adirondack leadership expeditions
lake, new york
Background, and Survivor Statement(s)
HEAL SPECIAL REPORT:
adirondack leadership expeditions
HEAL has found
multiple problems with Adirondack Leadership Expeditions' enrollment
agreement including apparent unconscionable terms and/or
contradictory terms leaving us to believe that Adirondack
Leadership Expeditions is running a money-making scam on families in need of
assistance. We will be alternating between purple
background and/or words for HEAL critiques and questions and
a light pink with red words
for the words of
Expedition (ALE) in their
enrollment agreement (as was
downloaded from adirondackleadership.com on September 16th, 2010). HEAL will not repeatedly
link to the enrollment agreement in full throughout this review,
and, we advise readers to scroll back and/or open the enrollment
agreement in a new window while reviewing our work for accuracy
or if additional contextualization is preferred. This is
an independent review and if you are in need of legal assistance
or advice, please
consult with an attorney.
Agreement (Page 5)
"If you have authorized
the disclosure of your health information to someone who is not
legally required to keep it confidential, it may be redisclosed
and may no longer be protected."
is for use or disclosure of PHI for research, including the
creation and maintenance of research database or repository, the
statement "end of research study", "none", or similar language
Throughout much of the
enrollment agreement, the impression is made that Adirondack
Leadership Expeditions is HIPAA compliant. Adirondack
Leadership Expeditions (ALE) is
licensed in New York as a foreign limited liability company
only and not as a mental health or medical health services
provider. Limited Liability Companies are generally not
regulated by or required to follow HIPAA/HIPAA guidelines.
Therefore, by authorizing the disclosure of your or your child's
private records to ALE, you have already agreed to their
disclosing that information to anyone they wish without your
consent. While the confidentiality of your and your
family's information is implied by the language of much of this
contract, these brief passages disclose to you the reality of
the security of your private information in the hands of
Adirondack Leadership Expeditions. As they are not legally
required to keep it confidential due to the nature of their
company as it is licensed to operate or do business in New York,
your information may not be protected. These seeming
contradictions suggest misleading and deceptive practices.
In the second
segment above, ALE begins revealing the likelihood of your child
being used in a research study conducted by or with the
participation of ALE. Since your child is likely in this
program involuntarily and is likely being denied anything in the
form of legitimate informed consent, this is a serious concern
and suggests violations of the Nuremberg Code.
Agreement (Page 6)
"In addition, these
entities, sites, and locations may share health information with
each other for treatment, payment, or health care operations
purposes as described in this notice."
OF ASPEN EDUCATION GROUP AND ITS AFFILIATED ENTITIES"
"Make sure that
health information that identifies you is kept private (with
"Follow the terms
of this Notice that are currently in effect"
"We may use or
disclose your protected health information without your
authorization as follows in relation to health care operations:
--To administer and support our business activities or those of
other health care organizations (as allowed by law) including
providers and plans."
The above goes into
additional information regarding to whom or with whom ALE can
disclose or discuss your private mental and medical health
information without your authorization. It is important to
notice that the terms apply "that are currently in effect".
This language implies that there may be terms not in effect.
For instance, as stated above, the implication that ALE is HIPAA
compliant means nothing since HIPAA laws generally do not apply
to entities that are not licensed medical or mental health
facilities/services. So, the HIPAA compliancy would not be
provable and would arguably not be "in effect". It seems a
shifty way to suggest confidentiality while avoiding disclosing
that ALE is not licensed to provide mental health or medical
services in New York.
The last segment begs
some questions be asked of ALE: "What do you mean by "support our
business activities"? Does ALE use client information in
studies that result in financial benefit to ALE or Aspen
Education Group? If my child is included in a research
study conducted by ALE, will we or our child be compensated and
informed as to the dangers of participation in such a study?
Agreement (Page 7)
"We may use or disclose
your protected health information without your authorization as
follows in relation to health care operations: --To other
individuals (such as consultants and attorneys) and
organizations that help us with our business activities. (Note:
If we share your health information with other organizations for
this purpose, they must agree to protect your privacy.)"
"We may use or
disclose your protected health information without your
authorization for legal and/or governmental purposes in the
following circumstances: --Military activity and national
security--To the military (if you are a member of the armed
forces), and to authorized federal officials for national
security and intelligence purposes..."
