Author Topic: Turn About Ranch (A Rough Guide)  (Read 32057 times)

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Offline idioteque

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Turn About Ranch (A Rough Guide)
« on: November 19, 2004, 06:51:00 PM »
[Note: My time at TAR was voluntary. It resulted from my expulsion from a traditional boarding school that I loved, as a prerequisite for re-enrollment. Also, as an Elan history buff, I was curious about this industry. My experience took place in late Winter to early Spring of 2002.]

I went to Turn About Ranch for "the minimum" 60 days because I began a letter-writing campaign to the educational consultant at the Department of State, my dad's employer. While she did not do anything besides force a stop-payment, it was still welcome.

TAR really ought to be shut down. It isn't brutal in the sense of WWASPS, but it's still incredibly twisted. The isolation, forced labor, antiquated gender roles, and mandatory Baptist instruction are sickening.

For the uninitiated, here's a general break-down of the system:

1st level: IMPACT/ROUNDY

During the first day at Roundy camp students are strip-searched, have their shoes taken away and replaced with old size 14 rubber boots (without laces). They are then told to sit in the dirt, surrounded by a 4x4 circle of rocks with a firepit and a plastic tarp/lean-to supported by cedar branches. They sit there from before dawn to well after, until the Level 2's are sent to bed.

This is called "impact".

During this time they are not allowed to talk (except to ask for water or food) and are forbidden to sleep except when the staff tells them to. They eat breakfast (oatmeal, cooked over their personal camp fire in an old coffee can), lunch ("trail mix," which is shredded coconut, Cheerios, and raisins), and dinner (which can vary from beans & lentils to Ramen noodles, depending on availability and behavior).

They are issued to blue Level 1-2 binder. At this time their only work is to write a letter to their parents, a letter to themselves (to be opened upon graduation), and to wait. Wait until advancement.

Level 2: ROUNDY

The students get their shoes back. Nor do they have to shit under supervision anymore, but it's still in the same port-o-potty (Staff, Boys, and Girls toilets are there, but are unlabeled so humiliation and punishment can be used against anyone using the "wrong one")

Usually after about 3 days the students are taken off of impact. A bath (in a galvanized tub with boiled water, a bar of soap, shampoo, and a disposable BIC razor) is provided. They are now Levels 2's or "twos," but keep the same binder. Their responsibilities are much greater than on impact. They spend most of their time milking cows, carrying water from a creek (punching through the ice if you're lucky enough to be there after November and before April), washing utensils/dishes, collecting eggs, feeding pigs, and doing push-ups twenty five at a time (if they say anything as horrible as "dude"
or "god"). Anywhere on the calendar remotely near winter, they chop firewood. Cords, as they call them, are a necessity for advancement in the Blue Binders. A quota is listed and enforced.

Level 3: The Barn

You get your Green Binder! And a mid-term meeting with your parents, who just might screw you over more if you're not careful. Better slap on a Utahn accent and bury that mouth firmly in between their ass cheeks!

At The Barn, oligarchy rears its ugly head. There is a syllogism to it. Not all students are snitches, but all snitches are students. You have to watch your ass in an entirely new way.

You are allowed to drink flavored beverages now (Kool-Aid, milk, soft drinks as infrequent rewards). You are allowed to see clocks and watch certain movies (The Emperor's New Groove, E.T., The Bridge Over the River Kwai, etc.) during "movie nights" and also you eat more complex food (burritos are a perrenial favorite). However, your mail is still (as always) regulated and newspapers/TV are out of the question.

Your average day will be spent feeding cattle off the back of a truck, feeding goats/chickens/geese/sheep, or even helping an employee move their furniture to a new house. You are free labor and therefor expendable, don't forget that. On Sundays, you're ushered into TAR vehicles and driven to Escalante's Baptist Church for the mandatory services(supposedly not, but on asking not to be included I was threatened with a "level drop").

During this time you will also be included in "groups." During Group you will sit on plastic chairs in a semi-circle and watch people be accused of things, mocked, and subsequently have insults screamed at them. Maybe you'll get to participate in Max Stewart's (the burly Mormon who runs the place) challenge to run from your chair to the corral fence and back again just for the hell of it. If you look at the girls too much he'll accuse you of wanting to make a "TAR baby." To Mormons, sex without reproduction is a foreign concept.

