603. Willow Creek School

The shortlived school located was near Provo in Utah. Near the end of it was owned by Second Nature Wilderness – today known as Evoke Therapy Programs. Former students stated:

Levi Franklin:

Being a previous student at Willow creek myself, the news of the school closing is heart breaking. As previously mentioned by Liz, the school was once a place i enjoyed and felt comfortable living. Although i do not regret my time spent at Willow Creek, I am only refering to the friends and select staff I have befriended.

The school was once a place that would not only allow the students a general sort of freedom/privilege, while teaching us tools to help progress us in life, but we were treated as humans, as well.

Originally, it was regarded as a privilege to attend, even be considered to attend, Willow Creek. As time went on, and the school went downhill, I noticed as students were not as enthusiastic to be enrolled in such a great oppurtunity. Given that no teen would ever want to be sent to a boarding school and disconnected from friends/family(voluntarily), but there was something else that was causing this increasing downfall.

I might have my own addictive characteristics, but paranoid thoughts is not one on my roster. I had noticed the lack of consideration and respect from certain administration, as well even an subtle enforcement of a religous prison mentallity. It was completely and totally degrating and infuriating, and to make things worse my opinion has been shut down because all people see is another “troubled teen” whining about a little discipline.

I also tend to ramble sometimes(lol), so i am going to sign out here with the comment, “We have instincts and intuition for a reason, don’t be afraid to use it!”

P.S. There were plenty of staff that I hold dear for their service and care for me, and others, as a random “troubled-teen”.

Liz Franzis:

I was a student at Willowcreek School for eighteen months and watched it go from a place where i could see myself receiving the help, care, support and tools that i, as an addict and “troubled teen” and a place where i enjoyed being to a place that was absolutly misreable and emotionally draining to live in. Priorities went straight down hill from the care and mentality of the students there to how much money there could be for administration to make. The girls dorm was once so over crowded that theraputic goals for any individual whatsoever had no potential of ever being met and only after I, along with two other girls, sat down with staff members, literally in tears from the overwhelming environment that was taking palce due to overcrowding on our residential wing. The failure of this school was the most predicatble thing that could have ever happened. i question how I, as a sixteen year old at the time, could have seen this happeneing and viewed every wrong move administration made, while those set up to run the building (who on paper had much better qualifications to do so) totally overlooked the downhill slide. It is a shame that The Willowcreek School ended up failing as misreably as it did. I met some amazing people there who truly changed my life. Sadly, nothing about the theraputic process that this school ended up enforcing changed my life, whatsoever. Rather the one on one conversations i had privatly with staff and students. The failure of this school is an embarrassment to the fact taht i ever once went there with pride.

3 Burned:

The school was driven out of business by Greg Hudnall, who is also a bureaucrat from Provo City School district (The same guy who illegally had a teacher fired, for writing a book that Greg felt was “Anti-Mormon”).

After Second Nature’s Hostile takeover of the school, they put Greg in charge as the school director. It took him around 10 months to bankrupt the school.

He wasted roughly $300,000.00 in building “improvements”, to a building that the school did not even own. They painted the whole place about 4-5 times before they finally settled on the ugly brown color it was when they finally closed… He burned through untold amounts of cash elsewhere as well.

Not to mention the level of bureaucratic waste and inefficiency that he brought to the school, that I had theretofore thought unattainable for a non-government entity.

The owners sat with us in a meeting, and lied to our faces, promising to make good on all of their debts to employees, including any paid time off that they were owed, when the school closed. They also promised an extra week’s pay to the employees who would stay on until the doors closed–they even had the audacity to state that they were doing us a favor by not filing for bankruptcy (I guess their credit ratings were merely an afterthought), and by giving us a whopping 1-week notice to seek gainful employment, elsewhere.

Instead, on the last day of work, all employees were given a letter stating that if they came back to the school for any reason, they would be arrested for trespassing. No bonus payments were given, PTO was not paid out on. All phones were disconnected, and the website was promptly taken down.

The owners of Second Nature, and WCS are nothing more than a bunch of fly-by-night crooks.

While it was in business, the program was a joke. Boundaries were not held with certain students, due to fear that the students would complain to their parents, and that their parents would remove them from the program.

Special treatment was given by administration and therapists, for the “money kids”.

While most of the employees there had an interest in helping these kids, by the time the school closed, most of the employees had ‘checked out’, and were just showing up for work, since the program itself was unworkable.

I have not worked at Second Nature, but based on the behavior of the owners and administration who came to WCS from Second Nature, I would strongly advise parents to take placement at Second Nature into very deep consideration before making such a decision. I can’t imagine that Second Nature can be in much better shape, being that it has the same owners, administration, and priorities that they brought to WCS.

As I said before, most of the staff are interested in helping these kids, but the decision-makers only see you and your kids as a cash cow.

Parent week at WCS was always VERY different from business as usual…

It does not sound like a fun place to be as a teenager.

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About Rotsne

Danish immigrant, but very integrated. After having worked for another research center, I have recently started working for International Culture Exchange where I serve the youth and their families wanting to become an exchange student.

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