Author Topic: Ashcreek Ranch Academy  (Read 1360 times)

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Offline Oscar

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Ashcreek Ranch Academy
« on: December 22, 2017, 10:40:09 AM »
It seems that a new revision of the Fornits Wiki page is overdue

First there is this testimony on reddit:
Quote
Throughout my "treatment experience" which consists of one wilderness program (TRAILS) and two RTCs (Waypoint and Ashcreek) Ashcreek was by far the worst thing I had to go through. Every single aspect of the program is centered around money (it costs 10k a month), they will take as many shortcuts as they can and keep you there as long as possible just to ensure they're getting what they want. The owners and therapists have no interest in the lives of the students at all, and they act completely different around parents and tours that come to make sure nobody gets pulled, and to try to get as many new kids as possible, even though it was horribly overcrowded when I was there. There were barely enough beds to fit everyone, and people were forced to stand since there weren't enough seats. This also had a large effect on the food, as we got served small portions of pre-cooked or frozen food. We rarely ever went on activities, and when we did they were usually free hikes that lasted for around half an hour. We had little free time, but the majority of it consisted of sitting on worn down couches and talking (not to mention our conversations were monitored closely by the staff). You weren't allowed to talk poorly about the program, otherwise the staff and therapists would get mad at you, and if you complained about it to your parents in a letter or a phone call, the therapists would convince your parents that you were trying to manipulate them. Most of our time was spent working on a ranch, which was supposed to build responsibility and improve your relationship skills with "equine therapy". In reality we rarely ever interacted with horses, and when we did it just involved cleaning up their shit. We spent 4-6 hours during the weekdays at the ranch, and 8 on the weekends, and nearly all of this time consisted of doing chores around the ranch for the owner. But of course, when the parents came around, or it was time to send photos of us, we would all of a sudden get to ride the horses or do fun things. This is completely unacceptable on their part, straight up lying to the parents and making them think we're actually changing is horrible. The education was also very poor. School was 4-6 hours a day, and all we would do was read out of outdated textbooks and complete quizzes after finishing a chapter. Some of the teachers are incompetent, there's no way they would actually be able to teach at a real boarding school, or even a public school. On the other hand, some of the teachers tried to do the best with what they had, and tried to make things good for us. The same can be said with a lot of the staff, many of them genuinely cared and were actually good people. Unfortunately, the therapists and administration were not, which is why the program is so ineffective and wrong. One of the worst things I saw happen to a kid (who happened to be my best friend there) was after he tried to give himself a tattoo. After hearing this from another student (students would often snitch on each other to get the therapists and staff to like them, since it meant they could level up and leave faster) his therapist and one of the lead staff kept him locked up in a room in the basement for a week straight. During this time, he was not allowed to talk to anybody, he couldn't do anything besides sit there (not even sleep), and he could only leave the room to go to the bathroom. Keep in mind, he had no intentions of hurting himself, anybody else, or doing anything really wrong. I consider that level or isolation abuse, and it shouldn't be allowed anywhere (but of course it is in Utah). The students operate in a level system that consists of four levels. The therapists decide when you're "ready" to level up, but in reality you're "ready" when you've been there a certain amount of time. After all, they can't let kids leave too soon or they won't get enough money! The level privileges and stuff are pretty basic: off-campus visits at level two, overnight visits at level three, and home visits at level four. Most people are there for 10-16 months, I luckily got out in four months, but only because I did not return from a home visit. The worst part about this place is how they advertise and portray themselves; it's despicable. They feel the need to constantly remind you about how great Ashcreek is, and how it's so different from all the other programs (WHEN IN REALITY IT'S LITERALLY THE EXACT SAME THING AS EVERY OTHER RTC). They pretend like they do nothing wrong. They act as if they're a gift from god. Under this mask, however, is just another horrible place run by unqualified businessmen that see a chance for a lot of money. Hopefully this helps, if anyone has any questions, feel free to ask me.

Could be formatted better but that is another story.

But the Google reviews are not that much better.

