencies (it would take 4–5 hours minimum on a good day for a truck to come pick you up, only to drive another 4–5 hours back to get to the hospital-no ambulance service out there), so if you broke a bone or severed a limb you were SOL. Plus pneumonia from the physical toll of hiking all day with an 80 pound pack, 20 pound gas can of water (held by hand in my case, after someone maliciously ripped open my water bladder for no legitimate reason) and a 20 pound tarp on top. Then after all this you have to set up camp (the “tent” consisting of a thin tarp and some rocks) and dig a fire pit, latrine, and washing hole using a dull stick and your hands. THEN make a fire using literally sticks and stones (god help you if it rained), and if you couldn’t build a fire you had to eat raw dehydrated food out of dirty pouches. And if it did rain, you could enjoy an all night bath of flood water in your sleeping bag and wake up soaking wet and freezing cold (in winter) and watch the water dripping from your hair turn into icicles in 3 seconds flat (I seriously CANNOT make this up).

In a wilderness program like this, you can say goodbye to hygiene (no showers and not enough water and soap to sponge-bathe), you can say goodbye to pooping in private (enjoy talking to your whole camp as they debate what kind dump your taking, a mere 5 ft. away), say goodbye to toilet paper (enjoy finding a leaf big enough to wipe your ass if you poop), say goodbye to feminine hygiene products (although the manual labor was so hardcore my period stopped for 4 1/2 of the 5 months I was there) and say goodbye to personal health and safety.

You can, however, say hello to creatures you have never seen crawling up your legs from the inside of your zipped-and-cinched sleeping bag. Dark red scorpions half the size of your forearm, large exotic spiders, monster ants over an inch long, huge fire red ticks …these are your best-case-scenario sleeping buddies. I don’t even know the names of the worst, only that they are in the stay-away-or-you-will-literally-die category, and look fresh out of your worst nightmare (another cause for the “Responsible-Adult-Staff psychotic breakdown”, after we had to abandon several camps infested with these demons from hell-seriously, what kind of pale/fleshy poisonous monstrosity should be able allowed to exist that bites, stings, AND pinches with 3 inch claws???)

Believe it or not I could keep going, but I do have enough sense to stop here. Long story short, just take your family and go camping for the weekend.

Whether you are a parent debating sending your child (don’t do it, they literally just want your money and will milk it until you are broke with a second mortgage taken out of your house, while sending your child back to you even more damaged than before), or a teen considering your options (see above), you would be better off taking a safe weekly stroll in the park and hiring a therapist.

I apologize for the excessive rant-kudos to anyone that makes it through the whole thing, and I hope whomever reads this finds a safer alternative to self-betterment than this type of program.

-Went anonymous for this out of concern for personal safety and legal repurcussions, as well as privacy- since this is my first Quora post (I am still learning how this works). I have not made my troubled past in “wilderness therapy” or “therapeutic boarding schools” (another story) known to certain friends/acquaintances/parents of my child’s schoolmates, so I am employing an overabundance of caution even though I would prefer complete transparency. Godspeed.

*EDIT: To answer question below, this was 10 or so years ago at a place called RedCliff Ascent. Many people transferred to RedCliff from similar programs, and many of their story’s were similar (but often much worse) than this. I believe the program is still running because they have somewhat improved safety over the years, but other “sister” programs (run by the same people) have been shut down after reports of abuse, neglect and “suspicious deaths”.