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News & Views - Jan, 1991 Issue 

Anasazi Statement
Statement by Larry Olsen & Ezekiel Sanchez

With the controversy last summer in the media over wilderness survival programs, the founders of the Anasazi Foundation, the making of a walking, released a statement of their philosophy to show the contrast between them and those following a military "boot camp" philosophy. Olsen and Sanchez have been working with young people in wilderness settings for more than 25 years. The following is a portion of their statement. For more information and a copy of the full statement, contact them at P. O. Box 795, Payson, AZ 85547, 602-474-3445.

We hereby state that our outdoor survival program is responsible and effective because:

  1. We reject macho, military, Rambo tactics that wear or break people down so that a "re-building" may occur. This dangerous practice employs punishments, harshly contrived consequences, shouting in faces, intimidations, strict controls, condemnations, strip searches, hair cutting, food bribes, with-holding of food a punishment, badgering persons to tears, group confessions, and any other controlling, forcing, and demeaning practices.

  2. We have found that techniques alone do not change hearts. . . .

  3. We avoid contrived experiences such as ropes courses, initiative games, group "trust" games and other experiences that are "set up."

  4. We avoid recreation therapies that lead young people to be entertained all the time.

  5. We reject any social, political or business practice that discourages us from stating, up front, that our main focus lies in the principles of life taught by the Savior. In the walkings we have come to know which philosophies to reject and which one to embrace . . . .

In the "making of our doings" we reflect a high and positive standard of human relationships and living in harmony with nature because:

  1. We believe in building relationships of trust with each young walker.

  2. We believe that the wilderness is not a harsh place to be conquered, but a place in which each young person may walk in beauty.

  3. We believe that all children respond to patient love and that the principles taught by Jesus Christ provide ample opportunities for the growth of love and respect between all peoples . . . .

  4. We believe that, as part of our stewardship, we must protect each child from harm to themselves and to each other . . . .

  5. We believe that competency and preparation are absolute essentials . . . . Risk is present, but in 25 years our programs have never experienced a serious accident, death or disaster with any of the thousands of young walkers entrusted to us.

  6. We believe that parents need to be a part of this experience. We therefore provide a Parent Program, centered on the same principles as the trail program . . . .

  7. We believe in follow up.

  8. We believe in meeting all the requirements of laws and regulations of government agencies and standards of accreditation organizations.

Copyright 1991, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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