Offline Oscar

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Re: Ashcreek Ranch Academy
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2017, 10:49:23 AM »
Here is one

Quote from: Google review - BronzePug
Ashcreek Ranch Academy is truly the worst experience of my 17 years on this planet. Worse than when I was bullied and suicidal, worse than when I wasn't allowed in my own home because my family was afraid of me. It is run by greedy power-hungry pigs absorbed in their own wealth. Darren Prince is NOTHING but a good salesman. He manipulates any parent that takes a tour of ARA. The amount of lies that are told by the administration is repulsive and shameful. I was bullied while at Ashcreek by students AND staff. I admit that I did feed the fire at some points. But when a group of students urinated on my bed and clothes the staff did nothing to find out who it was or punish them. I have been verbally abused at times and berated by staff. There have been times where staff have restrained me and used excessive force when none was necessary. Those times remind me of the videos where a police officer shoots someone because he was "resisting" when the suspect was not, the officer was looking for an excuse to use that force. The staff are highly unprofessional, I have personally heard a 21 year old staff make sexual remarks about a students 15 year old sister. This same man also sexually harassed female staff and glorified drugs and sex. He has said that he wanted to hit his wife and talked about his sexual encounters with her. I strongly encourage parents to find another program. Your son will be emotionally traumatized and will NOT make therapeutic progress. I have seen many kids leave or graduate this place and only know of two that are sober. Parents, when you talk to a student of Ashcreek and they say positives about the program that is because they a scared of the consequences of saying negative things. There have been staff that would intentionally humiliate students. I was forced against a wall and made to stand nose to the corner because I didn't want to vacuum. The program is built upon a mountain of lies. Darren Prince constantly tells us and parents about projects that will be finished with in a month, and they never get finished. For example, the transitional living home, we were supposed to have kids living there in mid February, but that never happened. There are numerous examples of discrimination of students, or rude comments made about a student's sexual orientation or race. The residential director, Dave Saldana, has made derogatory comments about gay students, calling them sexual predators. I asked Dave if a student with a turban would be allowed to wear it inside, and Dave responded by saying "Hell no! I wouldn't even let and of them in here! Freaking terrorists!" I was being questioned by Dave Saldana at one point about personal stuff. He asked a question I was not comfortable answering, so I told him "I don't have to tell you that, you're not my therapist." He promptly escorted me to the basement and forced me to sit in a chair and stare at a wall for about 2 hours while he used his iPad. This program emotionally traumatized me and did not help. When I was pulled I told my parents about the injustice and they were enraged. Ashcreek will milk every penny they can out of you, the parent. They will lie to you about your son's progress and tell you he needs to stay longer. Parents, I STRONGLY encourage you to find another program, I do believe treatment can help, but I don't believe Ashcreek is the right place for anybody. Please email me if you have any more questions about the multitudes of injustices Ashcreek does.

Quote from: Google review Graham Tamaro
I attended Ashcreek Ranch Academy for 9 long miserable months. If you are looking for your child to tell you they'll be sober and tell you what you want to hear, this is the place for you!

The first week of my stay I expressed my desire to smoke weed again once I was out of the school. My initial thoughts of the place was that they were there to help you. At first sight the staff and administration seem trained, kind, and helpful. I was talking personally to a staff there about how I wanted to improve my life and stay sober off other drugs, but weed and alcohol was something that I didn't really view as a problem for myself. Also an important piece of information is I had spend 3 months prior in a wilderness program where I feel like I had worked on myself a lot and "fixed" my problems as well as I could. Not even a day after this conversation, word has already spread around to multiple staff and my therapist of my opinions on using these substances. I tried explaining my viewpoint to my therapist and was shut down and basically told that if I didn't 100% want to get sober and do everything they said then I would never get to go home. So what did I do? I bullshitted my way through the entire program and came home and started back well. This was not because I wanted it, but more for fear that I would be sent back. After I was finally graduated and knew I wouldn't have to go back, I started right back up. My life is and has been for the past few months a lot better, but not because of ashcreek, because I wanted it for myself.

Sending your child away won't fix them. Obviously there have been success stories, but of my whole time there I saw about 10% of the kids that I came in to contact with go out and do what their parents wanted for them, and most of those kids already wanted it for themselves. If you do feel like there are no other options, I would NOT recommend ashcreek. I was there during a previous reviewers (Noah's) stay, and I can confirm many of what he said such as watching him get discriminated multiple times for his sexuality, a boys wrist got broken during an unnecessary restraint and the problem was never addressed, staff would constantly lost their tempers, cuss, and yell at the students for things they did "wrong."

