Ridge View Youth Services Center was under contract with the Colorado Department of Human Services to take in minors who were coming from more restricted facilities. Investigation and supervision over some years showed that the facility was not run in a perfect way.
Reports showed multiple reports of abuse and neglect, including marijuana smuggled into the center and an inappropriate relationship between a teenage boy and a female staff member.
It the authorities decided to close the facility down which sounded like a good idea. But the way they conducted the shutdown resulted in chaos and 4 minors escaped the facility and made the choice of a life on the streets.
It was not a fun place to be as a teenager when it was open and the shutdown became no walk in the park either.
First located in Kanab and later in Spanish Fork in Utah this boarding school for pregnant girls was shown to be involved in some kind of adoption business which caused 3 pregnant teenagers to attack the staff and escape in order to provide a better future for their children that the children would have experienced if the girls had remained at the facility. Pretty babies are a good business and very easy money with few questions asked.
The owners was reported to have ties to the infamous WWASP organization.
It cannot be fun to end up as a pregnant teenager in such a place.
Girls were missing from the school and the media speaks of use of corporal punishment. It is clear that the schools use of mock exams and the use of an odd system where the schools unlike Danish school not focus as putting as many through the schooling based on quantity rather than quality pushes the students too hard.
Focus needs to on the social heritage of the students. There is not something called fulfilling their potential. Children from working class families often tend to have shorter education than parents with a more academically background. No boarding school can make a difference in that fact.
When they try as hard as they did at Stephjoy Girls School, they only create unhappy students and then it is no longer fun to be there as a teenager.
The school closed in 2015 due to a fire which struck a dormitory. Investigation showed lack of standard regarding fire regulations.
- Blame game as disasters stalk Stephjoy Girls School (Mediamax news)
- Three Stephjoy Boys High School students to be charged with murder of colleagues (Daily Nation)
- School closed after missing students, dormitory fire (Citizens Digital)
SK Tohoi is a residential school located near Sungai Perias in Malaysia. In 2015 a number of boys was found dead less than a kilometer from they boarding school. They had escaped due to risk of severe punishment for acts not explained in the articles which covers the tragedy. The cause of deaths also don’t seem to have much interest by the authorities.
The death of five of the seven indigenous Orang Asli children caught media attention and it sparked an investigation into the conditions offered to the children with these ethnic origins.
It is safe to say that it could not have been fun to be at the school as a teenager. Well if the children survived to be a teenager at all.
Alpine Academy sometime mentioned as Utah Youth Village is located near Erda in Utah.
Recently this facility housed the daughter of a deceased well-known composer and singer whos name we are not going to name due to the privacy of the daughter.
In 2009 a house-parent was charged with various crimes due to his intimate relationship with one of the girls.
In 2011 ran from the facility. She was killed during a police shoot-out involving her boyfriend.
It doesn’t seem like a fun place to be as a teenager.
Sometime you have to endure something to achieve something. For two teenagers it meant that they had to live in prison for years. But still many think that it was a better outcome than staying additional months at Maximum Life Skills.
Unfortunately an innocent counselor died during the events which led to their imprisonment – A man with so much potential whose life was cut short. This counselor was led down by the management. The other teenagers forced to live at the facility was led down forced to witness the terrible events.
The state of Utah closed down Maximum Life Skills. They had not secured proper paperwork when they took in out-of-state students. They had not employees in the right number working at all time 24-7.
It seems odd that the manager in charge now runs Second Chances located in LaVerkin. Maybe it is only a question of time before the next tragedy happens.
It could not have been fun to be there as a teenager.
The High Frontier located outside Fort Davis in Texas. In 2002 some boys ran from the facility and ended up in a hospital due to intake of drugs found during their run.
A former resident wrote:
I was sent here as a child and had a terrible experience. Most of the staff has no business being around children… I still can’t trust people after the experience. I think that if my parents had found a better place for me I would have actually learned some coping skills and maybe worked through my problems instead of learning to fear people and their abuse. 😦 There are other great programs out there, but this is not one of them.Anna T.
It seems that it is not a fun place to be as a teenager.
- Teen runaway hospitalized, three remain jailed (Pecos Enterprise archive)
- Reviews (Yelp)
- High Frontier – Fort Davis – Texas – investigation thread (Fighting Institutional Child Abuse Network)
Various sources speak of the program moving to Montana which was a state where there were no regulation and protection of children in residential programs until recently. While based in Montana, the program operated under the name “Big Sky Academy”. The manager in charge should be a person named John McKay. Big Sky Academy seems to have been closed in 2020.
Reviews found on Yelp seem to support this:
I started out at high frontier down in Texas. Then they moved us up to Montana. both locations were terrible but Montana was absolutely trash. first of all my group leader Matt had no idea what he was talking about. he tried to keep kids there longer for their money. Also the kitchen did not get their cooking license until about 3 months after we arrived to Montana, so we were stuck eating gross gluten free sandwiches. Some of the staff didn’t care about us as teens. Some staff let their relationships get in the way of their job. Now that I’m home I had to wait about 2 months for my check that I worked for 20.5 months for to come. Also tom said that they would ship out my clothes that I left there. that was about 2.5 almost 3 months ago. so please don’t send your kids here and please don’t work here. the hours are long and you don’t get a lot of sleep.Ben G.