"We may also use
or disclose your protected health information without your
authorization in the following miscellaneous circumstances:
--Facility directory information-Unless you object, we ma use
and disclose your name, the location at which you are receiving
care, your general condition (e.g. fair, stable, etc.), and your
religious affiliation in our facility directory...-Research-For
research purposes provided that certain steps are taken to
protect your privacy. For example, a research project may
involve comparing the health and recovery or all patients who
receive one medication to those who received another, for the
DISCLOSURES OF YOUR PROTECTION HEALTH INFORMATION BY ASPEN THAT
REQUIRE US TO OBTAIN YOUR AUTHORIZATION...Except in the
situations listed in the sections above, we will use and
disclose your health information only with your written
Regarding the first
segment, can families expect the same treatment of their privacy
from other organizations with whom Aspen shares information as
Aspen treats said privacy? Meaning, if enough independent
organizations signed confidentiality or privacy agreements,
could your private information end up in the hands of someone
you would not wish to have that information? (i.e. an employer)
The second paragraph
is a concern as many of the practices (i.e. forcing children to
"wipe" with frozen snow/ice packs in freezing cold conditions)
may be considered a form of torture. Does ALE run "intense
interrogation" tactics in order to research "effective"
practices for dealing with POWs? Is this a possible and/or
probable explanation for this clause? Generally, schools
and other institutions do not need to disclose information to
the military or national security and if truly needed, would not
need to be disclosed in a contract. This is what leads us
to believe that the research at ALE programs may be something
highly unethical and unsuitable for children.
Is it appropriate
to include so much personal information about participants in a
facility directory? And, is it appropriate to do so
without the consent of participants?
HEAL did not
include every instance in which ALE claims it can and/or will
disclose your protected health information (PHI) without your
consent. See the
enrollment agreement in full for more information.
Agreement (Page 8)
"You have the right
to...Request a restriction or limitation on the health
information we use or disclose about you for treatment, payment,
or health care operations...Please note that we are not required
to agree to your request."
"Aspen may change
the terms of this Notice at any time. We reserve the right
to make the revised or changed Notice effective for health
information we already have about you as well as any information
we receive in the future."
"You will not be
penalized for filing a complaint."
Here ALE is clearly
stating that they are not required to agree to or fulfill your
requests for privacy. This again suggests and/or implies
that they are not held to HIPAA standards and are not regulated
by HIPAA or the Department of Health and Human Services.
This is further shown above in regards to their licensing as a
foreign LLC only in New York, where the program is operated and
where, if properly licensed for the services claimed to be
provided at this location, would likely be regulated by the
Department of Health and Human Services or the local agencies
servicing those needs.
Also, the Notice that
the terms may be changed at any time may be a concern as it
gives them additional control of your private information now
and in the future. It is a concern.
HEAL is glad that
Aspen doesn't penalize clients for filing complaints. That
would be highly unethical and it is as interesting that they
would think such a statement necessary when all contracts are by
law to be made in good faith. Good faith would require
that no one be penalized for complaining and would be an implied
condition of the contract as it is will all other contracts in
the U.S. Again, this is not legal advice. If you
need legal help, please
Agreement (Page 10)
Adirondack Leadership Expeditions to release any and all
information to the referral source listed on this application
and all Aspen Education Group (AEG) Programs. I/we
authorize the below named educational consultants, professionals
and/or institutions to release and receive all information
concerning the above named student to and from the Adirondack
Leadership Expeditions Adolescent Program and all AEG Programs."
"Please sign even
if you do not include Referral Source information"
HEAL's concern is
that ALE is not a school and really ought not refer to clients
as "students". This is misleading. They are more
captives or inmates, than any other term that may be used.
In addition, while some Aspen programs may include a
distance-learning high school education, this is not the case
with the short-term ALE program. Concerns here are that
ALE requires families share very personal and private records,
including medical and mental health records, with ALE when ALE
claims it farms out all the actual mental and/or medical health
work to "independent contractors" for whom they take no
responsibility in the event your information is mishandled by
one of these "independent contractors". This certainly
limits their liability, but, how do these policies protect you
and your family from abuses and misuses of your most private and
Even if you did not use
an educational consultant, they still want you to sign so they
can use your private information and share it with all 48
programs in their network. That seems excessive and since
many of the other programs, if not all, are not licensed as
mental health or medical facilities nor educational
institutions, then exactly what kind of operation is it with
which you are involving your family by enrolling your child in
Agreement (Page 12)
"Information about how
to prepare for a successful transition following your child's
wilderness experience whether the next step is a residential
treatment center or transition home with aftercare support..."
payment, enrollment, nor eligibility benefits will be
conditioned on my providing or refusing to provide this
authorization. Information disclosed pursuant to this
authorization could be re-disclosed by the recipient and might
no longer be protected by federal confidentiality law (HIPAA).
that the information to be released may include those relating
to sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS or HIV,
alcohol/drug/substance abuse under 42 CFR 2.311 authorize the
release or disclosure of this information after having
specifically considering and expressly waiving those federal
consent requirements and restrictions."
