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Brat Camp – A Real Reality Show

July 13, 2005 11:04 PM by Joe Blackmon

There are no actors.  There are no models.  Brat Camp is a very real reality TV show.  At times, Brat Camp is disturbingly real.  The stars of Brat Camp are kids with real problems.  Some of them have lived lives containing abuse, depression, violence and even death.  Their behavior at times can be downright frightening.

Considering that a recent reality show called “Welcome to the Neighborhood” got yanked because of protests, it’s surprising that Brat Camp made it to the air.  The goal of Brat Camp is a noble one as it attempts to help and teach problem kids.  One has to wonder though if five years down the road when these kids are out in the real world trying to get a job if they will regret having their adolescent problems aired to America on a national television show.

Of course, on the plus side, there is the possibility that Brat Camp will reach other problem kids that will turn around their behavior before they get shipped off to a place like SageWalk.  Life at SageWalk is definitely no picnic, as the kids are blindfolded and driven out in the middle of the wilderness.  The kids are then forced to eat awful food, hike for miles with heavy backpacks, and go for long stretches of time without showers.  All while being directed by field instructors with names like “Glacier Mountain Wolf” and “Little Big Bear.” 

Reality TV Magazine is your source for Brat Camp news.  For other great Brat Camp news, please also check out SirLinksALot: Brat Camp.

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28 Responses to “Brat Camp – A Real Reality Show”

  1. DIANE Says:
    July 14th, 2005 at 9:41 am

    I just saw the show. Oh my goodness. Where do I sign up. This is exactly what we need. I have a 15 year old son just like Kevin, but I would say Brad is worst. He is distructive selfish, un-controlled mood swings, disreprectiful, sooo angry, and hes defiant. He has been kicked out of two schools and has been placed into a special school for kids like him, guess what they didn’t want him too. This child has so much to offer and he is going to loose everything. He will be 16 next month and only has 3 credits in school. Please help. I am a single mother living in Ontario Cananda and there is NO HELP HERE. I NEED YOU CAMP. HE NEEDS YOUR CAMP. Please save my babies life.
    Mom in hell

  2. BB Says:
    July 14th, 2005 at 12:22 pm

    I think this show should be taken off the air. It is a disgrace.

  3. Jazmin Says:
    July 14th, 2005 at 12:55 pm

    I think this show is great. These kids aren’t so tough anymore with out their drugs!! THey are such punks and this is what they need. If they dont listent to their parents, school or the court who will they listen to? I think this show represents what our youth is going through..

  4. Melissa Says:
    July 14th, 2005 at 6:28 pm

    I do not know WHY that woman just posted that this show should be taken off of the air. It was FANTASTIC, start to finish. My favorite reality since the Apprentice. Can’t wait to see the next one.

  5. Rich Jahn Says:
    July 14th, 2005 at 9:55 pm

    This show is appalling, and it should be taken off the air. The program is exploiting teens who are unwilling participants and have real serious problems. To the parent who thinks this is exactly what her son needs: there are dozens of documented cases of serious injury and death which have occurred in settings very similar to Brat Camp. Perhaps the largest number of them have taken place at “Vision Quest,” a Behavior Modification center which focuses on nature as part of its program. The program is very much like that of “Turn-About Ranch.” No serious abuse will likely occur on this program, since the teens’ captors are on camera. However, this program is an endorsement of the behavior modification industry, which has many allegations of serious abuse. There is currently a bill in congress to regulate such programs with regular inspection. One of the teens was suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Abusing and humiliating this person will not help treat this condition. Opponents of these programs refer to them as “Gulag Schools.” Rather than leaving such extreme measures as a last resort, parents may send undesirable youth to these institutions on a mere whim. These institutions in fact represent the worst violation of the civil liberties of youth occurring in our country today. I will be boycotting all ABC programming, and urging everyone I know to do so.

    For more information, please visit the International Survivors Action Committee: http://www.isaccorp.org/

    And the National Youth Rights Association: http://www.youthrights.org

  6. HorrifiedDad Says:
    July 15th, 2005 at 11:21 pm

    I am amazed it is even legal for ABC to exploit teens in this way. They are too young to legally sign contracts giving away their rights to privacy. These teens have complex problems that will not be helped by labeling them ‘brats’ and humiliating them on TV. Morever, it is well documented that coercive forms of therapy are rarely successful in the long term. They only appear to work temporarily becuase the young victims have no choice; conform or stay in an intolerable situation indefinitely. They victims do what they must to escape, but the outward change is not really internalized and long term anger and resentment are the real results.