Or in my case, you might get taken for a ride in Stewart's pick-up truck for some personal attention. He told me I was a drug-addict for requesting a continuation for my prescription Eskalith (lithium citrate, for Bipolar Disorder). Thanks for curing my organic brain disorder, Max!

Level 4: The BARN, SOLO, GRADUATION

As a Level 4 you get to serve yourself a plate before anyone else by going behind the counter and scooping slop onto it while helpless Level 3's drool. You also get to sit in on "leadership meetings" in which troublesome students are brought up and solutions are devised. It's a sweet position, but make sure you kiss the right ass or you'll level drop.

During this time you're supposed to complete your Red Binder, which includes assorted equestrian bullshit and anti-drug propaganda from 20 years ago (by the way, these binders are counted as High School credits for some reason).

Eventually, after tormenting your underlings in Levels 1 to 3, you're sent to Solo. Now, Solo isn't as harsh as it used to be. It's still the same one-room, black-painted cabin out in the middle of nowhere that it used to be. The only difference is you don't have to sleep there. Instead you spend your time completing the Solo Binder, which is a reflection on just about everything. You can almost (kinda) get a tan out there, too. This is also the perfect time to smoke any cigarette butts you've found (or sage-brush rolled in notebook paper if you haven't learned to trade well). What, no matches? You should have stole them from the meds booth, you retard, GAWD there's only a fucking basket of them!

But I digress.

This isolation will last perhaps 2 days at the most. Then you'll be welcomed back to The Barn in hushed, secret anticipation of your graduation. Sometimes this is delayed for more than a week, other times it happens within 24 hours. You're then led into a circle outside (or one in The Barn) where your "medicine pouch," some feathers, and some other Indian bullshit are given to you. Then everyone says some stuff and your indulgent, well-fed, affluent parents cry and welcome you back into their (YOUR) family.

You are now free. It took 90 days of no music, no "slang," forced Christianity, having to sing while using the bathroom, hard manual labor, and ingenious mind-games... but you're free. What's in store for you? If you follow Turn About's suggestion; a life of piety and no friendship. Better than smoking weed and premarital sex, right??
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Offline Anonymous

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Turn About Ranch (A Rough Guide)
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2004, 08:06:00 PM »
*bump*
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Offline hurleygurley

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Turn About Ranch (A Rough Guide)
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2004, 06:25:00 PM »
I could barely read your story without getting sick. I've heard other similar ones from TAR. Who was the "educational consultant" for the state Dept. you referred to regarding your letter writing campaign. You may send me a private message or email me at info@troubledteenindustry.org . I'm hunting down anyone in the Utah government who has any open ears or eyes.[ This Message was edited by: hurleygurley on 2004-11-27 15:31 ]
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Offline hurleygurley

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Turn About Ranch (A Rough Guide)
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2004, 06:31:00 PM »
ideotech, check private messages, I sent you one. Thanks.[ This Message was edited by: hurleygurley on 2004-11-27 15:32 ]
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Offline hurleygurley

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Turn About Ranch (A Rough Guide)
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2004, 04:24:00 PM »
Turn About Ranch is an Aspen Education Group owned RTC in Utah.
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Offline idioteque

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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2004, 07:31:00 PM »
Yeah, I replied to your IM. I'm well aware of Aspen's affiliates and franchises.

If anyone wants further, specific information please feel free to send me a private message.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2005, 10:25:00 AM »
There is going to be an American version of Brat Camp:

http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/article/ds18553.html

US 'Brat Camp' in production
Thursday, January 20 2005, 21:09 GMT -- by Neil Wilkes
http://www.sociopranos.com/forums/threa ... &posts=372
ABC is filming a US version of Channel 4's reality hit Brat Camp.
The show follows troublesome teens as they are straightened out by tough taskmasters at an American ranch.
The six-part US series is being produced by Arnold Shapiro and Allison Grodner, the duo behind the American version of Big Brother.
Brat Camp is expected to premiere later this spring.


http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/33026.html
Cruelty of teaching little blighters a lesson, Guantanamo style
IAN BELL February 09 2005
Brat Camp Channel 4, 9.00pm

What are we to do with the younger generation? How can we put a stop to their drug-smoking, their binge-drinking, their incessant exam-taking? I know: let's put them in reality TV shows.

