Second Nature

If you want your kid to dissapear…want to scar them for life…just get out your checkbook and have them kidnapped and sent to the desert. Give strangers custody of your kids…because yeah, they will do the right thing.



Great Marketing Video preying on a parent’s fears…funny how a testimonial from a teen from the program…I wonder if she feared being sent back if she didn’t agree to the “Testimonial”?



Consuming Thoughts of Food

Ever since the experience I’ve had consuming thoughts of food. As soon as I finish breakfast I ask, “What’s for lunch?”
Constantly worried that there won’t be anything to eat which will leave me hungry.
This week I made lentils for the first time in a VERY long time. Lentils were a staple food item while in Challenger and although I really appreciated their protein factor and that I got a whole two cups of them per week…never do I crave lentils.
My entire time in the desert was food focused. We were basically starving kids…no fresh fruits or veggies unless the one onion and a couple potatoes privided over the 86 day stay counts…they counted then but looking back…it was pitiful.


Chocolate cake, ice cream, pie.

Twinkies, Pringles, burgers, fries…

I could die,

Consuming thoughts of food.


I surprise myself in that I don’t take multiple pictures of my food and post on Instagram like so many people. Above is a photo I took of this amazing soup from dinner in Barcelona. Simple and amazing…if I were back in the desert today…this would be in my food dreams along with some Ample Hill ice cream (located in Brooklyn link here!).

Now, I am off to get some fried chicken for lunch…

The Atlantic’s Article: When Wilderness Boot Camps Take Tough Love Too Far

This article opens with: Troubled teens are occasionally sent to corrective outdoor programs, where they hike for days or perform manual labor. But some parents are saying the physical exertion verges on abuse.

First…I would say that this physical exertion is just the tip of the iceburg of the abuse…so-to-speak. It’s the untrained staff, mental games, the punishments, the parents!

If a parent has their child abducted from their bedroom at 4:30AM they are (regardless of the intentions) abusing their child!

Being forced to hike around in the unforgiving desert. The desert doesn’t care if you love your child. It doesn’t care if your child runs out of water and is lost because the staff doesn’t have adequate training or supplies to keep safe.

PTSD anyone?

I don’t understand how under ANY circumstances hiring someone to abduct your child with a surprise attack at 4:30AM is a good idea. There are other options.

This article is great….just like all the other articles that pop up now and again…my question is…why doesn’t anyone do anything about the human rights abuses in some of these places after all the articles and tv segments that have been done?

Are American teenagers not entitled to human rights? It sure looks that way to me.

Something needs to happen!

The Atlantic Article :When Wilderness Boot Camps Take Tough Love Too Far


25 Years and the Industry is Growing

I need to tell the story of Challenger. It’s beyond upsetting to know that the world knows this is happening yet nobody seems to care enough to do anything about it. We focus on the human right violations on children in other countries while ignoring it at home. Isn’t that always the case? It’s easier to see what someone else is doing wrong. There are a few articles out there but you have to dig.

It blows my mind to think in the year 2014 – with the internet – that parents could easily find out that many of these places are dangerous and really just out to profit from their fear.  How can parents be so stupid? Oh, wait, most of these articles don’t come up if you Google “troubled teen” you may have come across Dr. Phil endorsing these programs….up until recently he most likely made a tidy sum of money doing so….


Excerpt from article written January 30, 2014

Parents Say Dr. Phil Exploited Troubled Teen, by Jonny Bonner from the

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) – Parents claim “showman” Dr. Phil paid to have their teenage daughter locked up at a “private prison” where her arm was mangled in a melee with a math teacher, after the girl saw a lover killed as they had sex and then was caught seeking sex online.
Terri and David Myers sued the Dr. Phil Organization, Bain Capital, CRC Health Group, Aspen Education Group, Island View Academy and math teacher Ryan Mortensen, in Federal Court.

Full Version of Article about Dr. Phil here

Vice  wrote an article about the Troubled Teen Industry…a great article highlighting the major issues in the industry…yet…more than a year later… Continue reading

Nothing in the News

There are so many people who have been “taken” to wilderness programs and other troubled teen programs….yet there is so little in the news. It kills me to think there are kids – right now- who are in one of these programs. Human right violations you would NEVER think could happen in the United States are happening right now….and parents are paying for this!

I don’t get it. I just can’t wrap my head around how the abuse is allowed to continue.

Below is an article from January 2014 about a girl’s experience….




