Cedu Documentary – I and Me and Summit Scripts

The Cedu Schools put their students through at least nine overnight and/or multi-day “emotional growth experiences.” Graduates and survivors of the schools can tell you the unbelievable details – or you can read them about some of them here.

Below find the scripts, by which former drug addicts, alcoholics, criminals and drop-outs put the children of middle and upper class neglectful parents through the 60s-70s mind-warps they invented.

I and Me Script. A three-day workshop in which you are instructed to believe that you are some sort of schizophrenic butterfly:

[“View Image” by right-clicking, where image/text is cut off]

Wow. Life-changing. Deeeeep.Not just a series of non-sequiters flown out of the ruined heads of 50s and 60s drug-addicts. No, no. No. Yes. No, it’s really, really… really. In any case, (No refunds).

Summit script. The Summit was five delightful days of hand-inverted fun, where you learn that if you say you’re a grown-up, (and you’re dressed like a cartoon character), then you are a grown-up:

What a trip down memory lane huh? Gosh, nice to know that such programs existed?

And that they still do exist.

For more on the madness, please visit Cafety.org

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About Liam Scheff

"Author, Artist, Film, Permaculture." Liam Scheff is a writer, artist and stand-up lecturer on issues that people usually don't make comic books about. (Visit liamscheff.com). Liam's highly-praised book "Official Stories" reveals the complex details behind the myths of our times.

Posted on June 20, 2008, in Surviving Cedu. Bookmark the permalink. 71 Comments.

  1. I must say. I did go through this. I was one of the MOST “in agreement” subscribing students that went through the program at the time- and I remember NOTHING. Seriously, really, nothing.

    Preambulating bodies? Nope. Nothing. My sensitivity must have triggered a defense mechanism that’s helped me block literally almost every “beneficial” activity we went through. All of these memories are gone, and the all that are left are these ghosts of transcripts. Thank you truly and sincerely for reviving these so that I can have some connection to this impactful event I went through at a delicate stage in life.

  2. The lifeboat experience was where your peers told you whether you were valued enough in their opinion to live or to die. Then you write the epitaph. At least that is how it was done in 1983ish…what a blow to find that your peers think you should be dead and that your life has little or no value to them or anyone in the room. We also did the child running around in the summit too where we regressed into children and played…blah blah blah. We also did the rocking exercise in the I and Me where people all held you and rocked you and also there was the part where everyone laid down and we swallowed a miniature version of ourselves to find the door and open it to the path where we walked along and found our three words.

    I also remember being given a character in the Summit workshop that was supposed to be a negative … or positive representation of who the staff thought we were. I was the evil stepmother witch from Snow White…as Eric felt that I was two faced. I probably was…one face for my friends and one for the staff..but then again who the hell wasn’t? Even our friends were trying to survive in this environment so we had to be careful with them as well.

    I know that after Eric Melzer, John and Marci Padgett, Michael and Danielle Allgood and Barb and Craig Cass left CEDU to start the Cascade school in Whitmore CA that parts of the Summit workshop and other workshops and propheets had been altered. I recognize some of these things that you have but not others.

    I also find it interesting that most of the students who came after my time are the ones who are having the biggest issues with the experience. I wonder if it has to do with the school taking younger and younger students and attempting to put them through the same ordeal as students who were older or if the program had changed so much that it became even more abusive than when I and older students went? I remember one of the staff saying that they were targeting younger kids for the school as they felt that the people coming in older were less accessible emotionally and they didn’t particularly care for the older students not totally buying the whole thing.

  3. Oops–I guess the rocking was in the Summit…the keys and door and the path to the three special words was the I and me…

  4. I remember the death part very well. We had to imagine that we all died on a boat that sunk in the middle of the ocean – then we had to write our own epitaphs. It was devastatingly painful and traumatizing – please contact me – I have many many stories.

  5. So,

    I went to a school created by old CEDU staff who were unhappy with the direction the program was heading in (CEDU early 90s). A few of them got together and started a school. Out of the two main founders one of them was RMAs first student and the other is the son of Dan Earle, RMAs headmaster for 15+ years. Our school followed a program structure almost identical to the CEDU prgram (prophets, raps, summit, etc. – although each had different names). I have yet to read the whole manuscript but everything I’ve read so far represents identically the Intellect vs. Essence (I vs. Me) workshop I went through as a student there.

    I know how intense some of these experiences were, and I understand the peer culture that surrounded us all while we were there sometimes pressured us to do things that felt very strange and weird. But, without a doubt in my mind, I know how positively this experience and others like it have been for me. I also know some of you feel very different about such experiences. I hope that in my saying this it can be seen that these workshops (at least in the way I experienced them at the school I went to) were helpful for some.

    Thanks,
    Dan

  6. Why were they helpful, Dan? What do they keep you from doing or help you to keep on doing to make your life more fulfilling? and more importantly to me, was there no other alternatives at that time, in maybe a less traumatic setting that would have helped you to achieve those goals?

  7. I remember the experience with an absent fondness. The terrify reality experienced durng the early stages and the elation of friends and comfort after the pain, ooohh the pain. Memories fade and color over the years, I was there in the early 80’s (hey Marcy). I was “The Great and Powerful Wizard of Odd” they meant it as a negative and for a while I felt that way, now I revel in the identity. Writing the epitath was a cold and detatched event that I had actually shoved from my memory. The clearest memories were of the view on the uplifting days. Looking down on San Bernadino was so beautiful (when there was no smog). I remember the elation and the comfort of friends as we rejoined the house and that is the memory I will take with me always.