    The worst part is that other parents will resort to this last minute tactic and force children into abusive programs in a largely unregulated industry. It doesn’t take much of a web search to reveal dozens of articles containing horror stories, deaths, and lawsuits in connection with these camps.

  7. peter b Says:
    July 17th, 2005 at 9:19 pm

    loved this show, at lat real reality that we can learn from.

  8. Zach Hobesh Says:
    July 19th, 2005 at 6:38 pm

    This is terrible!

    Believe what you want about these camps, but TV shows about these kids? NO! Teen drug addiction is not entertainment! I am appalled at those who credit the show.

  9. IB Says:
    July 21st, 2005 at 11:04 am

    Dude! This is a cool show! It teaches kids not to do drugs! Dude! My family watches this all the time! We love it! It shows kids what to do with their life, or they will be in the middle of a desert, and dying of hiking and things like that. And “peter b”, i don’t really care if you appall me!

  10. Pisses Off Says:
    July 21st, 2005 at 3:51 pm

    This show is probably staged, there is no way in hell that it can be legal to send these kids unwillingly to some camp where they are treated like shit. THey were told to pack for a week to go to some camp and then they find out that they will be there for 40-60 days, that would piss me off so much if my parents ever did that to me when i was young, let me tell you, id bullshit my way through that show just to get home real soon and then completly explode on my parents. There would have been hell to pay.

  11. Cara Says:
    July 31st, 2005 at 3:07 am

    I just wanted to respond to those who do not think that this show could possibly be real… it is! I was sent to one against my will when I was 15. Although I was miserable and hated my parents for doing it, I have to say that going there was a somewhat helpful intervention/eye-opener regarding my drug use… on the other hand, I would never forgive my parents for allowing any kind of camera even NEAR ME while I was going thru that type of experience… after all I would have to wonder, why did they REALLY send me away if they were going to allow my experience to be exploited?

  12. justiney Says:
    July 31st, 2005 at 8:28 am

    i think the show is wel good me mum sez i shud go on it but its seems enjoyable to me i dnt do drugs its just all the other stuff attitude but no i think it helps alot

  13. Rosie Says:
    July 31st, 2005 at 8:13 pm

    I am a single mom who needs desparate help
    with her 15 year old. I would rather see
    my kid hiking 60 miles today, rather then in a state prison, or dead a few years from
    now. For those who think this is drastic, don’t you think we have tried everything under the sun to help our kids. Obviously
    they have never had to deal with a troubled
    teen. If anyone could recommend a good camp
    for kids please post info.


  14. Joanne Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 1:38 pm

    I have to admit that I enjoy the show a lot. I feel for the kids and think that there should be a Parent’s version of Brat Camp. “Learn How To Be An Attentive Parent” Camp. The counselors are going to help these kids and then have to release them back to the parents that enabled them to become that way! Nick was upset last week because his twin brother makes fun of him and his dyslexia. Do his parents ever discipline his brother??? We also found out that the young girl who’s father passed away had never received any help AT ALL from her own mother! That child should have been placed in therapy YEARS ago. Where have these parents been for these kids???
    That’s what I want to know. I feel bad that these kids have to move back into their parent’s homes and endure the same neglect.

    Kids just don’t turn out that way for NO reason. They don’t do drugs if they are happy.

  15. lorna Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 2:04 pm

    I think this show is great!!!
    Wish we had it in Canada – some of our youth is out of control and I see this as a positive way to make them appreciate what they have.
    Some teens have loving and caring families and they still turn out bad.
    Keep up the good work!!!
    Ask the kids a few years from now whether this helped them and I’ll bet the answer is “YES”.

  16. Gigi Woolsey Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 8:47 pm

    i have two boys. 27 & 13-to be 14 aug. 5th. he thinks he has it hard around here. i am a reasident mgr of a 613 unit storage facility. i am the office mgr. the maint. man, the mom, cook, laundry seeker for things that lurk under the bed and in the closets. my 13 yr old thinks he has it hard. i even offered to pay him to help me around here. it worked for about two mos. we have been here 15 mos. he has a problem with me asking him to take out the garbage or to help me do something as simple as sweeping out a unit. he has the 2 syndrome!!!! it’s too hot or it’s too cold or what ever. please help me

  17. Tiffany Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 9:22 pm

    I would like to know how you sign up a kid for the show. I know a 15 year old who is a total trouble maker. He has been in and out of Detention centers, starts fights, hits his step mom,and worse of all recently my fiance let his mom borrow his $33,000 car, his mom had it less then 12 hours when her step son took it out for a joy ride in the middle of the night and totaled it. Worse of all his public defender got him off the hook. So I love this show, teaches children that they don’t need to boss people and have a mind of there own.

