"My testament at Spring Creek Lodge" - Anon, 1999
I was there from 1999 to mid 2001.
I was picked up at school by an escort service. I was put in hand cuffs and driven straight to the airport. I was told I was going to a two week campout in Montana, where I would get to go horseback riding, skiing, camping, talk to girls and have a great time all awhile working on my drug problems.
The first week I was there, a student named Chris was playing around after shut down. Laughing and talking, just being a teenager. The “Calvary” was called in to take him to the hobbit. They yanked him off of the top bunk and slammed him on the ground. Two staff held his legs and two more held his arms, and one lay down on his back. He was struggling and cussing. The shift leader proceeded to put his hand around his neck and push down. He started to plead with them that he couldn’t breath and to please let him up. When his cries became more desperate it seemed like the harder they tried to hurt him. The staff ignored his complaints about not being able to breath, and so three of us including myself jumped off our bunks and started to pull the staff members off of him.
They called for even more back up and when they got there we were all restrained in the same manner. We were taken up to the hobbit and we didn’t get breakfast or lunch the next day.
A student by the name of Gabe was viciously restrained in front of the trailer at Spring Creek Lodge. Another student had flicked the back of his ear while standing in a heel toe line, he stepped out of line to tell the kid to quit, and was given a Cat 2 out of area. He started to walk off, and a staff member got him in a rear bear hug. Gabe said a few choice words and stomped on the foot of the staff member. The staff then proceeded to lift him up and slam him down on the asphalt face first. It cracked a few teeth and busted up his lips pretty good.
A young boy of the age of 12 was in the hobbit. He had quite a mouth on him, and he was spitting everywhere. He would spit on staff, on myself and all over the hobbit. The main hobbit staff came in there and told him if he spit on any thing else he was going to mop it up with him. The boy looked up at the ceiling and spit a large one. The staff grabbed him by the crotch and the neck and climbed up on the top bunk and sure enough mopped him up with it and then slammed him down on the tile floor from the top bunk.
The young boy was pretty shaken up by the whole thing.
One night after shut down the cabin was awoken to a blood curling scream from the next room over. Not caring if I got a shut down violation I went next door to see what was going on. Jeff had apparently gotten a piece of glass somewhere on the facility and proceeded to slice his arm up from where your arm bends at the elbow, all the way down to his wrist. Not just one or two cuts, but he went up and down his arm repetitively. On the wall next to his bunk, in large letters written in blood he wrote “FREE ME” then took his bloody hand print and slapped it against the wall and drug it down. It was gruesome. They made another student scrub the wall to get it clean.
There was a young man there who had obvious mental problems. Our case representative told us it was paranoid schizophrenia and I am sure some other ailments. We were having a facility meeting where Cameron Pullan just talked to us about this and that and Daniel kept on blurting out extremely random things. He would interrupt Cameron to ask him when he would be going home, and just really off the wall things. Cameron asked me and another Jr. Staff to get him out of there and take him up to the hobbit. He also told us if he gave us any problems or tried to run away to “Kick the shit out of him”.
Well we knew he wasn’t going to listen to us, and of course he didn’t. We took him up to the hobbit and as we were walking in he suddenly bolted for the woods. The other Jr. Staff and I tackled and restrained him. We got him up in the hobbit and he made numerous attempts to get out with little success. He claimed that he had to go to the bathroom, and there were no bathrooms in the hobbit. The students would have to go out side in a Porto potty that was rarely ever emptied; we the students called it the “Blooper”.
There would be times that it was so full that human waste would be leaking out of the toilet seat and fecal matter was all over it. He went to the bathroom and as soon as he came out he bolted for the woods again. We tackled him pretty hard and on the concrete.
We didn’t know what else to do; we weren’t trained for this kind of thing. To make this long story short, the young man ended up getting pretty beat up from all the times he tried to run.
One time a student was in the hobbit and he asked to use the rest room. They took him out to the “Blooper” and he refused to come out. So the staff working the hobbit in turn dumped the Porto potty over on the door. The young man was covered with a weeks worth of human waste and tampons.
Cameron would have us do some pretty wild stuff just for his amusement. He would call facility meetings and have us all line up on the court with our family’s in a heel toe line (this all being in the middle of winter) and he would randomly tell people to go and jumping the frozen pond right off the side of the court. They would have to break the ice over the pond first. Sometimes he would take students, blindfolded into Thompson Falls, and make them jump off a bridge in to the river. If the students didn’t want to jump, they were pushed.
Towards the end of ones program you must go through a process called trail of lights. It starts off with a big meal and then goes into a strenuous workout. Pushups, jumping jacks, sit-ups, running, and what ever else they can think of. After a long day of jumping jacks, they blindfolded us and started leading us through the woods. They would walk us through creek beds and into trees. The staff was laughing the whole time at our discomfort. They had us climb up a very steep rockslide still blindfolded; several students fell down and rolled all the way down to the bottom. At the end of the night every one had cuts and gashes all over their body from running in to trees and walking through thorn patches, and rolling down rocky hills. It was one of the most pointless processes I have ever been through.
The seminars were horrible. They would make you tell you’re deepest and darkest secrets only to have them rubbed in your face the rest of the time you were there. “My dad molested me when we were younger, my moms boyfriend raped me and she knew about it and didn’t do anything” stuff like this and they wouldn’t let it go. If you didn’t tell them things about you, they would kick you out of the seminars and you couldn’t go back until the next month. You need the seminars to advance in the program to go home.
One seminar in particular, called Accountability would have kids walking around and using all of the knowledge of kids problems, try to tear them down. This pushed a lot of kids to the edge. They would have Jr. Staff standing against the walls as security, so if anyone went out of control, they would restrain them.
Kids restraining kids, kids handing out consequences to other kids. It’s all abuse. If a Jr. Staff member didn’t like you, they could consequent you for absolutely nothing. It is basically up to the Jr. Staff to decide when you are ready to move up and go home.
Parents don’t really know what is going on up there and if the students tell them in letters, the letter won’t reach them and we were punished. The place doesn’t work. I still smoke weed, and drink like a fish. I still have anger issues. People are killing them selves because of this place. Cory a student, who graduated the program and was in my family, ended up killing himself when he got home. A young lady on Oct. 4 of this year hung herself in the cabin; Jeff tried to kill himself because he couldn’t stand being there. These people are not helping any one out, other than the parents who want to get rid of their kids.