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Messages - kerryberry420

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Mission Mountain School / the truth about it...
« on: April 01, 2005, 09:17:00 PM »
that's a great idea, but how?  what can we do?

Mission Mountain School / the truth about it...
« on: March 31, 2005, 05:42:00 PM »
hey melissa!  anyway, yeah everyone's experience at mms was different.  i know of a few girls that would probably defend it to the death, but most girls thinks that a lot of things there were wrong.  i agree with melissa about john mercer.  john mercer seemed like a sadist to me, he seemed to like hurting people.   and the other thing that really bothered me was that in group he would make the girls give really intimate detail about their lives.  one girl was molested when she was younger and was practically forced to give every tiny littlle detail (where she was touched, how, for how long, how she felt, did she like it) in front of everyone.  i can understand that she needed to talk about it, but in that much detail in front of 30 people, while getting yelled at seemed absolutely fucked up to me.  and it wasn't just that.  in our histories we had to write every little detail, down to people we kissed even.  i have been in a lot of therapy and to a lot of programs and i have NEVER seen anything like that before and since then.  a couple staff member quit while i was there and i know at least one of them quit as a direct result of johns actions.  she was shocked at how we were treated and one day yelled at him and we never saw her again.  the only good things i took from my time at mms are that i became close with a lot of the girls and am still in coctact with them, and........well i guess thats it.  but again, everyones experience was different.