  18. jessie Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 10:50 pm

    I’m 15, and I watch this show every week. I think it’s great for “troubled” teens. Every person is there with nothing but themselves and their problems. They don’t have parents to tuck them in at night or pick up after them. Everything they do teaches them something extremely valuable in actual life. What I like most about the show is how strong and complete it is. Every teen must fight through their problems before they have the prospect of returning home. In some other shows, (for example Dr. Phil or the Maury Povich show) “troubled” teens are talked to for 15 minutes and are then sent home. Here they are forced to completely deal with their problems. This is the one aspect of the show I like the most. The teens may face their problems grudgingly, cursing the entire program, hating their parents for sending them to SageWalk, but they still do it. They still change. It shows that even behind the toughest exteriors, there is something amazing in each and every person.

  19. Neal Says:
    August 4th, 2005 at 1:18 am

    I have to laugh!

    I expected the Whine Brigade to come a-runnin and they did not disappoint. These are the same folks who restrict parents, undermine them, teach kids they are adults who are just younger and that they don’t need to listen to their parents or any authority… and with these types of touchie-feelie fools running the asylum is it any wonder so many kids today are out of control?

    To the wingnut who whined that ABC couldn’t have received consent from the kids WAKE UP BOZO… it was the PARENTS that signed any consent documents. That is how it works with minors. Geez! How ignorant ARE you?

    Granted, 90%-95% of kids will never need a place like Sagewalk, but for the other 5%-10% it is exactly what they need. The older alternative would be military school… at least at Sagewalk they take some effort to straighten out each kid individually instead of the one size fits all of most military schools.

    As for the whiner about the ADHD kid being there, it is exactly what he needs! I am ADHD and grew up with it and had to discipline myself to focus in order to deal with the world. What do you support? Drugging him into zombiehood for the rest of his life? No personal responsibility… just drug the kid! Yeah, right, ‘great’ plan there…. NOT!

    Kids today are not stupid… they know if they misbehave the juvenile system won’t do squat… the criminal justice system has, due to lack of manpower and funding, virtually decriminalized property crime. They know they will just get a wrist slap, if that. And many parents who DO try and control out of control kids have freaks in the schools teaching kids to milk the ‘childrens services’ system making all manner of false accusations against the parents to ‘punish’ the parents for telling them ‘no’.

    And the whiner who wrapped herself in full victim regalia and whined about ‘allegations’ of abuse at OTHER ‘such programs’ [translation: she couldn't dig up any dirt on Sagewalk so she tries to take unfounded allegations at other places and smear Sagewalk that way... what a princess she ism huh?] stop dealing in accusations. I know you and your fellow travellers in the Victim Brigades love to treat every allegation as unvarnished proven truth but get a clue, allegations without proof are nothing but hot air. If you get proof, then actions can take place.

    As for govt regulations show me one thing the government ever got involved in that it did not screw up hopelessly. To my knowledge Sagewalk and similar programs get no federal or state funding… they are private. So.. so long as the kids are not abused or neglected (by the definitions of the law, not the bleatings of bleeding heart extremists who don’t have to deal with the out of control monsters their ideology creates) there is no place at all for the government. In fact if the government was doing its job right there would be almost zero need for places like Sagewalk.

    As for this being ‘abuse’ Puh-LEEZE! When I was 12 I used to hike into the mountains in new england for a week or two, hunting, trapping, fishing and foraging to eat, with a bowie knife and what would fit into a pouch the size of a fanny pack. In my backpack were a change of clothes to wear while I cleaned the other, a couple blankets and a book. Compared to all the stuff and support these kids get they are at camp by my standards… and even my 17 yr old daughter looked at it and said the program ‘looks like a lot of fun, what are they whining about?’.

    I think that says it all as far as all the above complaints by the ‘Whine Brigades’ and the ‘Victim Auxilliaries’ are concerned.

    Sheesh, get a grip, people and realize that when nothing else works you need to change something.

