Ascent Wilderness Program

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Ascent Wilderness Program is a behavior modification program located near Naples in Idaho. (Not far from Northwest Academy, which is owned by the same company. In the past the program was used as a punishment for detainees from residential facilities.) [1].

It was founded in 1994. It was a part of the CEDU system until 2005, where it closed following CEDU's collaps. It is now reopened under new ownership (Universal Health Services, Inc.)

Program Structure


If the teenager does not want to go or the parents for some reason want to keep the partication a secret, the program offer what they call in-house enrollment, which means that they can arrange for an youth transport firm to get the teenager from his or her own bed in the middle of the night using the means, this line of business is known for. See this article about Teen Escort Companies at Secret Prisons for teens.

Level system

They operate with a level system with 4 levels.

Orientation Phase: The detained teenager is brought to the base camp, where he or she will live until they have been broken and have agreed that they are being banished from their own family. They will also undergo examination and start an exercise program because most teenagers sent to the program does not have a chance to prepare themselves for an intensive wilderness program, when the parents have done it secretly.

Pre-Course: When the detained teenager has accepted his or her fate, this phase centers about building a team out of the teenagers detained at the base camp. The exercise program is also continued, so they are ready to hike.

Course: This phase consist of a two week hike. The teenagers are forced to work together as a team and break self-imposed limits under constant pressure from staff and the group. At the end of this phase they have to use a wooden structure called the Alpine Tower (On the homepage of the manufactor it is stated that Ascent in Idaho has such a wooden struture).

Transition: The last phase is about repairing the conflicts arising between the detained teenager and the family based on the banishment. The family will participate in a 3 day workshop. They also has be surrender to so-called transistion agreements in order to leave the program. The phase ends with a graduation.

Intervention: Intervention, or AI (Ascent Intervention) detainees are usually sent to Ascent from other CEDU (or associated) programs as a means of punishment. The AI program is unusually harsh. Detainees spend 3-21 days in the AI program and all of that time is spent at the base camp engaging in exhausting manual labor from sunrise to sunset - tasks such as carrying fallen trees, sawing and splitting said trees, digging trenches, and picking chips of wood out of the grass.

External Links

Info pages

Survivor groups and stories