Mission Mountain School / the truth about it...
« on: March 30, 2005, 02:45:00 PM »
yes, to the person who is challenging what we wrote.......i was never asked to leave any program, i was never kicked out, i never even got in trouble at any of them.  in fact i was always the star student, i always did exactly what i was told and excelled at it.  fighting against the system at any of these places just makes for a longer more miserable experience.  i left mms early because my father came out and visited for a few days on a camping trip, he was shocked at how we were treated.  he was especially angry at how john merceer was ALWAYS  late for groups or activities and when he did arrive he would pick a girl and basically yell at her.  on that camping trip another gilrs dad was there too and he talked to my dad about how surprised he was at the way we were treated.  the other girl (ashley) had been there about as long as me and we were both scheduled for homevisits a month later, we both went on our homevisits and our parents talked on the phone while we were home and they both decided to pull ashley and i out.  so we never went back.  mms did not save my life, my life didn't even need saving yet.  as a child i was shy and didn't have a lot of friends.  i was also ADHD and was always in trouble ion school for not paying attention and stuff.  becasue of this in 3rd grade my schoold reccomended that i be sent to a therapist and put on ritalin.  so i was, from then on i was always singled out in school as being "different" and that just made things worse.  so in 5th grade i was put in the gifted and talented program at school for bright kids who needed a challenge, we got made fun of by the rest of the school and i hated it.  i didn't have any friends and practically refused to go to school.  my family moved right before 6th grade so i was put in another school, it was a private school full of rich kids with stuck up parents.  i got in trouble there for kissing a boy on the playground  and then hated that school, also i hated all my teachers and as a result was almost failing all of my classes.  i never paid attention in class and definitely never participated.  so for 7th grade i was sent to an "alternative school" for ADD kids who didn't fit into other schools.  these kids were all artsy and "different".  i loved it there, i started listening to heavy metal and dressing gothic, my therapist thought this was a big problem and told my parents that those kids were a bad influence (we had little to no supervision and the kids were just discovering that whole boyfriend girlfriend thing).  so in 8th grade i was sent to another stuck up private school where i did NOT  fit it at all, everyone made fun of me and i had no friends and was absolutely miserable.  i hated everyone there and the teachers made me the scapegoat for everything that went wrong.  i didn't particiapte in class, i didn't do homework, and they said i was "disruptive".  which i probably was.  i had a few friends out of school but i wasn't really allowed to see them ever.  so one night i got on my bike and snuck out to see my "boyfriend" who was also 13 and had green hair.  we accidentally fell asleep on a dock down the street from my house and in the  morning i quickly went home to find my parents, my therapist and police at my house.  my therapist told my parents i had run away and was convinced i was suicidal and had me put in a psych ward.  (by the way i have NEVER been suicidal) and from then on it was all downhill.  it was recomened that i be put in a long term inpatient program.  the state paid for me to go to one that was DJJ affiliated, i had never been in trouble with the police, never done drugs, and never drank.  i had smoked cigarettes though.  in that program i learned about drugs and stuff like that.  when i was 15 i left there and went back to normal school.  i had a boyfriend and lost my virginity to him, i drank on weekends at parties and was on the cross sountry team.    i got in a fight with a girl on day and was asked to leave the school.  my parenst freaked out and got an educational consultant who convinced them i was addcited to drugs and promiscuous.  (i still had never done drugs, oh and i was gothic)  so i was sent to a wilderness program who convinced my parents i was goinmg to die without help, that is how i ened up at mms.  mms made me say i had done drugs (i hadn't) slept with a bunch of guys (i hadn't) and say i was an alcoholic (i wasn't).  they also told me i was a socipath and would probably end up being a serial killer.  yeah right.  i don't even like confrontations.  so, you alreayd know what happend at mms.  when i left there i went back to normal high school and had no idea how to fit it. i had been in programs for all of teenage years so far ( i was 17 at this point) i had no idea how to function, it was horrible and scary.  i thought that if i drank i was "relapsing" if i did anything sexual i was relapsing, i was terrified.  after the homecoming dance i had a beer and had sex with my boyfriend and felt so guilty afterwards that i felt like my whole life was a failure.  it was then that i started drinking more and smoking pot, and taking pills.  i dropped out of high school and a few months before my 18th birthday escorts came and got me in the middle of the night again and took me back to a wilderness program.  after that i was sent to new haven, which i loved.  but while on a homevist i accidentally fell asleep at my friend mike's house and when new haven found out they told me i would have to be back on "safety" level again and start the whole program over because they thought i had sex with him (i didn't).  so when i was flying back to new haven my plane had a layover in denver and i said "fuck it" and got on a shuttle and ran away to boulder.  i called the staff and tyold them i wasn't coming back (it was a month before my 18th birthday).  i met a guy in boulder and moved in with him.  then we broke up and i met another guy who was a dealer with a meth lab.  i became addicted to meth and to get off of it started doing heroin.  i was addicted to hard drugs for 2 years, and i have now been clean for 2 years.  so, in conclusion. i did not need to be sent away to mms, or any of thsoe other places.  in fact i blame the edcons, some therapist for my drug use and pain later.  i became "institutionilized" i literllly could not function in "real life". those prorams ruined me.  i still can barely have a functional relationship with my boyfriend, and i don't know how to hold a job.  i missed out on key years of social development.  i am very pretty, and fun, but i don't have any friends at all.  so, before you judge me and think i am just lashing out because i am pissed at my parents or somehintg for sending me away, i'm not.  i am pissed off at the whole industry for perpetuating all these uneccessary placements.  the reason i am writing these things is that parents and friends of these girls getting sent away have no idea what their children are in for.  and if they do go visit these programs i guarantee they will see only what the staff what them to see and nothing more.  the girls will lie about what goes on there so they don't get in trouble.  and it's not just melissa and i that think this, about ten other girls from mms have e-mailed me and thanked me for posting what i did.  i guess i'll have to get them to post too so you'll take us seriously.  [email protected]

Let It Bleed / sorry i have to be supersticious
« on: March 23, 2005, 10:51:00 PM »
Hahahaha You've opened it! Good Luck, You have
just been DEATHWISHED. Tonight at midnight
your true love will realize they love you. Something
good will happen to you at 1:00-4:00 pm
tomorrow, it could be anywere. Get ready for the
biggest shock in your life. if you break this chain u
will be cursed with relationship problems for the
next 10yrs. post this within 15 min...

