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News & Views - Jun, 1996 Issue #40 


June 3, 1996: The Maury Povich TV talk show aired its long awaited broadcast about wilderness programs on June 3, 1996. He had several adolescents and parents on the program, and about 99% of the program was a litany of tragedies, misrepresentations and punitive actions against kids. The only positive statement about any wilderness program was a boy who had had a terrible experience in the Caribbean, and then went to a program in northern Arizona. The boy's reaction to the Arizona program was, "I loved it." At that statement, Povich moved on to another person. There were several things that did not come out in the program: 1.) I had talked extensively to a staff member of his and sent a copy of my Directory and several newsletters - they used none of that! 2.) At my suggestion, the staff member had talked to the founder and director of a wilderness program that has an excellent track record for effectiveness and safety - they did not invite him to appear nor refer to him. 3.) The staff member talked to a graduate of that program that felt it had saved her life - they said she was not enthusiastic enough. 4.) I had told the Povich staff member that most educational consultants and professionals in the wilderness business were as horrified and critical of those programs as the critical parents and children - they ignored that. In essence, the Maury Povich program demonstrated they continue to maintain the same standards that TV talk shows have been criticized for this past year. 


Julie Titone, staff writer for the Spokesman-Review, started a series in the June 2 Sunday edition about wilderness and emotional growth schools and programs in North Idaho, western Montana and eastern Washington. Titone talked to numerous ex- students, staff and educational consultants who are familiar with these programs. The basic focus is on the positive changes these programs are making in young people's lives, but also covers negatives such as the wilderness deaths in Utah and comments by disgruntled ex-staff. 

Although some people are upset by specifics regarding themselves, the overall impression is a fair, balanced presentation that gives the positives and negatives so parents and the public can judge for themselves. The coverage is very refreshing considering the all too common sensationalism that other media have jumped on. Copies of the series can be obtained by calling Woodbury Reports at 208- 267-5550. 

Copyright 1996, 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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