If you care about your child, please do not send them here. To say it’s a cult is an understatement. The founder of the academy wrote a book “Positive Peer Culture” and these people religiously follow it. The administration also brainwashes the parents of the students so that they will keep their kids there longer (each month your kid is there profits them about $20000). Because it’s basically a cult, the campus itself is miles away from civilization and the kids are cut off from all outside communication other than with their parents at allotted times. They malnourish the kids so they don’t have energy to run or do anything beyond the robotic daily tasks. They strip search the minor teenagers down to their underwear and they watch them sleep. It’s miracle how this is even legal. If you think your kid is depressed at home, sending them to this hell in earth will only worsen the depression. Please for the love of God dont traumatize your children and make them resent you by sending them here.Aaron S.
Resolution Ranch is a boys ranch located outside Cameron in Texas. In 2011 the ranch attracted notice in the media because two boys who ran from the ranch were hit by a train. Fortunately they survived.
A former resident wrote:
I would not recommend Resolution Ranch to any family. The facility is not at all as you see on their website. In our experience, none of the staff performed in a professional manner or seemed well qualified for the tasks at hand. I did not find them to be kind or caring toward the boys that were there. The employees that dealt with the boys on a daily basis were past jailors and in one instance a baker at Walmart. The boys were locked into their dormitory in the evenings from the outside. If there was some type of emergency the boys would not be able to get out without someone unlocking the doors from the outside. While our son was there we found out they were under investigation from the Texas Licensing Division for violations. One of the accusations was that one of the administrators had actually beaten a boy in the bathroom. We had the opportunity to speak with the agent from the state on several occasions, but are not aware of the resolution since we removed our son. The schooling that they brag on did not transfer with our son once he was back in regular public school. The director of education at the time had a record of being arrested for a drug charge and her teaching license had been suspended by the State of Texas. I would just recommend that before you place your child in this facility, check them out. Check out their employees and teachers. That’s exactly what we did as it is all public record – unfortunately we didn’t do that until after our son had been placed there. In my opinion this is just not a good place if you want your child to become a happy, healthy functioning human being. Look elsewhere. This is just a few of my personal experiences with this awful facility. They showed a great interest in their monthly income not the kids.Tammy Krause S.
However putting the boys in a so desperate state that they choose to run risking life threatening injuries make it safe to state that it cannot be fun to be there as a teenager.
- Train Strikes Two Teenage Runaways From Central Texas Boys’ Ranch (KWTX news)
- Resolution Ranch Academy (Reddit r/Troubled Teens)
- Two runaways hit by a train – again (Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora)
Phoenix Outdoor was a wilderness program located in North Carolina. A number of teenagers ran despite the dangers of running around in the wilderness where they could be prey for animals or freeze to death during the winter as it just happened last month to a 17 year old boy in another program.
It didn’t sound like a fun place to be as a teenager.
The program was merged together with another program operated by the same owner.
A 15 year old girl was sent to camp after she failed school and acted out. A weekend in the snow cured her or at least so her parents believed. Once she turned 18 she disappeared from the home of her parents leaving a note behind about a cruel weekend. Now her parents sit and rant on a message board where all the parents try to parenting 1950-style in a modern world.
One former participant writes:
Over a decade ago I went to a place called Midcourse Correction Challenge Camp in SE Michigan. Long and short of it I had this shit beat out of me and I’m still dealing with what happened to me with flashbacks, dreams and other PTSD symptoms. Don’t let the name fool you it is a military style boot camp and not a “challenge camp” I know many of you have it much worse as you were in residents settings and mine was 46 hours. I know there are others who dealt with this place and had similar experiences. Are there other posters who went to this camp? As far as I know this is the only weekend program like this in the whole country. I wish I could report them and sue them but it’s been so long I’m not sure anymore.
Another mentions on Facebook:
When I went to this camp I was beaten and abused very badly. The drill instructors kept me up all forcing me to do calisthenics until I collapsed after which they would beat me using a for of martial arts called CDT, I was black and blue all over my body. The abuse continued into the next day as well. It's been 15 years and I still have PTSD, suffer from regular flashbacks, severe anxiety and can't go more than a few weeks without a nightmare. I never will be able to trust anybody fully ever again. Please keep your kids safe from these abusive people
A local newspaper speak of a 14-year-old who had to be found by the police.
In 2021 Livingston Daily published an article addressing some of the issues about the program.
It doesn’t sound like a fun camp to attend as a teenager.
- Emptynester and sad.. (Conductdisorders)
- Two 14-year-old boys arrested after escaping from Forest Township boot camp (Mlive)
- How a boot camp for troubled teens in Livingston County works for some. And definitely not others (Livingston Daily)
- Weekend Challenge Camp Abuse (Reddit Troubled Teen support group)
- Facebook Reviews of the program (Some influence by employees manipulate the overall result)