Mission Mountain School / the truth about it...
« on: March 20, 2005, 03:11:00 PM »
wow, you said it!!!  it hasn't changed at all!!!  except the price has gone up. my parents said it was about $83,000 a year,  when colleen called me she adamantly denied that.  it's true we did most if not all the maintenance of the the place, and not only on campus, we maintained the staff's homes as well.  we were "giving back".  you also mentioned "gay issues" when i was there there were a few girls who were obviously true lesbians (not just because they were in an all girls school for two years) and the staff just flat out ignored it or said they were displacing their feelings by trying to focus on other issues.  the weird thing was NO ONE ever kissed there or anything.  i have been in a lot of all girl programs and there was always an element of girl girl attraction (which in that circumstance is pretty normal even if they aren't "gay") but at mms they stressed how much we shouldn't be sexually active and told the girls who masturbated that they were sex addicts.  i still feel a little twinge of guilt when i masturbate or have sex with my boyfriend.  they also pushed the 12 step thing hard, i had never done drugs (i drank and smoked pot sometimes) but they didn't belive me so i eventually "admitted" to all my drug use and started working the "steps".  then on homevisits i had to go to aa meetings (i was like 16) and be around all these drug addicts and alcoholics.  well those meetings had the opposite affect on me.....i started doing drugs.  subconsciously my philosophy was "i've done the time i might as well do the crime".  the other thing that mms did to me was pretty much kill my abilty to stand up for myself and what i belive in.  everyutime i did it there i was accused of being "defensive" or trying to "justify" so eventually i just shut up and did what they said.  i belive this was one of the main things that led to my getting hurt in relationships, drug use, and being raped.  i am just now learning how to stand up for myself again.  but still if people talk down to me and stuff i always think "what did i do?  how can i make them happy?"  it's awful.  i have a boyfiend now and this is the healthiesat reltionship i have evr had but it is still messed up, i have no idea how to interact with him in a "normal" way.  mms took me about as far from society as i oculd have gone and i missed critical years of social interaction and dating and when it was over got throw in, i had no idea what to do.  i think these programs should have like level which over a year or so introduce girls baqck into society step by step.  like first have to stay on campus, 2 months later allowed to go out with staff and other girls, 1 month later allowed to go out with just other girls, 1 month later go to the local school, 1 month later allowed to hang out with kids from school, 1 month later allowed to date....etc.  reintegration is key.  anyway, any comments e-mail me [email protected]

Mission Mountain School / the truth about it...
« on: March 14, 2005, 02:34:00 PM »
yeah, her name was susan skeleton.  but i don't think she is to blame at all.  these educational consultants really don't know what is going on either.  when edcon's would come to visit mms (or anyone else) suddenly we would all be on a "normal" schedule.  we would wake up and go to school, then have ODR, then have group and go to bed early, or maybe have a treat like watching a movie.  so they really see what mms wants them to see and nothing else.  and mms would pick a girl who had been there awhile and was probably about to graduate to show them around because she would only say nice things.  the thing with the edcon though was that she only talked to me on the phone for about ten minutes before she got my parents to ship me off.  i thoguht that was ridiculous.  she should have at least met me.  yes i did some things that showed i needed help and structure, but there is so much more to me than that.  these edcons should evaluate the whole person not just their actions.   programs like mms do work fro some people, but for others (like me) they do more harm than good.  like i am really intellectual (i'm not being conceited it's just a fact i have a 161 IQ) and i have never really known how to act socially.  so when i acted out it was because i was trying desparately to fit in and be accpeted.   i always wanted to please everyone i was around and i never stood up for myself and as a result have been drugged, raped, and even kidnapped for a day.  sending me to a place where i was going to be yelled at and broken down just hurt me and made me feel more worthless.  i needed to go somewhere where the staff celebrated my differences and helped me to develop my real personality.  new haven was like that.  i was sent to new haven when i was 17 as a last ditch effort befroe my 18th birthday to save me.  and i loved it there.  there was a level system so if you did the work you could earn priveleges like going to the mall, going to the movies with other girls, having your CD's, calling your friends., and things like that.  you didn't get all of that at first but you could work up to it and when your therapist thought you were ready you could do it.  you could have your own clothes, make up, pictures of your friends and family.  you could eat when you were hungry, and have good home cooked meals too.  we went camping, rafting, and rock climbing.  we had horses, dogs, and lots of kittens.  we had a pool and a rope to swing on into the pool.  the girls there always seemed happy (well, most of the time).  we felt like the staff really respected us and genuinely wanted to help.  i think new haven is great and my family and i are still in touch with my therapist from there.  and just so you all know i ran away from there on a home visit so i was not even the perfect student (i ran away to boulder colorado while my plane was laid over in denver on my way back to new haven in utah).  but i liked new haven so much that as soon as i got to boulder i called the staff and told them that i was in colorado and would not be coming back (i was almost 18 and anxious to start my life) and we stayed on good terms to this day.  so i hope this helps!