    And if even one kid watches the show and straightens out because of it then it was worthwhile.


  20. jil Says:
    August 4th, 2005 at 3:06 pm

    i like this show.
    i grew up with plenty of kids just like these kids.
    some are still in the same position they were in, in high school.
    some are dead.
    some have gone one to be amazing people.
    i think its a good show & hopefully these kids will realize thier potential :)

    does anyone remember the name given to lexie? something fawn growing… its been making me crazy all day…


  21. Susan Says:
    August 7th, 2005 at 12:18 pm

    There are always those who will be appalled, but the teenage years are not easy, even under the best situations. I had probems with my son as a teenager. His father abandoned him after we divorceed, and he blamed himself. He acted out at home, school, society. In desperation, and to save his life, I placed him in a local residential treatment program. I saw him every weekend I could, and participated weekly in therapy as a family with him and his brother. His father refused to participate even over the phone (he was out of town).

    I am very grateful to the facility. My son is now 30, has a good job, is a loving father and husband. I am so proud of him. I don’t know where he would be had I not reached out for help for him.

    Good for these parents for caring enough to deal with others judgmental attitudes, for caring enough to get their sons and daughters the help they need.

  22. Trish Ellis Says:
    August 10th, 2005 at 4:27 pm

    I need info on how to get my son on this show. It is a must, we are loosing control of him. Please send me a contact number or website

    Thank You


  23. viewer Says:
    August 10th, 2005 at 10:58 pm

    I am torn between 2 views. I do wonder about the longterm results and resentment factor that these kids may have about being tricked to where they were going and being filmed and shown on tv without their consent. However, if they knew where they were going, they would most likely have had to be forced or not go – so the question remains which method is best. The person who wrote the LONNNNGGG comment about about whiners made some very, very good points. Sagewalk does not look like abuse any more than pioneer kids walking along the wagon trains…it is physical exercise combined with chances to do things that bring about confidence. A huge difference could be seen in attitudes when the kids were rappeling down the cliff. Their enthusiasm and encouragement of others did not seem fake. It seems as if some big changes had already taken place. Everyone who spends a fairly long time on the show Survivor talks about how roughing it and being isolated really changed the way they look at the world and how much more they appreciate their families, etc. I just can’t help but think that the positive results must outweigh the negatives on this show. It is showing millions of people that there is a place to get help, and the counselors seem to honestly care about the kids. Then again, having America watch you work out your problems…I just don’t know about that aspect. So, as I said,I am somewhat torn on this. Despite that, I find myself watching in fascination and rooting for the kids the whole time.

  24. Thunder Dove Says:
    August 13th, 2005 at 3:04 am

    Before Everyone goes and passes judgement on the idea of wilderness programs perhaps you should do some research. I am field staff at one such program. We don’t have camaras and there is absolutly no abuse at all. We have an adult program and a teen program both are run by the books. We eat well, hike and have groups daily. The students learn empowering wilderness skills, such as primative fire making as well as make social growth daily. I was once a student in the program I now work for and as such I am a living testiment to the idea of wilderness programs such as “Brat CAmp”. I have been clean since my first day as a student adn now three years later as a field instructor I am still clean and haven’t relapsed once. So again, not all prgrams beat or neglect students, it’s a matter of where you send your child. There are plenty of wonderful options out there. Wilderness Programs aren’t an option for every child but I have them to thank for SAVING MY LIFE.