Letters: August 5

August 14


Well I am glad to hear that everything is going good at the Cape. I am always wondering where you and everyone is and what time on such and such day. I figured you went painting on Tuesday mornings, guess not.

If you and Winnie need some help on dieting I’d be more than happy to give you advice. Hike 10 miles a day pushing a handcart and if you don’t have a handcart…hike an extra three miles. I can cook you some low in fat foods – I make killer lentils and ash cakes too.

When I get home, you, me, Alicia and whoever else are going to have a cook out. A real one. On the beach.

When we were at Lake Powell me, Stacey, JR, Katherine, Tommy and Nicole went clamming and got over 100 of them. We fried some up and made chowder. The fried ones were good but the chowder was – Tommy oversalted the chowder – he had 7 bowls. I had 1 ½ (cans really, not bowls). You have to meet this guy…he is always hungry. It’s hilarious. (NG- it’s funny how I wasn’t even self aware enough at the time to realize I was always hungry too).

Continue reading

Letters: August 5

Aug. 5


Hello, what is up? I’m glad you wrote, but I wish what happened to Chris didn’t come in your letter.

I hesitated before reading it – I knew something bad was in it- but I’m glad it wasn’t any of you guys. I just got it yesterday- I’m bummed about it. He was only 19.

I haven’t received mail much for two weeks we go NO mail so I don’t know what is up at the Panguitch post office.

Thanks for the camera- everyone loves it- it’s my toy. I need more film – I am picture happy. Oh the Hi Techs – $50 for two weeks/wrong. Don’t throw away the receipt.

I guess we are just going to have to return them when I get to the Cape. Then spend it on LUNCH or something.

Well, on to gloomy subjects- Will and Lee – I have not upset feelings of not seeing them again. I just want to get back my Ozzy tapes from Kyla’s house. I’ve been over them for quite a while now. I could care less if Lee died and I know Lee is not for me. (NG- I was being overly dramatic – I guess in response to my parents over-dramatic behavior…I was a teenager…that is my excuse).

About boarding school. I want to go  but I don’t know about this St. Mary’s thing. I like more people. I’m not stupid and I don’t need this “special attention”. I am intelligent, Skywalker even said so. I have been around guys for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and most of them are like brothers- some are pains in the – brothers but, I don’t really like the “all Girl” thing – and religion- it reminds me of Notre Dame. Continue reading

Letters: August 4

August 4


I just took this awesome pic just for you. All day today all I have been thinking about is Chris and what happened. I just found out today.

I can’t believe it. How are you doing? How did Jay take it? I had to read it twice before I actually computed it all. I was totally upset.

(NG- Chris was a friend from our town. He was walking home late in the evening and was hit by a drunk driver and was killed.)

I don’t want to think about that anymore. I am sure you don’t want to read more about it either.

I was so scared to write to you  because I thought you didn’t even want to hear from me. Ya know after the way I’ve been all through the school year.  I was such a loser, and not a good friend.

I miss you. I miss how we used to go skating all the time.

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Letters: August 3

Aug. 3

Dear Mom, Dad, Alicia and Scooby, Sheena, Clayton and whoever else I missed,

Well now I am in the last section before I come home. It’s the hardest one, but the best one. Handcarts – man, they are heavy. We’ve gone 40 miles (I think) so far with them and they weigh about 750lbs with six people on one. My team is the best. We’re called, “The Flintstones” and the the other half of the group is called the Rubble’s. Nice, eh? I’m Dino. (woof).

We don’t hike at all today cuz we’ve gone so far so fast. Speed Demons. Man. We are the best group. I love it.

I have an indian name too – Morning Glory. Funny hu? Me? I always get up earlier than most people – sometimes I am up before the sun! Crazy,  huh? It’s going to be weird jumping back into life quick. (NG- I was always up early in the morning because I served as the “look out” for my group as we stole food from the staff. We were so hungry…justified stealing from the people who were responsible for it. One important thing I learned in Challenger was that you had to be manipulative in order to get through it).

The first thing i want to do is cook the family dinner, okay? Then go to long beach – where nobody goes (I have a farmer’s tan, not good).

Are you going to come get me or do I fly in and meet y’all at the airport? I don’t want to keep bothering you but I only have 90 miles til I’m coming home. Two weeks and three days. I NEED to know. All my dreams are messed up. Some nights I see you at the Circle D restaurant and other times you’ve picked me up at the airport. I have to get this straight before my mind goes nuts- crazy- bonkers (I think you’ve got the point). Continue reading