Mission Mountain School / the truth about it...
« on: March 13, 2005, 06:10:00 PM »
my name is kerry hambleton. i am 21 years old and am a student in Maryland. i was sent away 20 times from when i was 13 to 19 and have since been looking for a way to give back and educate people about the inner working of these treatment centers.  i have been to lockdowns, rtc's, wilderness programs, rehab, and behavior modification boarding schools.  i have been in expensive ones, coed, single sex,  and more varities mission mountain was one of the many places i was sent to, however that is the one that stands out in my mind.  first of all i want to tell you that the founder and headmaster (john mercer) does not in fact have a degree in psychology anything related to that, he majored in biology.  in fact only a few of the staff there had any formal schooling in psychology the therapists did but the teachers, outdoor recreation coach, and daily living coordinator all ran groups too.   now i will start at the beginning.  

i was kicked out of school in tenth grade for basically just being an outcast.  i had low self esteem, dressed "gothic" was promiscuous, drank at parties, and got in arguments with my parents.  i do agree that i needed some kind of help and support to get me through that difficult time; i just don't think mission mountain was the right choice.  my parents didn't know what to do with me so they contacted and educational consultant.    she convinced my parents without help i was going to die, and then one night at 3am two strangers showed up in my bedroom and took me away.  i was crying and screaming and asking where my family was and they wouldn't tell me.  they took me to the airport in my pajamas and we got on a plane without me even knowing where we were headed we touched down somewhere in utah where i was then whisked away to second nature wilderness program.  i still hadn't talked to my parents and didn't know what was happening and next thing i knew i was in the middle of the desert with a 50 lb pack on my back.  (just for the record i really enjoyed second nature and got a lot out of it.  the staff were really kind and supportive and helped me to regain lot of my confidence.)  after being at second nature for 13 weeks i was told that i be leaving and going mms i didn't know anything about it except that it was in montana and they did lots of outdoor activities.  which sounded fine to me, i love the outdoors.  the first thing i noticed when i got there was that the campus was deserted.  one of the teachers took me to a barn and outfitted me with my new mms clothes.  sweatpants, hiking boots, t-shirt, fleece jacket, safety goggles, and work gloves.  they took away my few belongings (clothes, pictures of my family, necklace, pictures of my very nice churchgoing boyfriend).  i was crying and they yelled at me and handed me a backpack and took me out into the woods where the girls were on "intervention".  a group punishment for the crime of "collusion"  (girls having exclusive friendships and talking about their "old lives").  so immediately was already suffering for two girls mistakes.  "intervention" consisted of waking up at dawn and clearing forest with hand tools and then carrying heavy debris to large piles to be burned.  we would do this all day with a 3 minute bathroom break every three hours (the bathroom was an outhouse with five holes in it instead of one with no separation in between).  we would work until it got dark and sometimes later (in the summer so it was pretty late) and then have to sit in a circle silently until john mercer showed up (he was always late, we would wait for hours without talking or getting up to pee).  once he got there he would pick a few girls and yell at them all night.  or we would all have to make lists containing all of our lies, transgressions, our "war stories", how we about the other girls, things we knew about other girls that they weren't telling, and then read them aloud and have everyone respond.  he never  believed that i hadn't done drugs and i got so tired of hearing him yell and getting in trouble for "lying" that i finally lied and said that i had.  he accused one girl of being nazi and screamed at her until she was sobbing violently.  i tried to stick up for her and tell him to stop but he wouldn't listen and made her tell her best friend she hated her for being asian.  it made me sick.  and i felt even worse that i couldn't do anything about it.she gave in eventually and said that she was, but she wasn't.  anyway continuing about "intervention" went on for like 3 months.  we weren't allowed to shower, write to our parents, or anything.  when we finally got off of intervention i saw what mms was really like, not much different except we slept indoors.  we lived in cabins, 8 girls to a cabin.  we sometimes went to school in the morning on weekdays (on intervention we didn't go to school).  usually though the staff would have us do work crew (chopping firewood, clearing forest, landscaping, maintenance, intense cleaning of buildings).  or we would have to go work on the staffs houses.   so we got little to no schooling.  (i will say though when we actually did have classes our teachers did do their best to teach us and give us help if we needed it) and even when we did have class we wouldn't have any time for homework because of all the chores we had to do and sitting in group for hours on end.  the other thing we had to do was outdoor recreation.  it was like Gym class except outside and harder.  i actually enjoy outdoor activities but this was too much.  we would first have to run laps (run the whole time, no stopping, no slowing down) if you did stop or slow down, or cry, or throw up you would have to run more.  if  girls refused to run everyone else would have to run until they gave in and did it.  if girls refused to do push ups everyone else would have to until they did.  we had to get on mountain bikes and go on 12 miles rides up mountain without stopping.  even if you fell off you kept going.  i do see why they did this, to encourage perseverance and confidence, but i think they pushed too hard.  as for daily life we woke up at 6am and went to breakfast.  the dining room was set up in a large horseshoe shape and every girl had a "food partner" and "feelings journal".  in the beginning of the meal we had to write our feelings about the food we were about to eat and again at the end.  we all got the same food to eat and for condiments they had to measured out and checked by our partner to make sure we weren't cheating.  we weren't allowed to talk at mealtimes except for a topic that one of the staff would give and we would all respond one by one.  everyone had to finish all of their food and if someone didn't all the other girls would have to go outside and run laps backwards or shovel horse manure.  some of the girls had eating disorders (i didn't) and we all got treated like we did.  we weren't allowed to know our weight and we had to eat even if we were full.  they made the vegetarians eat meat and forced them to run laps if they didn't.  every cabin had chores to do both in the cabin and on the campus.  like setting up for meals, cleaning various building, shoveling horse manure, vacuuming, making the bed, cleaning the bathroom, etc.  all chores had to be done every day.  if anything were wrong (a hair on the sink, dirt on the floor, manure in the fields, wrinkle in the bedsheets) the person or cabin responsible would be given a "callback", three callbacks meant you were on work crew on sunday instead of studying.  