The first surprise with Brat Camp is that it is even legal. I'm not kidding: there is some serious cruelty ? physical and mental ? in this show. Turnaround Ranch in Utah resembles nothing so much as a teenage Guantanamo whose central rule is that "the kids can only come home when the camp says they're ready, or if their parents pull them out."

We are talking about seven British youths, male and female, who have infringed no laws in the United States. We are talking about a regime designed to break them ? involving, to begin with, no running water, no electricity, no mattresses and an open-air "punishment circle". That's before the hard labour ? "the best form of therapy" ? and a forced march through the desert.

Then there's the second surprise: why are the children in this gulag rather than their parents? We met some of the latter, uniformly prosperous and middle class, affecting bafflement because they had produced a bunch of supremely obnoxious brats. "He's going to end up in the gutter, in jail or dead," said one mother, sweetly. What can you do, eh?

Surprise three was the fact that such people had placed their children in the care of a country with the largest per capita prison population in the world. To put it no higher, America doesn't have a lot to teach anyone about rehabilitation. At Turnaround, the teenagers "must ask permission for everything". At the ranch, "complaining about the food is against the rules". The forced march was inflicted, meanwhile, for "non-compliance".

This is the second series of the show, so Channel 4 cannot pretend (the usual excuse) that it is still a social experiment. You can bet, though, that lawyers were crawling all over the contracts and releases before a foot of tape was shot, just in case some smart teenager decided to sue everyone involved to hell. The fact remains that things you wouldn't get away with in a British prison, especially the system of rewards, punishments and continual psychological pressure, were offered up for our entertainment.

There will be those of the serve-em-right school happy to believe that all this is exactly what obstreperous youngsters need. They would have loved Gary, the guard ? sorry, "counsellor" ? whose job it was to teach the youths the "ways of the wild west". He started with horses. Next week, presumably, it will be vote Republican, carry big guns and deny evolution.

I can't wait for the sequel, Brat Camp Sweden, in which troubled teenagers will be given a gruelling crash-course in the history of social democracy until they learn why some countries manage to be civilised and prosperous without recourse to personal firearms, perpetual wars and vindictive penal regimes. For those who don't co-operate, the punishment will be severe: they'll be sent back to their parents.
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Offline HereToHelp05

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Turn About Ranch (A Rough Guide)
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2005, 07:11:00 AM »
I was subjected to the cruel treatments of TurnAbout Ranch 2001. I'm interested in writing to a few different talk shows or news groups (Dateline, 20/20, Oprah, etc.) about my sick and twisted experience and the experiences of others.

Please, if you've been to TurnAbout Ranch in Escalante, Utah, email me. I want to talk with you and share our "survivor" stories. Even if you have no interest in participating in the news shows, I stil want to hear from you.

It's time to speak out.

          Kelly
        fantasticspaztic@yahoo.com[ This Message was edited by: HereToHelp05 on 2005-08-22 21:49 ]
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2005, 10:37:00 PM »
I have to say I'm hesitant about the Oprah angle. Oprah spawned Dr. Phil and Dr. Phil loves to send kids away to abusive programs. Therefor, by proxy, Oprah must be hesitant to feature a program about this trend/epidemic/whathaveyou. I say this because she's been on longer than The Simpsons, which is a whole shitload of episodes, and there hasn't been one brought to my attention that details the horrors of "brat camps" as they are.

Also, the Barbara Walters angle. She and her daughter (used to?) own and operate a very similar program for girls, which makes that network and also the program Dateline partial. I'm not sure if the place got shut down or not, but it seems to have by my recollection.

