Janice's journey

This biography is made based on the diary of a young woman who lived in many years in Denmark before she went on a holiday at her birthmother’s county. Her values and morale is based on her upbringing in Denmark which some might consider offending. However in order to truly understand how she experienced her stay in the United States the cultural influences has to be considered a major contributor to her choices both before, under and after her stay.

Second the names of individual youth transport firms, wilderness programs and boarding schools are not mentioned. It is not a question about being for or against various companies offering emotional growth. It is strictly a story about how Janice as she has chosen to call herself experienced a number of incidents which left life changing marks on her adult life.

This biography is co-authored because Janice wanted to have her story published in both Danish and English.


20. The Internment camp

I was on my way to the boarding school. Angela drove me. It was not necessary with handcuffs now that I had shown that I was not an escape risk anymore and even it I tried, where should I go? I was in Utah and in one the cities where all the citizens directly or indirectly were living of an industry consisting of what I would call private prisons. We drove through Hurricane and a valley much misleadingly called Apple Valley because where are the apple trees? The only trees were the few they had in the part of the school which were used for parental visitation.


When we had been driving about 5 kilometers out of town we turned left onto a dirt road which apparently led directly into the wilderness. 3 kilometers further down the dirt road we drove over a small hill and the school suddenly appeared before us. It was almost bizarre. We had nothing but desert as far as we could see and there down in the valley there was a landscaped artificial lake, some beautiful ranch-like houses, barns and what looked like some sheds completely isolated in the background.


At the time I had little knowledge about the fact that the sheds were to become my home. On the Internet groups of former students who have been at the school made comparisons between the sheds and the barracks used to detain Japanese emigrants during the Second World War.


We drove up in front of one of the big houses and a man came out to greet us. "Hello. My name is Goodwin and I'm the manager of the school. I assume that this is Angela from Carrier X and Janice – our future student. Welcome. Please, follow me into the office."


Inside the office was my papers reviewed. When it was over Angela said goodbye to me. Next I should be examined by a doctor before that I formally could be enrolled at the school.


I feared for medical examination since I could remember how it went down the last time. However, the female doctor was more relaxed. She said I could do it the gentle way or the hard way. I think that she knew how they did the job on wilderness program. I agreed to do it the soft way. I took my clothes off and I was shown to a gynecological couch. I don’t know how men take it, but I do not think that there are any women who find cold steel inserted in your private parts especially comfortable and I had to be examined in both places. It is a matter of trying to relax and think about something else.


The doctor was nice enough. She told me that she was happy that I took it so relaxed. Having to take blood sample from a person who fights and squirms is a nightmare. I find it difficult even to imagine.


When it was determined that I was not trying to sneak in contrabands I got my school uniform handed. Besides underwear it consisted of shapeless orange pants and an equally orange T-shirt and jacket. When I came out of the medical examination room Goodwin waited for me and asked me to follow him. While we were walking across the campus, so he explained me about the school. The school was founded in Idaho, but the authorities overregulated the schools so they moved to Utah. The school was founded by Goodwin's father, but he seldom found on the campus because he worked as a consultant and expert in TV and film productions in California. At some point Goodwin’s father had been consultant on a TV-series which featured a young man who later became famous as one Star Wars actors.


The students worked within a level system where the students could be promoted to a higher level based on hard work. With a higher level followed a number of privileges. Could the students not behave properly was they would demoted to level Zero, called "Observation and Assessment". At level Zero the student may not move, talk, walk or eat without having given individual permit by one of the employees. You could get to the next level by solving 14 tasks Goodwin believed that most students would be able to solve in a short time. However as he stated it would demand absolutely honesty of the student to provide answers which could help the therapeutic progress.


We passed most houses and came to an area where there was some pavilions turned up. In one of the pavilions a table was made ready for me. There was a water bottle on the table and a diary, an assignment book and a pencil. "Sit down and start. You are now officially a student at the school."


I flipped some pages of the assignment book. It was kind of the same questions I had seen on wilderness program. What were the poor choices I had made in my life? Did I have a sex life? Did I use alcohol and drugs? What was my relationship with my mom and dad and the rest of the family? How was school? What were my future plans, etc. etc.?


I was about to Goodwin if he expected that I should take these assignments seriously but I had hardly moved my lips when two very determined looking women came towards me. They pointed to a sign where the rules were written. Below the rules it was stated that breaking a rule would result in me being dragged out to a stone circle outside the tent that where I then would be confined within for a full hour in sun being put what they called “silence”. One of the rules was that I had to raise my hand before that I could ask a question.


I bowed his head and was silent. Their body language indicated that all they were waiting for was a confrontation. I looked around carefully. A fair-haired girl was sitting a few tables away. Suddenly I noticed that her pants changed color. She peed in her pants! I was amazed but then I remembered that the sign also was that you could only get to the toilet twice a day. Later I learned that this often happened at level Zero. To avoid suspicion that students were trying to cheat from assignments risking further consequences many students made the choice to pee in their pants.


I made up my mind that I would not be at that level for long. I had to lie and give them some confessions so I could get to the next level.


We had probably been sitting in the tent for a few hours when a teacher entered. "Come on. Now it's time for a little exercise. We cannot have our students become dull from sitting in the tent all day." We went out of the tent and once again one of the carts the Mormons had used was waiting for me. But unlike the cart in the wilderness program this wagon was filled with large rocks. I still remember the next 3 hours as the toughest of my life. We were 8 students on the wagon and moved a few meters at a time. We were four students who pulled the best we have learned. The rest pushed. If some of us to spoke the teachers immediately approached and yelled at us for not obeying the rules.


I was totally exhausted and sweaty when I came back to the tent. There was no bath. It was just returning to your table and continuing with your assignments.


It became time for dinner. We were served what the others had to eat yesterday and it came fresh from the fridge. We at the lowest level had not been earned the great culinary excesses.


After dinner we at last were able to take a bath. Together with other the girls from level Zero I was led down to one of the sheds where we slept 4 girls in each room. There was a teacher in the door constantly, so the rule about not to talk to other students were still enforced.



Each day at level Zero resembled each other and it was really hard. We were ordered to exercise 2 times a day for 3 hours each. The rest of the time except for lunch and dinner was spent on assignments. If you believed that you had solved all the assignment you had to present it to a panel of students from the highest level, which apparently enjoyed bullying the new students based on they were humiliated with when they were at Level Zero. In reality it was a kind of exam where all the censors were as hostile as possible. The days flowed into each other and I cannot remember how many days that I spent at level 0, but it has probably been 8-10 days.


Eventually, however I passed the exam. At that time I had made concessions on something I hadn’t done, but the student panel constantly wanted more of me. I didn’t care. I just not wanted live on level Zero anymore.



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