Friday, November 19, 2010

Ashley at Spring Creek (From

This story was originally written on a webpage called, which sadly is not online anymore properly because the boarding school closed sometime in 2009. All rights and credits goes to the author Ashley, who posted the original story on

When the strangers in the car finally told me where we were headed, my whole world stopped. I knew exactly what thye meant when theyb said, Montana. I instantly thought of the worst, my parents friend’s son had already been there about a year, and I hadn’t heard a word from him since he left, he seemed to kind of just vanish off the face of the earth. I quickly rearranged my thoughts and realized this boy, Mason was also an alcoholic, hippie weed smoking violent run away. I never did anything like that. In fact why was I going there anyway?? My parents must be overreacting, do they know what they are doing, I hadn’t been an ideal daughter, but I didn’t do anything to warrant this. I noticed the bag in the trunk my mother must have packed while I was gone, it wasn’t very big just a small weekend duffel bag. I instinctively asked what the shortest amount of time I could be there if I was compliant was. Three weeks is the minimum, three weeks ok a little longer than I had hoped, buit not horrible ill just follow all the rules and get out of this ‘program’ as soon as I came in, ill just say what they want me to say and be back with my boyfriend Jason in no time, this wont be too bad I tried to tell myself. Between my sobs and gasps for breath I asked more questions, can I use their phone? When do I get to talk to my parents? Do I have to wear a uniform? How long will it take to get there? Every single question that came out of my mouth I later learned was answered with a flat out lie. The only thing I believe they did tell me that was true was the mace and handcuffs they had incase I ‘gave them any trouble’

They offered me some chips and normal snack food, during the 12 hour ride, but I was in such shock I couldn’t even consider eating and wanted to talk to them as little as possible, I decided to just try and sleep, maybe in a few hours I will wake up from this dream.

Never had I felt so dependant and untrusted. Child locks on the dorrs, escorts to the restroom, and the first time I could ever remember not having my cell phone with me, I didn’t know how to react. Finally at about 3 or 4 the next morning they announced we had arrived. I was so nervous not knowing at all what to expect, I tried to take it all in but my mind was occupied by my extreme need to urinate. We parked the car and I could hear one of the escorts talking to some woman outside. They were clearly talking about my and I was slightly relieved to hear him say “she was very compliant, no problems at all.” Id started out on the right foot, just play my cards right and ill be out in a matter of weeks.

I recalled my immediate urge to use the ladie’s room, so another lady walked me down the road to a colorful cabin, where I was informed a group of girl just got the privelage of painting it – there were handprints everywhere with names underneath. I didn’t know what to think until I went into the stall , as I was preparing relieve myself I examine this place….. it could hardly be called a restroom, thank good ness there was plumbing that worked most the time, and there was no pressure in the sinks, I didn’t think it appeared too bad until I noticed the feces stains on the floor and walls, and the used tampons in hidden nooks and crannies, I thought I was going to gag so I did my business as quickly as I could and left.

That night really was a blur, some things I remember as though it were yesterday others I couldn’t recall if was paid to. So ill tell you what I do remember. We went inside this trailer on the side of the road which appeared to be some sort of office, that is where we began the first part of my ‘intake’ the strangers and the car I arrived in suddenly disappeared and I was left alone, somewhere in Montana, in the middle of a forest.

I remember getting my picture taken, I refused to smile at the camera and I looked like death after being in the car for so long and so late at night, there were questions that never ended and a few I didn’t understand the purpose of. They stripped me of any money, identification, and jewelry. The staff members constantly talked to each other as though I wasn’t in the room, when in fact I heard every word they said. Despite the circumstances, my naturally optimistic outlook on life tried to bring in some comic relief, whenever I said anything they looked at me as though I had just shot the president, then ignored my comment and continued with their conversations.

It wasn’t much later I was being escorted with a laundry basket full of necessary items my mother had sent with me such as a toothbrush and undergarments. We walked at 3 in the morning to a cabin where I would join the ‘charity family’. There were approximately 6 girl and 6 boy familys in the lower levels (1-3). All with names that describe characteristics we were to be striving to aquire: destiny, innocence, courage, dignity, integrity etc.

Once we arrived at the cabin they showed me my bed, or more like a board with an 2 inch mattress. And went to wake up a another girl on the top bunk, named Randi., she became my ‘intake buddy’ they put me through odd procedures, I didn’t even have to go through when I was at a mental facility a year earlier. I was required to take off all my clothes, and jump up And down to make sure I had nothing hiding in any….cavaties I then took a shower and learned how to make my bed, and was given permission to go to bed…at 3 or 4 in the morning on march 3rd 2005.

It would take an eternity to go into detail of my every day while staying at SCL yet I feel as though it would be hard to fully express my feelings towards this ‘residential facilities’ without it. I’m in a bind and don’t know how to find a solution, ill just begin and say what I can.