I cannot stress enough my lack of faith in this program. I belive that the people who run it are good people and it seems like a promising option, but in the end it's still a business and their main focus is expanding and making money. The kids are just their pawns they'll use to make the money they desire. So please don't send your kid here. I can confirm that the therapists there are more concerned about shaping you into their kind of ideal child rather than actually try to teach you how to be happy and deal with life's difficulties. I understand sending your child away to a program like this is a really hard decision and something nobody wants to do, but I don't think it should ever be something to resort to. In order for people to truly learn and grow, it has to be through experience, not through middle aged sober drug addicts who have completely different lives than you.

Quote from: Google review - noah hoge
DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO ASHCREEK RANCH ACADEMY.

I had a 2 month stay at ARA (May-June 2015) and it was the absolute worst period of my life. I was pulled from the program by my parents because I was being discriminated upon for my sexuality, not by students, but surprisingly by STAFF.
Please note that the majority of the staff at ARA are Mormon (nothing is wrong with that) but they push their beliefs on the students.

In my 2 month stay, I observed horrific things.
 - staff broke a kid's wrist while restraining him (when the kid was NOT fighting against the restraint)
The issue was put down-low and no staff were fired or suspended for any time.
-Horse mistreatment/cruelty
Ranch staff aggressively hitting, kicking, elbowing horses when the horses were of no harm. Horses are never cleaned, brushed, washed, etc.
-Staff cussing at students.
I was personally called a dumb-ass several times by staff at the ranch. I also heard terrible vulgar words being thrown at students in the house by house staff.
- When ARA was being visited, the staff forced all of us students to pretend to be happy and go out and do activities around the house to make the program look good.
-I was told by many staff of ARA that my sexuality was wrong and I should not be who I am. I was laughed at, joked about, and yelled at by staff.
-Staff teaching about natural psychedelic plants around the house which resulted in an epidemic of several students taking the plants and getting high off of them to a very dangerous extent. The natural psychedelic plant was poisonous to the liver.
-Staff taking belongings from students and hiding them away and never giving them back such as shoes, clothing, books, etc.
-All food is from the freezer (completely unhealthy)
-Staff yelling at students harshly which creates a negative vibe around the house

All students at ARA are miserable. When I was there, the only thing that got us all through the program was each other. The staff were terrible to us so we ONLY had each other.

ARA was a horrible and awful experience for me. After being transported out of ARA, I was put in a treatment program in Puerto Rico called Surfhouse, where I am doing great and have created a better relationships my family and friends and my life is headed in the right direction.

Don't make a mistake and send your child to ARA. Your family and your son deserve much better.

Best wishes to all of you on your journey.

Quote from: Google review - Justin Salmon
I am a former student of ashcreek. I first came there in the beginning of 2013 and was there for 15 months. I hated it, and I loved it. But as far as treatment, I learned most of my knowledge of drugs just living there. I was sent for a minor drug issue and walked away from there with the mind of a pharmacist. Upon graduation, I did not go directly home and instead attended school at the local high school and lived with associates of Ashcreek. After another year of living a semi free life in the local town, I returned back to my hometown. After being gone for 3-4 years, I basically had to jump back into normal life, without warning, resulting in a methamphetamine addiction along side with other "hard" drugs that I had never used prior to Ashcreek. I will say that I graduated the program, and learned a lot about horses. But where has it left me? A high school drop out and Junkie? You know it! Just some advise to parents who want to send their kids to a residential home, UNLESS you're kid is so messed up that his life is in danger, don't. Because you might end up turning your kid into the 100lb tweaker on "COPS." ID SUGGEST A PARENT SHOULD SEE A THERAPIST OFFICE before casting their kid out to some program for a year against their will. That causes more damage than good. I have used a different name to conceal my identity due in part because of my drug addiction. I never would have expected to be doing crystal meth and cocaine in high school, therefore, the 7steps had failed and I can't think of any other student besides one who is sober. Kudos to the one, but the rest of us never benefitted from it.