The first segment
above is important as many survivors (victims) of ALE report
that they are typically referred to and placed in an Aspen
residential treatment center following their "wilderness
experience." For example, Richard Meehan (HEAL
NY Coordinator), attended ALE and was then sent to Academy
at Swift River as "after care" from ALE. Both programs are
confirmedly abusive. Also, the "wilderness experience" is
what ALE is and it is not a mental health, medical care, or
legitimate educational program. It is a wilderness
program. And, the use of "wilderness experience" here is
the most definitive of what the program actually is as opposed
to the "hype" regarding the "therapeutic nature" of the program.
have the right to waive their own rights, but, not the rights of
their minor children. This would arguably include a
limitation on the parent's right to waive the right to privacy
of said minor children. For more information, see
www.heal-online.org/legalarguments.htm. This appears
to be an illegal clause in the contract. Also, this
appears to be another hint that HIPAA laws do not apply and a
requirement showing that even if they do, you waive those rights
by signing the "consent" form.
Agreement (Page 13)
and/or guardian(s) of the Student (hereinafter the "Sponsor" or
Student is accepted into the Program, the term of this Agreement
shall be a minimum of 28 days...On the Arrival Date, Sponsor
shall transfer, by a Power of Attorney in the form received and
executed by Sponsor, temporary control of the Student to
Adirondack Leadership Expeditions for the duration of the
set forth in Exhibit "A", the Program fee is $465 per day, with
a minimum length of stay of twenty-eight (28) days, for a total
minimum payment of $13,020 (the "Minimum Payment")."
The purpose of the
first two segments are to show that ALE is an LLC by their own
admission and that throughout the remainder of the contract the
parents and/or guardians are referred to as Sponsors.
The language of the
third section goes to show the nature of the program by stating
they are looking to be granted "temporary control" as opposed to
"custody or guardianship" of the child. When they say
"control", that is exactly what they mean. And, such
extreme exercises of control of others as have been reported in
regards to ALE are abusive and violative of human rights.
This, of course, is cause for concern. The minimum "stay"
is countered later with the average stay which is reported by
ALE as being approximately twice as long as the stated minimum.
The cost of the
program is stated otherwise in "Exhibit "A"", which is discussed
at the review of page 20 below. Regardless, $465 per day
so your child can face grave dangers and be fed low quality
grains as the majority of their diet is really excessive,
especially since ALE limits its own liability for both emotional
and physical harms that may and/or will likely befall your child
while enrolled in ALE. Do you think it is worth over
$13,000 to put your child's life at risk and your family's
well-being on the line? What would your grandparents say
about this decision?
Agreement (Page 14)
"EXTENSIONS ARE BILLED
AT DAILY RATE OF $465 PER DAY. THE AVERAGE LENGTH OF STAY
IS 50-55 DAYS."
Sponsor agrees to pay $2200.00 application/enrollment fee and
$2500 psychological testing fee."
withdraws Student before expiration of the minimum period of
enrollment without the recommendation of the Program Director,
Sponsor forfeits the remaining balance of the minimum stay."
responsible for any additional escort fees required for
transporting Student to and/or from the Program to another
location (i.e., airport, doctor's appointment or special
injury to any Adirondack Leadership Expeditions personnel, other
students or third parties caused, in whole or part, by the
student; and to promptly reimburse Adirondack Leadership
Expeditions for any costs and expenses, including legal fees, it
may incur in connection therewith."
