131. Ascent Wilderness Program

CEDU was a large chain of private teenage prisons created out of the ideas of Synanon which was a religious community which was closed by the IRS. People are still missing from Synanon. CEDU closed in 2005. Several boys went missing from one of the campuses and some have not been found to this very day. CEDU closed in 2005.

At a point CEDU started a wilderness program. It was properly closed around year 2010. It couldn’t have been fun to be forced into as a teenager.

I once saw a book called “A Kidnapped Mind: A Mother’s Heartbreaking Story of Parental Alienation Syndrome”. It is about a divorce where a parent wouldn’t let a boy find his own identity based on the method we all use: Try and Error. Instead she sent him to this wilderness program and the PTSD inflicted made him chose an premature death.

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13 responses to “131. Ascent Wilderness Program”

  1. Ashley says :

    I attended in the summer of 2002. I feel it would be more accurately depicted if the emphasis on corporeal punishment, intimidation methods, and violation of first amendments freedom of speech were the very few of many abusive methods of “therapy”. The mental and verbal abuse was amusing to the “counselors”. Little education, and illegal and cruel hunting practices were bragged about by them. Hell. Pure Hell. Forced labor occupied nine hours daily minimum, no speaking, without adequate tools or materials to complete tasks. One five minute shower once every week and a half. Screaming, always screaming. Reportedly telling us our parent’s did not love us. Over and over. Not having received a hug in 3 months on top of all that, let’s say will to speak and will to live no longer resided in my soul.

  2. Rob says :

    I was at Ascent in 1997. It was a slave labor and prison camp ran by egotistical narssistic maniacs. Just about as bad as the WWASP program
    The scars run very deep in me from this place. Just up the road was Northwest Academy. We would hike up there basically every day. I was there during. The Northwest Academy riot.

    I ended up getting kicked out after I attempted to run away during out hike. I was picked up by a park ranger and they sent me to some mental
    institution in Coeur d’Alane and basically drugged out of my mind for a couple of weeks while locked in a padded room. The mental health industry in this country is corrupt.

    • jack1993 says :

      I know that testimonies which are more than “this and this saved my life” are sought by another human rights organization. If you are up to it to get it out of our system you can send a mail to the email-account shown on their blog called Just another hike. It is kind of shame that so many teenagers ended up in wilderness programs after programs like “Brat Camp” because they are no Sunday hike and some of the teenagers died in the wilderness. Sagewalk used in “Brat Camp” closed in 2009 after a boy died.

      Only awareness can minimize the risk of further deaths. That is why testimonies from wilderness program participants are needed.

  3. Joel says :

    I was sent to Ascent at age 17 in 2000 and it was the worst 6 weeks of my life. Personal belongings including clothes were confiscated during the initial strip search. They give you two sets of clothes, a sleeping bag, and some boots that you are to carry in a large bag everywhere you go. We slept in crowded teepees using our bag as pillows and every morning they would blow a whistle signaling its time to get up. We had 5 minutes to get dressed (we were forced to strip down to underwear to sleep in) roll up your sleeping bag and belongings and be outside in line at attention. If one person didn’t make it, everyone had to unpack everything in the teepee, strip back down to your underwear and get in your sleeping bag, and start over. This would sometimes go on until lunch time.

    Daily activities included hauling logs in the forest, chopping and stacking wood, boot camp style physical training sessions, getting yelled at, and “group therapy” they called raps. I’ve been to therapy and this was NOT therapy. 2 weeks of the program was spent “on course” hiking an camping in the mountains with a small group and a couple counselors. I had a medical issue come up (likely from the stress) that kept me from participating in course (Doctor ordered). Their solution… return me to base camp and put me in a private tent secluded a few hundred yards back in the woods where I was NOT to emerge. Meals were brought to me and I literally didn’t leave the tent (except to use the bathroom) until my group was done with the 2 week hike.

    Letters written home were screened and thrown in the trash if the staff didn’t like them. If you wanted a letter to be sent, you would have to leave out the part about the abusive practices of the staff and pretend like everything was peachy.

    When you finish the program, they recommend you to attend the company’s boarding school if they don’t see you to be fit to return home. I always hustled, stayed focused, said yes sir / yes ma’am, and did what I was told to the best of my ability. Surprise surprise, they recommended I go to the CEDU (company that runs the place) boarding school that helps fund this god awful teen prison. I was one of the few lucky ones and my parents decided to bring me home. I am so glad to hear that CEDU was shut down in 2005. No kid should be subjected to that kind of place.

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