i don't want to make it seem all bad though.  some of the staff there were really compassionate and caring and really wanted to help us.  a lot of the outdoor activities helped me feel more confident and strong (unless i had to do them while i was sick or with a sprained ankle).  i don't think mms was abusive in the traditional sense however I view so many of the things they did as wrong and hurtful.  when my dad saw how we were treated there he pulled me out immediatly i just people to know what really happened there so other girls don't have to go through it and parents are informed of the real nature of the school.  i wish i hadn't of taken my first post off because now you may question my credibility.  but when colleen called me i felt like i did at mms was immediatly intimidated and lied about what i had written.  i realize that that was wrong of me and have since e-mailed her telling that and i am now posting this again.  i hope you still believe me.  if anyone has any questions or comments you can e-mail me at [email protected]

Mission Mountain School / please read this!!!!
« on: March 11, 2005, 10:59:00 PM »
i have sent this to the moderators as well....

hi, my name is kerry and the message titled "i was sent there" on the mission mountain topic was written by me a few years ago and e-mailed to a few people i knew.  i was angry and on drugs when i wrote it and had just left mission mountain before i was supposed to.  the stuff i wrote was untrue and hateful.  the post was reprinted without my permission and even included my personal e-mail address which i would not have posted if i had actually done it.  in fact i am about to move back to montana with my boyfriend and am still in touch with the staff at mms and former students.  i like and respect everyone i was in contact there (well except for this one girl who got on my nerves).  i do not want mission mounatin to have this kind of publicity because i really care about a lot of the staff there and don't want what i wrote to reflect on them.  yes, mission mountain was tough.  but it's a treatment center it's supposed to be.  it was not abusive in any way.  in fact most of the girls that graduate from there go on to lead amazing lives and never relapse.  in fact i only know of two girls that did out of  about 80.  and even they have since gotten their lives back on track.  i am really sorry i wrote that and i am really upset that it got reprinted.  i did not authorize that to be posted and i really need you to remove that within 24 hours please, i don't want any more damage to be done.  thank you very much,

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