Leadership Expeditions is not liable for any loss or damage to
any of the Student's property."
and consents to Adirondack Leadership Expeditions'
subcontracting certain services to be rendered under this
Agreement to persons or entities deemed by Adirondack Leadership
Expeditions to be properly qualified to provide said services,
at no additional cost to Sponsor unless otherwise agreed to by
both parties. Adirondack Leadership Expeditions is not
responsible for the service provided by such third-party
contractors and is hereby released from any liability arising
from such services. All clinicians furnishing services to
the Student, including any psychiatrists, psychologists, mental
health professionals, or internists or the like, are independent
contractors with the client and are not employees of Adirondack
Leadership Expeditions. The Student is under the care and
supervision of his/her attending clinician and it is the
responsibility of the Student's clinician to obtain the
Sponsor's informed consent."
(This paragraph ends on
Here we have a vast
difference between the minimum length of stay of 28 days and the
50-55 days that mark the "average" stay in the program. Do
any children stay longer than 55 days? If so, what is the
longest period of time a child has been enrolled in the program?
How common is it for children to be referred to long-term care
facilities following this wilderness program? How often to
children stay in some form of treatment setting until they reach
age 18 after being in one of your programs? What is the
longest period a child has spent in Aspen programs and/or
referred to programs after being once enrolled in an Aspen
HEAL asks many of
the above questions because it is not infrequently reported that
children entering a program at age 10 or 11 will and/or have
remained in a "treatment" or "program" setting until reaching
adulthood. Often the younger children's parents believed
the program to be a summer school or summer camp for personal
enrichment and that period is used to persuade the parent into
further "treatment" options as long as the financing is
available. It is our concern that programs like ALE are
considered only an entry-level into longer term and damaging
imprisonment of children in other programs.
It is reasonable
for ALE to demand parents accept liability for their child's
actions resulting in damage to people or property. But,
only with that caveat that ALE is providing a nurturing
environment and not provoking angry outbursts through
humiliation or physical assault of the children. Since it
has been reported that such outbursts are intentionally provoked
by ALE staff at times, this clause may raise concern for
families. ALE should insure against such incidents through
good business practice and proper insurance that would be
required of any licensed childcare program or facility. It
is wrong to solely place liability with the parents who are
entrusting the supervision and care of their child to the
program. And, families should require an investigation
into any incidents of this nature to insure that they are not
being stuck with a bill that is not their own or their child's.
ALE is free to
steal from your child as a result of the clause freeing them of
liability for lost or damaged property. Theft of personal
property at programs is fairly common. Theft of personal
property at elderly-care facilities are equally as common.
It is always a good idea to keep any items of pecuniary or
sentimental value safe at home, this includes your children.
In addition, ALE
demands control of what "independent contractors" will be
utilized and granted the fees charged for their services.
However, ALE does not take responsibility for the care provided
by the contractors they deem "properly qualified". And,
since they are asking you trust their judgment in regards to
choosing said independent contractors, they would arguably be
liable for faults found with their judgment in the event harm or
other violations occur.
Agreement (Page 15)
Expeditions shall in no way be responsible for failure to
provide the same and is hereby released from any and all
liability arising from the fact that Student is not provided
with such additional care."
acknowledges serious hazards and dangers, known and unknown,
inherent in the Program, including but not limited to emotional
and physical injuries, illness or death that may arise from
strenuous hiking, climbing, and camping in a natural
environment, exposure to the elements, plants and animals,
running away from the Program, "acts of God" (nature), the ropes
understands that accidents occur during such activities due to
the negligence of others which may result in death or serious
injury. Sponsor and Student are voluntarily participating
in the programs with knowledge of the dangers involved and agree
to accept any and all risks."
for being permitted to participate in the programs, Sponsor
agrees to not sue, to assume all risks and to release, hold
harmless and indemnify [facility name] and any and all of its
predecessors, successors, officers, directors, trustees,
insurers, employees, managers, agents, volunteers, community
organizations, administrators, heirs, attorneys, executors,
assigns and/or related or affiliated business entities
including, but not limited to, Aspen Education group
(collectively all of the above persons and entities shall be
referred to as the "Released Parties" hereafter) from and
against any and all causes of action that may arise in
connection with the participation of the student at Adirondack
Leadership, whether arising under tort or contract law, except
to the extent resulting from the gross negligence or willful
misconduct of Adirondack Leadership."
by this Wavier and Release to release, in advance, and to waive
his or her rights and discharge each and every one of the
Released Parties, from any and all claims for damages or death,
personal injury or property damage which Sponsor may have, or
which may hereafter accrue as a result of Student's
participation in any aspect of the Programs."
understands that it is ultimately the Sponsor's responsibility
to provide payment to any hospital/emergency response
technicians/emergency transport company that may provide
services to Student as a result of injury/illness during the
that this Release extends to all claims of every nature and kind
whatsoever, and hereby expressly waives all rights under
California Civil Code section 1542."