I spent countless sleepless nights….due to many different factors. One night we had streakers, often girls acted as though they were at a 7th grade sleepover and ran around our cabin squealing and having pillow fights, we’ve been invaded by ‘support staff’ because they were determined to pull a young girl from off of her top bunk, because she ‘needed to go to intervention’, often I couldn’t sleep because my ‘bunk buddy’ above me was moving and moaning while pleasuring herself in the middle of the night.

These things don’t sound to be pleasant, but by no means are desired. That’s the point. Things that we did to each other weren’t all that bad, the problem is when the staff intervened, for often no particular reason “Tough love” that’s what they called it. Tough, ok I get that part but when does the love come in?

My parents as well as thousands of others have fallen into the trap of a helpless parent at the end of the road, they didn’t know what to do- and I cant blame them. I really was out of control, and they didn’t know how to handle me, yes I was disrespectful to them, myself, and my body. I was 17 and thought I knew everything. I wont try to deny any of it I know how I acted, and I did need help. They thought they were giving me the help I needed, after I finished being so angry I was actually glad to receive their help…the only problem was my parents weren’t giving me what I needed.

These schools, programs, facilities, camps, whatever they call themselves manipulate and lie. Not just to the students, but to our parents, the media, and to themselves. They use many if not all of the same brainwashing techniques as cults do which can take months to reverse the impractical thinking processes.

Maybe it wouldn’t even be so bad if we were forced to go and eventually sent home, but the reality of it is you never go home. Ever since that summer in 2004 I will never be the same. I as well as many others suffer from symptoms of Post traumatic stress disorder, both from the actual program I attended and the sudden ‘kidnapping’ of the strangers that charge my parents thousands of dollars to unexpectedly force me to get into their car with threats of handcuffs and pepper spray if I didn’t comply; then lie to me the whole way there and drop me off somewhere in the middle of the woods.

Its hard to recall the experiences I had while attending Spring Creek Lodge Academy, one of the WWASPS programs in north-west Montana, because I’ve spent so long trying to block out the painful memories of mental abuse. I must say, I did get out lucky. I never was physically hurt by staff, and was able to go home only 4 months after being there, nearly a record compared to my fellow prisoners.

Many people consider it a good thing I was never physically harmed, and I am grateful but I’m not always sure I’d prefer mental abuse, especially when I already had deep emotional problems. The theory was sort of a ‘break you down to build you back up’ idea. I never really understood why I had to be broken to be made whole again instead of just starting from where I was.. But I complied for awhile because I knew it was the only way to get home. I honestly believe some of the staff members there got more joy out of the ‘breaking down’ part than the ‘building up’.

Every day for months I was reminded that I make mistakes but wait…doesn’t everybody? no, just me. Just us the ‘program kids’ we ruined our families lives, we made them go bankrupt paying for our ‘rehabilitation’ we hurt them so badly with the ways we treated them. They used the term ‘accountability’ often….and often in places where it wasn’t appropriate, YOU must be accountable for the guy who raped you, it was your fault for ‘being in that position.’ There was a certain ‘lingo’ or type of jargon to the different camps, they used awkward words different from people in the normal world, I would often write my mom and she would respond asking what half my letter meant, I was beginning to sound like a zombie, a clone, a robot…..exactly what they wanted.

The industry distorts figures saying ”this many percent of all parents are satisfied with their child’s success” sure our parents our satisfied, at these prisons we didn’t get ‘fixed’ the only things we got better at was hiding our unwanted actions. By some sort of miracle I was able to find just about all the girls that were in my ‘family’ up at SCL. And I can only think of one of them who haven’t at least gone back to their old ways (including myself) and most have only gotten worse. I’ve now been out for 2 and a half years and being one of the older girls, I’ve been able to witness myself and my friends grow up. We do learn from our mistakes, it just takes some more time than others. At that point in my life, I wasn’t happy. I did the things I did for various reasons, and my parents knew I had clinical depression. They sent me away hoping they would help to solve my problems the way the mental hospital did years earlier with my problems of self-mutilation, and bulimia. What that hospital did for me in four days, could never compare to the months I spent in Montana.

Many girls were raped, and I understand the need for talking about it, and getting through that emotional problem, but what help will it do to hold her down while a man comes in pretending to rape her while people are screaming in your ear, “you whore! Slut! I cant believe you are just letting him do this to you! You skank!” This kind of ‘therapy’ does not help anyone and has been proven to be harmful. Meanwhile Karlye in the cabin over has just hung herself and you are forbidden with severe consequences to speak her name or anything about her or the incident. If we ignore it do they think her memory will just go away. Well I wont let Karlye or her life be ignored any longer, children are going through this type of abuse everyday and most of America doesn’t even know it exists, I’ve committed to do all I can to stop other youth from going through these traumatizing experiences

+If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem+

Spring Creek Lodge Academy closed sometime in 2009

Datasheet about the boarding school at Fornits Home for Wayward Web Fora

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