Quote from: Google Review - Noah Seri
My name is Noah Seri.I am on my step brothers account. I just recently came home from a ten month stay at Ash creek. I have a lot to say about this place and the people who run it. First of all, I personally think Tammy Prince (aka Tammy Berhmann) and Darren Prince, the owners of the program, are manipulative, consumed in their own wealth, and deceitful to parents looking to send their kid to ash creek. I saw Darren come in and give tours all the time, making sure to choose the most well behaved students to come and glorify the program. The teachers every time would come and play like puppets when darren was giving tours. The only relationship i have seen Darren build with a student is one where he was taking him to LDS church services every sunday. I witnessed numerous accounts of misconduct during my time at Ash creek. A restraint that resulted in some sort of wrist injury ( the student had a cast for a few weeks), insensitive and religiously biased comments in group therapy about a homosexual student. There was nothing derogatory said, however the program director at the time said that he " didnt agree with the choice to be gay" . He emphasized several times that he believed it was a choice. I personally was shoved into a window by an employee at the ranch, and the glass broke. He did this in reaction to me shoving him in the shoulder ( i meant it playfully, however it was not appropriate on my end) . The staff was put on suspension, came back two weeks later and then left a few months after that and no longer works there. One of Ash creeks policy is that if a student is refusing to do something they are to be restrained physically by bending the wrist, even if that student was not in physical danger to himself or others. Garth Lasater, the clinical director, is a great man who invests personally in each student. He was always kind, proffesional, and respectful. Dave Saldana, the residential director, is also a very open minded man who supports and cares for every kid. Garth actually bought me a pair of sneakers because mine were in poor condition. Another thing is that the food is mostly frozen stuff warmed in an oven by our cook. At one time we were having frozen corn dogs once a week, we still have frozen orange chicken and rice every thursday (as of one week ago when i was there), and little ceasars pizza every friday. The lunch is usually cooked and of higher quality, except for fridays when we ate leftovers in the fridge for lunch. If you are considering sending your kid to ash creek, please be mindful of Darrens intentions, him being the owner of the program. Really investigate if this is the right place for your son. Ive seen this program send many kids home that seem improved, however they boast about their "success rate", which is based off of how many kids graduate the program, not off of their home behavior. I personally know many kids who are home from ash creek who still display similar behaviors, but that being said i think ash creek does teach a lot of good lessons about becoming a man, being less entitled, self sufficient, respectful, and taking accountability for their actions. Unfortunately, i cant say the program itself takes accountability for THEIR actions. I had a lot of struggles at ash creek and that was not the fault at ash creek at all. I relapsed several times and only made it to level 2 in their program. I have been home over a week, i have applied for 3 jobs, i have been attending school every day, communicating well with my family, and i havent touched drugs or cigarettes. Please listen to your kid about what is going on if they are at ash creek, or any other treatment center, and do them the favor of really looking into the place before you send them there. I will say that i have seen ash creek academy attempt to improve as a program. PS: i forgot to mention the academic portion of the program. I passed 9th grade with As and Bs there on time for when i was leaving. How far you progress iin your credits depends on how hard you work. I liked the way the school was run

Quote from: Google review - Ben Crowley
This was my 7th program I have been to, and it definitely is my last. I got into drugs and violence as early as 6 years old, and continued using for 11 years. I was always told by teachers, peers, and therapists that it's impossible for me to not kill myself by the time I was 14, and it took a long time to get over that. Ashcreek is the only program I have been to that didn't starve, beat, neglect, and deprive us of water and sleep. It is also the first place I've heard of that is ran by very religious people, but they were all very understanding that we all come from different backgrounds. In most specs, this place deserves 5/5 stars, except in therapy. I started there with a therapist, Scott, that would blame every problem I had on me, regardless of what the problem was. He was also HIGHLY manipulative and misleading towards me and my parents. I eventually had to get a second therapist, who was a little better. The main issue I had with my new therapist is that he lied to me every day for a month every time I asked if my girlfriend had broken up with me via my parents. Finally, after a month of that, he finally told me in a very good setting, which I did appreciate, and let me take the day off from school and work to calm down. The main problem with that example is that no one told me when they found out. 5 months after they told me, I was using my moms phone and found out that my girl friend broke up with me 2 months prior to telling me the news. After that, I had a hard time trusting any therapists or my parents. I have been all around the country for rehab since I was 13, and I'll tell you from experience, they're are no perfect rehabs. They're are just ones better than the others, and Ashcreek is definitely better than any place I have heard of. My advice, only send your kids here IF NEEDED. My parents wanted to send me away fourth the 4th time for a while, but the last straw is when I OD'd and was legally dead for a few minutes, for the 3rd time. Unless it's a life or death situation, look into alternative treatments (short term treatment centers, intensive out patient, normal therapy, etc.) also, if your son has troubles with addiction, try to understand and accept that he will most likely relapse at least a few times after coming home. It's very normal, and can actually be looked at as a lesson instead of just a f**k up.