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934. WinGate Wilderness Therapy

WinGate Wilderness Therapy is located in Kanab, Utah. The operate on public land in parts of Utah. The teenagers detained at the wilderness program are sent to the program by their parents. Some reportedly transported by the programs in handcuffs and shackles.

During their detention in the program the teenagers are evaluated and if they fit the need random so-called treatment facilities claim to be able to fix, they are referred to those facilities when their stay at the wilderness program come to an end. Sometime referral fees are exchanged with these facilities as reward for a good profitable diagnosis.

The safety of the teenagers while partipating in the program can be at risk. One student got injuries when he was forced to participate in rock climbing which he had no training in. Over the years teenagers have died partipating in such programs. However, we have not found cases of death among the teenagers who have been detained at Wingate – yet.

It cannot be fun to be there as a teenager.


899. BlueFire Wilderness

The wilderness program was started in 2014. According to survivors of the program, limitation of food was used as punishment. Shoes are confiscated as precaution against escape attempts. The program seems to involve themselves in custody wars so a child can be alienated against one of the parents.

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


896. Trails Carolina

Trials Carolina opened in 2008. In 2014 a 17 year old boy died while on the run from the program. He broke a limb and froze to death. A article from WBTV speak about an abusive environment where people had to wear clothes they have stools in for days due to lack of proper toilet access, the employees only are given the minimum level of training and the issues the teenagers are sent to the program to be cured off, the employees are not equipped to handle.

In 2017 a 17-year-old survived running away from the wilderness program.

While this setup is the normal for most wilderness programs in operation, it still only result in the families losing money without getting the help they hire the wilderness program to cure.

It cannot be fun to be there as a teenager.


820. Camp E-Kel-Etu

Camp E-Kel-Etu was a wilderness program operating under the ownership of Eckerd Youth Alternatives. The company was founded by Jack and Ruth Eckerd.
In year 2000 a 12 year old boy died crushed to death by a 270 pound so-called counselor trying to restrain the boy. Legal loop holes cleared the employee of possible charges.
Years later not able to live on with the death of her son, the mother died.
In 2011 the camp closed.
It could not have been fun to be there as a teenager.

602. Wilderness Quest

Wilderness Quest was first named Wilderness Conquest. They were founded in 1988 and complained in 1990 that their business was hurt due to the negative media coverage of all the deaths in the industry which was the result of the use of wilderness therapy as a concept. Wilderness therapy is just dangerous. Deaths have occured over the years in a constant number.

A newspaper article mentions that the zippers in the sleeping bags sometime did not work.

It could not have been fun to be there as a teenager when the equipment is not working freezing during the nights.


583. New Vision Wilderness Therapy

The New Vision Wilderness Therapy program seems to take every teenager in regardless of what the problem is. In a case descriped in the US Observer, a boy ended up in the program because his parents went through a divorce. The judge handling the case punished the boy because his parents could not agree on visitation. The boy did not commit any crime but Judge Judge Gerking decided to confine the boy as result of his parents problems. About 90 days where the boy was denied contact with parents, extended family, school and friends.

To make matter worse the wilderness program did not commit the boy to a local hospital for treatment when the boy experienced health problems. Why the authorities allow treatment in the field conducted by biased doctors or medical staff is very unclear. In 2009 a boy died in the very same area in another wilderness program operating in the exact same way as New Vision Wilderness Therapy. The authorities should have made more clear rules which allow teenagers in such program access to independent treatment in hospitals if they experience health issues while they are out in the wilderness.

Pure luck prevented tragedy in this case. In other news it can be read that the firm seems to be very critical against the trans-gender community.

It cannot be fun to be there as a teenager.


543. Rite of Passage Wilderness Camp, Nevada

When state officias visited the Rite of Passage Wilderness Camp located near the Walker River Indian reservation near Shurz, Nevada, they found that boys were intentionally denied clothing adequate for the harsh conditions, routinely assaulted by staff, and deprived of meals.

The lack of oversight of the children in the program who has placed in foster care in California resulted in changes in procedures.

However it cannot remove the fact that it could not have been fun to be there as a teenager.


542. Woodside Trails Therapeutic Camp, Texas

In 2004 the police saved 22 foster kids from a private run wilderness camp in Bastrop County, Texas.

Two employees at the camp were charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first-degree felony. The camp was closed down by the authorities. The juridical process were complicated and the closure of the camp ended up in backers of the program having tried to white wash the ordeals the boys of the camp had to endure. What became of the truth is impossible to say today.

It could not have been a fun place to be as a teenager.


541. Camp Horizon, Baldwin County, Texas

In 2015 a story was published on various news sites that a 15 year old boy allegedly assaulted a camp counselor and raped her. Now a year later the authorities are investingating the alleged victim about the theory that the so-called rape in reality was about gaining access to disability funds.

At the same time the county who ran the camp decided to outsource the daily operations of the camp to a private company called Pathway, which is now under investigation by human rights group in order to find out whether the teenagers will be safe as many for-profit has profitted from lack of oversight basically warehousing juveniles for the lowest costs possible.

Falsely being accused for rape combined with lack of oversight makes it safe to claim that it wasn’t a fun place to be as a teenager in the past and properly will not be that in the future.


528. Q-Courage wilderness trip year 2000

In year 2000 the municipality of Odense paid DKK 700,000 for sending a number of at-risk teenager to a wilderness camp in Sweden. The activities resulted in conviction of 4 teenagers after a riot caused by violent behaviors of the counselors. No employee were charged as the police faced difficulties investigating the incident which took place on foreign territory.

The Swedish police didn’t investigate the actions of the employees either making Sweden a fine dumping place for Danish authorities who wants to keep their problems at arms length.

However due to the medias critical coverage of the actions of the employees the municipality of Odense discontinued their relationships with Q-Courage hoping to quiet the scandal and misuse of taxpayers money down.

It could not have been fun to be there as a teenager.

Sources (in Danish)