So this is really an uphill battle. I applaud you no doubt but this is going to take a LOT of lobbying to come to fruition. It's the problem no one wants to fix.
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Offline HereToHelp05

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Turn About Ranch (A Rough Guide)
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2005, 12:46:00 AM »
Hmmm... good point. That certainly puts a damper on things. Perhaps newspaper articles would be more effective than biased TV?

Kelly
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Offline Antigen

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Turn About Ranch (A Rough Guide)
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2005, 10:51:00 AM »
All this is very, very true. In fact I think the whole damned daytime talkshow format is modeled after an encounter group. I can't stands to watch them. They're worse than soap operas, imo.

However, Montel Williams discovered the truth about the industry through firsthand experience and went on to do a very good show about it. Maybe he just has more integrity than the rest. Maybe it's just because he's feeling his mortality here lately. W/e, I'm just thankful that he did that show.

Keep on sending those cards and letters. Make sure and send copies and enquiries to all shows competing for the same times/audiences. Where 60 Minutes will probably never do an honest piece on the industry, Dateline did. Ya' just never know.

They used to burn witches. Today we laugh at them. Today we jail people for marijuana. Tomorrow they'll laugh at us.

--Robert "Rosie" Rowbotham

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"Don\'t let the past remind us of what we are not now."
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Offline Anonymous

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Where are all of the former Turn-About prisoners?
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2006, 08:00:28 AM »
I refuse to use the word "student" 'cause TAR just ain't no school.  Where are you guys?  People are ready to expose this crappy place, but need to hear from you.
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Offline Covergaard

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TAR as we talked about it in Denmark
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2006, 01:35:30 PM »
The "Brat camp II" serie had just been on Danish television and here are some of the reactions.

In our courts some of our soldiers from Iraq have been on trail. Their crime: They have kept suspect terrorist in stress position for hours. As we saw "impact" the youngster had to sit all day. They could not lie back because they would be accuesed for trying to sleep. If that is not a keeping people in a stressful position, I don't know what position that would be called that.

The bapist church thing would be a crime. In Denmark this church is a minor church and forcing someone with a different faith to attend what most Danish people would call an extremism form of Christianity would certainly also be regarded as a crime.

Two years have gone since the serie had been shown. The successes of 5 of them had in some way been confermed. But it seems that we have to wait for the rest to live for some time after they have turned 18.

It seems that they for the most part have lived in fear from being send back. I have to see pictures of one of them just before her 18 birthday and some months after. She was a lovely girl on the first picture (not even her hair was colored) and now she have tatoos and piercings a lot of places even several in her face.

Some of her letters to a friend even showed some kind of manic tone in her answer if one dares to critize her parents decision to send her there. Her parents were god even though I happen to know that one of them accuesed her for pushing them into suicide thoughts.

TAR is a sick place for parents to hide away their responsibilities for those childs they themselves did put into the world.
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Offline Anonymous

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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2006, 11:42:24 AM »
TAR was so much fun. Yeah I didn't learn much, but when you are there 120 days because your mom hates you, you learn how to get along. I lived at the house, I rode every day with the coolest people, Max and I were so tight, I loved all the night staff, things were amazing there. Trust me, there are worse places. Like Hidden Lake Academy where I went for 3 years and is now being sued for 5 million. The people there actually care. THe counselors are retarded, btu I loved it. You jut have to play the game. AND i went back for an extra month when i went home and shit failed. but i fucking loved it there. its my favorite place on earth!
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Offline Covergaard

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I just wonder
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2006, 03:00:53 AM »
First:

Level 1: Impact

You are forced to sit in a circle a full day or more. You are not allowed to lie back. You have just arrived properly by force or tricked to the place unknowing what is about to happen.

If it is not being called "put in a stressful position.", I dont know.

If a Danish soldier did so with a suspect, he would be convicted in court. I know it because we just had a trial like that.

Why should a terror-suspect have more rights than a child?

Second:

As most of the world now know, we don't enforce religion on people. I am a member of the largest church in Denmark. Being forced to attent a church of a nother fraction of the Christian world, would in my oppinion be regarded as someone telling me to worship an idol instead of my god.

Eventhough we all are Christian, there is a difference. That is what Nothern-Ireland is all about. And we danes had also had our suffering during the reformation.
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