The above states
that risks of emotional (i.e. psychological) and physical harm
are inherent to the program. This may be true of physical
harm given that exploring frozen wilderness with limited
supplies and/or improper supplies for warmth, etc. is likely to
result in physical harm and is a semi-reasonable assumed risk
when adventuring in such conditions. However,
psychological and emotional harm should not be an inherent risk
and stating that it is reveals the harmful nature of the ALE
Stating that the
child is voluntarily participating in the program is an open lie
and contradicted by the section on restraint covered below in
the review of page 16. Again, we remind parents that they
have the right to sign away their own rights, but, not the
rights of their minor children. This is discussed further
Also, ALE states
it will only be responsible for harms caused by gross negligence
and willful misconduct of ALE staff. And, repeatedly
stated is that the parents waive their rights to pursue legal
action even in the event of serious injury or death. These
appear to be unconscionable terms given the inherent harm in
participating in the program.
Agreement (Page 16)
"Sponsor agrees to
indemnify the Released Parties from any and all actions, causes
of action, claims, demands, damages, costs (including attorneys'
fees), expenses, liabilities and charges, known and unknown (the
"Liabilities") arising out of or in connection with claims
and/or actions relating to or brought by or on behalf of the
Student except and only to the extent expressly stated in this
Agreement, including, without limitation, claims related to or
arising out of the minor's participation in the Program."
handle all such protected health information ("PHI") pursuant to
the guidelines promulgated in the Health Insurance Portability
and accountability Act ("HIPAA") of 1996."
authorizes Adirondack Leadership Expeditions personnel to search
the person and personal effects of the Student at any time,
including a modified "strip search"...Adirondack Leadership
Expeditions is further authorized to confiscate any and all
items deemed by Adirondack Leadership Expeditions to be
contraband or counterproductive to the Student's successful
completion of the Program. The disposition of all items
confiscated by Adirondack Leadership Expeditions shall be left
to the sole discretion of Adirondack Leadership Expeditions."
authorizes Adirondack Leadership Expeditions personnel to
physically restrain, control, and detail the Student by the
exercise of necessary restraints when deemed necessary by
Adirondack Leadership Expeditions, for purposes including but
not limited to escorting the Student to and from the Program's
location, returning the Student to the Program if the Student
runs away, or preventing the Student from jeopardizing the
Student's own safety or the safety of others."
authorizes Adirondack Leadership Expeditions to use data from
the Student's records, tests, and assessments for purposes of
ongoing research, provided that the Student's name and identity
will be kept confidential and not used in any published
"In the event
that Adirondack elects to terminate the Student pursuant to the
terms of this paragraph, Sponsor understands and agrees that
Sponsor forfeits all monies pre-paid to the program."
HEAL thinks it is
important for families to understand the indemnity clauses
placing them in the position to take full responsibility in the
event of serious injury or death of their child in the program.
Many families have lost their children in programs similar to
ALE and some of these deaths occurred in Aspen programs.
At least two children died at Aspen's SageWalk program in Oregon
before it "voluntarily" suspended operations as the death(s) are
investigated by authorities. These risks are very real and
parents should think if the worst happens and ALE's methods are
responsible, how they will feel with nowhere to turn for
justice. Be careful and always seriously consider what you
are agreeing to in signing any contract. Again, this is
not legal advice. If you would like legal help, please
probable cause is a violation of the civil rights of the child.
Assuming every child, with or without a history of drug use, is
in need of a strip-search is unreasonable. Searching
children at "any time" suggests such searches are used as a form
of humiliation as opposed to being done for any legitimate
purpose. And, this is a serious concern.
to detain and control the child while in the program also shows
that the program is not "voluntary" for the child and that the
child is forced to participate in the program through physical
force. Congress is working on legislation (HR 4247, the
"Keeping All Students Safe Act of 2010") to stop these misuses
of restraint in programs and schools that often result in
serious injury and death.
references the use of your child and/or your child's data in
"ongoing research". What is this research and will you be
made privy to all studies in which your or your child's private
information will be used? If not, why not? Informed
consent to participate in any research includes knowing the
purpose of the research and the projected risks involved in
participating. This again suggests possible violations of
the Nuremberg Code (International Human Rights Laws).
