ANASAZI Foundation

Fra Secret Prisons for Teens
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ANASAZI Foundation is a behavior modification program using wilderness therapy as a concept.

They were founded in 1988.

They offer programs for both genders aged 12 to 17 <Ref>Program data on NATSAP</Ref>.

The average stay is 42 days and they detain 40 teenagers at the same time.

Program Structure[redigér]

Admission process[redigér]

The teenager, who is about to be detained at the program has to be at the office between 8:30 and 10:00 am together with a parent. According to a statement on one of the Myspace groups of survivors some of the teenagers are taken there by force and some are tricked.

The teenager will have last chance to say goodbye at this stage before being banished to the trail.

The parent will then attend two seminars called Program overview orientation and Parent seminar.


They use a number of phases the detained teenagers has to go through. At no point the teenagers are forced to progress, but given the circumstances that they have been banished from home and placed in a primitive environment less food than home and with no other option than graduate the program in order to be taken back by their own family, the teenager will buy into the program when they realize the extend of the consequences of whatever sacrilege, they must have committed in order to earn such a banishment.

According to various sources the first phase is called Rabbitstick. During this phase the teenager must figure out that the only path that leads forward is to interact with the peer group. Terms as Blanket stepping and the making of an askning are used during this phase.

The next level is called Badgerstone phase. The teenager is given a workbook, which they have to work on by their own. During this phase they go through a number of assignment with their peer group. During a specific assignment they fast for 3 days in a process called primitive. One time per week they participate in a one-on-one session with a licensed therapist.

The final phase before the DawnStar process is called Lone Walking Phase. After a second Blanket stepping the therapist sends the teenager of to a walk in solitary. The detained teenager is monitored by a staff member from distance. They are directed to a place where they will meet their parents in order to being the DawnStar process.


Until the final stage in the program communication will be by letter only. The parents decide who are allowed to communicate with the detained teenager.


They are given food for a week. If they dont plan their food intake correctly, they will starve at the end of the week or look at other source of food <Ref>Loving Them to Death, Outside magazine, October 1995</Ref>. From Outside magazine:

Deep in a ravine slicing into the parched uplands of central Arizona, an alligator lizard scurries across a boulder in the withering sun. With a lightning-quick lunge, a big, gawky 16-year-old plucks the reptile from the rock and clutches it in his thick fingers. "This is the tenth lizard I've caught," says Craig, beaming, his cherubic face smudged with soot. Then he slices off its head, pops it into his mouth, and gulps it down.

Craig is enrolled in a nine-week treatment program for troubled adolescents run by the Anasazi Foundation, a nonprofit corporation based in Mesa, Arizona. He's currently camped beside a rock-choked creek with three other wayward teenagers and their three college-age counselors. Some 40 other Anasazi students and their keepers are sprinkled among the adjacent canyons.


The daily ration of 2,000 calories is extremely lean, and if a kid consumes it early in the week, he or she has to subsist on wild plants, lizards, and bugs. The Anasazi students I met looked healthy, but food monopolized their fantasies

Exiting the program[redigér]

The final stage consist of a hike made together with the parents. The parents have to report on a specific Tuesday where they will have a short meeting before joining their offspring on the trail. This process is called the DawnStar. This phase last 3 days and 2 nights.


The course is operated in a harsh environment - From a blog of an employee: A long crazy month of wilderness and wild:

Dec 7-10 - The days I spent with that young walker were hard, cold, and wet. I was hypothermic at least 3 times myself. The other trailwalker that was with me passed out in the snow and mud, and it was the first time in my Anasazi walking that I felt like survival skills were absolutely necessary to see us through. I won't make a longer story out of a long one, but I've seen hypothermia, looked it in the face, and laughed. It then proceeded to totally kick my ass.

Parents of less physically teenagers should take into consideration that the staff can go home and recover every second or third day. The detained teenagers can not enjoy this possibility.


They also have a 42 days minimum program for young adults aged between 18 and 25, where people inside this agegroup can sign themselves up <Ref>Programs overview from the homepage of the program</Ref>.

They have a couples program lasting 4 days with focus on relationship.

They offer a short course called DawnStar Expedition lasting from Thursday to Monday.


Only 10 percent of the teenagers needs to be detained further at other places according to a report, which is much lower than in most programs <Ref>Theoretical Basis, process and reported Outcomes of Wilderness Therapy as an Intervention and Treatment for problem behavior in Adolescents, by Keith C. Russell, Idaho University, page 23</Ref>.

In the news[redigér]

The program hosted the fifth version of Brat Camp - a TV-serie where english daughter and their moms were sent off to a special 3 weeks version of their normal program. The reactions from the public were that it was the most succesful of the series due to the fact that the most of the damaging behaviors by the parents were adjusted too <Ref>Brat camp from Channel 4</Ref> <Ref>About the fifth version of Brat Camp from Wikipedia</Ref> <Ref>Brat Camp: Fifth Installment, Anasazi, a tread on Fornits webforum about the TV-show.</Ref><Ref>Army camp fixes brat out of hell, The Argus, October 23 2007.</Ref>.

External Links[redigér]

Info pages[redigér]

Survivor groups[redigér]

Message Boards[redigér]