    A.K.A. Thunder Dove

  25. Rebecca Dodosn Says:
    August 26th, 2005 at 11:04 am

    Why do parents care so much about deceiving their children these days? They are NOT your equals. They are YOUR responsibility. Children are incapable of making most major life altering choices. Every time they make one on there own something bad will generally come of it; i.e. pregnancy, addiction, accidents, violence or even death. It is like parents forgot that there is a reason you are responsible for your children till they reach eighteen. You have to show them how to make reliable and responsible decisions. They need to be shown. They need REAL consequences. As parents we owe our children love, food, adequate shelter and clothes. Respect and trust are earned and maintained. Privacy must be limited. Parents have made these children think they are entitled to such objects and privileges as expensive game consoles, computers, $400.00 jeans, cars (new or old), privacy, respect, IPods, cell phones, freedom and authority. I used to think these parents were delusional. Now I understand that they are too selfish and caught up with career advancement and the collection of status and material possessions that they forgot that they were the parents.
    We live in a country motivated by greed, selfishness and instant gratification. Instead of talking and working with children most parents find it more convenient to have them declared ADHD and dose them up with drugs that were never tested for children. These so called “miracle” pills are just the adult dose modified to a smaller dose using height and weight as a factor. When something goes seriously wrong and a parent is finally forced to face what their child has done to themselves or others they are quick to find anyone to blame but themselves. Music, movies, video games and television have long been the scapegoats for failed parenting. When in reality it is always the parents at fault. If your child has violent video games, a stock pile of fire arms and explosives, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and other weapons in his room whether you knew about it or not is going to be your fault. You should have known it was there or not given them the opportunity to have brought it in the house and kept it there. Check their rooms, get involved, ask questions and follow up on it. Release your inner stalker and interrogator. Make them ask for permission before they do something and hold them accountable for when they get into trouble. Show them what real consequences are. Show and enforce the difference between right and wrong and how two wrongs don’t make a right. I apologize if what I am suggesting may interrupt a business meeting or two. If you can’t devote a hundred percent to your children then just don’t have them. Be adult enough to acknowledge your inability or lack of interest to properly raise them. I know not all parents can be a stay at home caregiver. In fact, I can relate to that. I also work full time. If you have to constantly work pay bills and kept up you standard of living then maybe it is time to realize you may be living above your means. Learn to let some of the things that are not vital to day to day living go.
    I realize that I may have gotten carried away in my rant and may have not conveyed what I set out to. My bottom line here is I praise and applaud those parents that realize that their children have an actual problem. I commend you, the strong willed loving parent that has the courage and the selflessness to risk a tantrum and follow through with tough love. Never listen to the liberal babble of those who do not have children. To those that spew liberal babble and DO have children; what fools you are! If you really cared about the well being of your children, present and future included, you would be more focused on giving your child the greatest abilities and tools in this life. Teach them to function in today’s world. Nothing is more rewarding to both the parent and the child then being able to boast releasing a mindful, smart and accountable young adult into this world that will result into a well rounded productive member of this society. To the counselors, team members and parents that are taking an active responsive role in rebuilding and shaping these children; hike on! If it is working why knock it?

  26. Rich Jahn Says:
    October 2nd, 2005 at 3:11 am

    From Jessie:

    “…To the wingnut who whined that ABC couldn’t have received consent from the kids WAKE UP BOZO… it was the PARENTS that signed any consent documents. That is how it works with minors. Geez! How ignorant ARE you?…”

    If you were addressing this to me, I am not ignorant. I am well aware that parents can do whatever they wish to their “minor” children. That is exactly the problem.

    Try kidnapping a 19 year old and holding him or her against their will in a camp to “reform” them. You will go to prison.

    My entire point was this is an appalling abuse of youth rights. And I am talking about civil rights they deserve as human beings, despite their being “minors.”

    Don’t reply that of course youth can be robbed of their rights in this instance, because afterall they are not allowed to do this, this, this, this, this, …

    I am well aware in great detail of how youth are consistently robbed of their rights in any and all capacities with the legal sanction of law. I am not ignorant.

    To those of you that are rolling your eyes about the abuse accusations, obviously there will be no abuse on national television!

    But the fact remains that there *are* serious accusations of abuse in camps similar to the one in Brat Camp. This even includes deaths!

    Read here about the youth who have died in similar “wilderness” programs and other behavior modification programs.


  27. Grace Says:
    May 17th, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    Yeah come on!!! The show was so last year! None of you are going to get nick ya know? or are you to dumb to realise that…come on stop kidding yaselves, im sure hes really popular with the girls now cause hes been on T.V or whatever so all i can really say to you idiots is U AINT A CHANCE IN HELL!!! Got it??!!!!!!!!

  28. ally Says:
    August 16th, 2006 at 2:43 pm

    OMG that show was real interesting. i am only a teen in high school just going in grade 10 bt hav already thinking i have rewand the respect of my teachers. i yelled at them, told them off and more. i joined cadets when i was 13 and thought i was going to get my oown way and they couldn’t tell me what to do. reality check i can’t lol. i went to cadet camp this past summer and relised i had to behave and do what i was told and respect my officers and PO becauase if you dont you get send home and honesly i didn’t want to go home it was so much FUN. I even got paid for being there. i now have new respect for my teacher and people around me. omg it was so much fun trust me.


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