And, of course,
if for some reason you decide it was a bad decision (with which
HEAL would heartily agree) to place your child in ALE and remove
him/her from the program, you lose all the money you paid to
ALE. Now, if ALE isn't, which they don't appear to be,
open about the "environment" they create for the children which
reportedly includes both physical abuse and humiliating verbal
attacks, then you should be due a refund. The comparison
between the claims made in promotional materials and the "agreed
to terms" of the contract may mean the difference between
proving fraudulent inducement (i.e. misleading advertising
and/or oral assurances of the programs safety/success rate) and
assumption of risk (i.e. the terms of the enrollment agreement).
If you pulled your child from the program and believe you are
due a refund, you should consult an attorney.
Agreement (Page 17)
"Sponsor agrees to
attend any seminars for parents and guardians of the students
conducted by Adirondack Leadership Expeditions during the
Program, and to give Sponsor's full cooperation to Adirondack
Leadership Expeditions personnel throughout the Program."
"If an escort is
required to bring the Student to New York for the Program,
Sponsor agrees that any escort or escort service used by the
Sponsor, whether or not Sponsor is referred to the escort by
Adirondack Leadership Expeditions, is in all respects an
independent contractor contracting directly with Sponsor.
Sponsor agrees that Adirondack Leadership Expeditions bears no
responsibility of any kind for any such escort service or the
negligence or failure thereof."
that the Student is a minor, both by age and as a matter of law,
that the Student does not qualify under the law as an
"emancipated minor," and that the laws of the Student's state of
residence permit Sponsor to place the Student in the Program
without the Student's consent."
or claim arising out of or relating to this contract, except at
Adirondack Leadership Expeditions' option the collection of
monies owed by Sponsor to Adirondack leadership Expeditions,
shall be settled by binding arbitration conducted in Lost
Angeles, California in accordance with the rules of the American
Arbitration Association. Judgment upon the award rendered
by the arbitrator(s) may be entered in any court of competent
jurisdiction for purposes of executing upon the award."
Leadership Expeditions for all reasonable attorneys' fees and
costs incurred by Adirondack Leadership Expedition in connection
with those matters concerning which Sponsor has agreed to pay or
indemnify Adirondack Leadership herein."
HEAL recommends that
parents ask what ALE means by "full cooperation". If you
witness abuse and try to prevent said abuse in opposition to the
protocol of ALE's program, will you be in violation of the "full
cooperation" clause? This is likely how ALE sees it.
And, anyone who demands full cooperation and/or unquestioned
authority over others is not acting in the best interest of that
individual or family.
The second two segments
above again reiterate how the program is not voluntary for the
child. So, this directly contradicts page 15 that states
the child has "voluntarily" agreed to participate in the
program. This is clearly not the case.
There is no such
city as "Lost Angeles, California", and that is how it is
written in the contract. Other misspellings you may have
noticed in the quotes from ALE's enrollment agreement are as
written in the agreement. HEAL did not correct errors in
the document when transcribing for this review. Also, why
are disputes regarding a program in New York being limited to
California? Since ALE chooses to conduct business in and
enroll children from other states, including New York, they
should be able to be sued from the home-state of their
dissatisfied clients. If they do not wish to assume the
risk of litigation outside of the state of their choice, then
they shouldn't accept children from other states.
The final segment
above seems more a tool of intimidation to frighten you from
pursuing legal action by having you agree to pay for ALE's
attorneys' fees regardless of the legitimacy of your claims.
This seems unconscionable.
Agreement (Pages 18 & 19)
"The Agreement, and all
matters relating hereto, including any matter or dispute arising
between the parties out of this Agreement, tort or otherwise,
shall be interpreted, governed, and enforced according to the
laws of the State of California; and the Parties consent and
submit to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the California
Courts in Los Angeles County, California."
"Other than the
express commitments set forth in this Agreement and the Program
description, Adirondack Leadership Expeditions gives no
warranties of any kind, express or implied, to wither the
Sponsor or the Student concerning the Program; and Sponsor
acknowledges that Sponsor is not relying on any warranties or
representations of any kind other than the express commitments
of Adirondack Leadership Expeditions set forth herein."
authorize the release of the Student's information via E-mail,
Internet technology, voice mail or US mail. While every
effort will be made to maintain confidentiality, Adirondack
Leadership Expeditions accepts no responsibility for the mis-transmission
that could result in information becoming available to someone
other than the intended receiver."
"The fee for the
physical is $150."
Again, ALE, located
in New York, demands that all complaints or lawsuits be filed
and/or decided in Los Angeles, California. The reasons
this seems absurd include that the program is located on the
other side of the continent from the location of the required
court or arbitrators. And, that ALE engages in interstate
transactions and should assume the risk that they may be
required to defend themselves in the state from which they
derived their business.
The second paragraph
above states that the contract rules and that any other oral or
written statements regarding the program are not being relied
upon. This is highly unlikely and helps them cover
themselves for the "misleading" advertising they use to promote
their programs and services.
And, we see ALE
again stating they accept no responsibility for violations of
your confidentiality or privacy.
The purpose of
including the cost of the physical is to show the additional
cost not covered by program or other program fees and that is
required by the program.
Agreement (Page 20-22)
"I/we understand that
the cost of Adirondack Leadership Expeditions is $465 per day,
$2,200 enrollment fee, $150 for the physical and $2,500
psychological testing fee. I/we understand that there is a
minimum initial payment of $17,870.00 which covers the first 28
days of the program."
Adirondack Expeditions, its employees, and contractors from any
and all liability resulting from our son's/daughter's
participation and assume all risks therewith, including known
and unknown risks."
that if my credit card declines, late fees of $50.00 may be
Screen for substance abuse...Screen for risk of self-harm,
aggression, and treatment compliance or flight. Detect
malingering and deceit. Screen for behaviors that are high
risk, illegal, or violate the rights of others or major social
HEAL included the
statement regarding the true minimum initial payment above as
opposed to the $13,020 cost stated as the minimum at the
beginning of the contract review. The cost and possible
difference in true cost were noted by ALE in the contract.
Not only does
Adirondack not accept any liability for their contractors, they
also demand you indemnify these "independent contractors" in
this section of the contract. Now, they want families to
hold independent contractors chosen by Adirondack liable as
opposed to holding ALE liable in other sections of the contract
and then openly contradict that by requiring you sign a
waiver/release regarding any risks or harms caused by those very
contractors. If the contractors are "independent",
shouldn't the agreement(s) relating to those services be
independently approved by the Sponsor/Parent? And, why is
ALE assisting these "independent contractors" in liability
protection when in earlier statements within this very document
they claimed that the contractors were individually liable for
$50.00 appears to
be a reasonable late fee. However, if it is a per diem
late fee, it may be excessive and unethical.
Our concern with
the discussion on "behavioral" screening is that these
"screenings" take place when a child is already scared and not
in a position to build immediate bonds and trust with those
doing the screening. Therefore, someone exhibiting
"shyness" may be confused or subjectively determined "deceitful"
for not being "open" about themselves to the satisfaction of the
screener. Also, does ALE consider homosexuality a
violation of "major social values"? If so, this would be a
Agreement (Page 23)
personal effects and his/her person may be searched at the
discretion of Adirondack Leadership Expeditions personnel."
that incoming and outgoing mail from students to parents,
guardians, and attorneys shall not be restricted or censored.
Mail to parents, guardians, and attorneys will be reviewed by
staff and sent without alteration to intended recipient.
All other mail may be restricted by parental request. All
incoming mail will be opened by staff and reviewed and then
given to the student."
Leadership Expeditions personnel shall be able to physically
restrain, control, and detail my/our child for the following
purposes: To detain him/her for any reason he/she leaves the
group and attempts to return home through any means of
The sections on
strip-searches and use of physical restraint to detain a child
and prevent them from leaving the group have been developed
sufficiently in other segments of this review. Since these
arguable abuses are confirmed throughout the contract, we
included the repetition of these requirements only to show the
significance and again highlight these areas of concern.
Also, by opening and
reading the incoming and outgoing mail of children in the
program, including mail to be private/confidential between
attorneys and their clients, ALE is violating the rights of the
child. In the case of
Rice et al v. Provo Canyon School, the Federal Court ruled
that such actions do violate the rights of the child and are
therefore decidedly illegal according to the findings in that
Since it appears
that ALE is abusive, fraudulent, and/or otherwise prone to
violating the rights of children and/or their families, we
heartily suggest you do not place your child in ALE and rescue
them if they are there now.
Background, and Survivor Statement(s)