  8. Tracy Tannen

    I forgive, but will never forget. I never bought into the Nazi-shit that they attemped to force feed me.

    How dare them bring on staff that was not trained to assist “troubled teens.”

    Ironically, I’m quite convinced that there were more “troubled parents” then screwed up kids.

    Sorry Dan Earle, I “didn’t die on the outside” as you said I would. And, I never screwed a female student behind my spouse’s back (RIP Carmen.) So, I guess I did okay.

    It has indeed brought joy to my heart when the last of the Cedu’s closed, stealing tuitions and pay checks from parents and staff members.

    Karma…………

  9. Wow there are some intense feelings on this. I went to Rma from 97-99 and i saw a ton of questionable things going on there. I am mixed and running away in the white supremacist and nazi hotbed was no option. I remember kids getting put in isolation with maybe one other student who had to watch them. I remember the physical abuse that ascent imposed on people. Making kids admit to things that they never did just to break them. It was terrible.
    On the surface it was a great concept but so is communism. I have always said the school did nothing for me but the friends I made there did. We taught each other accountability, how to be friends, tolerance, and to some degree how to love someone. I was in peer group 80 or 81 I think. I was team spectrum and had Nicole Rowell as a team leader. I think she was one of the good staff at RMA she really cared about us kids on her team. Take care all and I hope that we can all get over our personal pow camp experience.

  10. Liam,

    Have you gotten any information or accounts of students experiences at Cascade? I attended in the early 2000’s and it seems to be very similar to what has been described by former CEDU students. Considering some of the Cascade staff members worked at CEDU at one point or another prior to their stints at Cascade, I believe that the programs were very similar. I was pulled from Cascade just before the last workshop, Symposium, which I assume is the Summit, and was not at all surprised when i read the script. Also to those of you who mentioned “work projects”, which were punishment for breaking bans, being out of agreement or to put it bluntly, fucking up…I feel your pain. I still to this day cannot explain my experience there to anyone who wasnt there and dont think I could ever do it justice. I look forward to seeing the documentary and wish you all the best.

    And to the comment regarding the younger and younger students being admitted…i totally agree. When i was at Cascade there were some students as young as 13 with slight defiance problems living with abused, molested, and addicted adolescents(some over 18). It was completely inappropriate(I believe it was a money ploy) did those younger students a massive disservice and opened their sheltered eyes to a world they were not ready for. Even now at 23, I am unable to process or even feel anything about some of my time there, how could someone at 13 be expected to understand?? I recently found my journal given to me by my beginning school counselor, who I love to this day, and I was appalled at the things I wrote…It seemed the worse you felt about yourself the more praise you got from counselors and the more “emotional growth” they insisted was taking place. Also, the owner, Michael Allgood, was never involved in any emotional work at Cascade when I was there. He seemed to be a looming figure in the background who just took parents money and ran. There was nothing good said about him when I attended the program and have heard even worse things since leaving. To think a man who took 100,000 a year from parents to “fix” their children couldn’t even balance his budget…

    ps anyone know where barb and craig cass are today? what a pair…

    I should say that there are somethings I took from that school that I will never forget in a good way…I am Hopeful (and always will be)

  11. Liam,
    This is incredable!!!! where did you find these???? I’m speachless! What your doing is amazing work not only for people that have been through this experience but also for those who haven’t. I know that I have had a difficult time explaining to others what I went though, I’m sure others feel the same, what your doing makes this possible!
    Melinda

  12. WHO HAS MORE OF THESE?!?!?

  13. Wow! Marcy, Thom S. – Your thoughts seem similar to mine in that after the “split” the year I graduated hmmmm 1984? it seems as if CEDU “changed”. I have heard a few stories from fellow CEDUites??? about inappropriate behavior but for me I did not experience such. I admit I am jealous of such clear memories that people here and my friends have of the propheets. Things like “my song” what my character was in the Summit. I really cannot recall. But I do carry with me the intended message and the lessons I learned. Maybe like Marcy said it is because I was older. I was 17 when I went, many of my peers were 14, 15, and 16.

    Yes it sidetracked my life for a couple years and I started college later than others but it did what my parents could not, stop me from ruining my life. It also gave me some cool lifestyle moments like rock climbing, backpacking the Sierras and Joshua Tree, Italy, snow skiing, water skiing, feeding baby calves, ropes course, building horse shelter a Xmas tree taller than I could ever imagine.

    I am truly sorry that many on this site feel tricked and betrayed and abused. I have not seen Liam’s documentary but I wonder if any positive stories were told.

    As my father taught me, there is always more than 1 side to any story (like facets on a diamond) and for anyone to make an educated decision about anything they should see/hear/read all sides.

  14. Courtney,

    I get the impression that a lot of people share your impressions in that there were fun times to be had, such as rock climbing, camping, working with animals and such. And of course everyone is virtually unanimous in their agreement that the friendships we made with fellow students were some of the best we ever had. But what many here believe is that the program itself was run by hacks, people who had no training or credentials whatsoever to be offering therapy or counseling of any kind. And that many of the central themes of the program, such as Raps, Propheets, constant humiliation and sexual degradations were ultimately damaging and wrong. And psychologists, actual doctors trained in treatment methods agree.

    The State of Oregon recently completed part of an investigation in to Mount Bachelor Academy, a place started and run by ex-CEDU/RMA types. Their program included many of the exact same things we had at CEDU/RMA including propheets and raps. And they were shut down because police and attorneys and trained psychologists agreed that the activities were ultimately abuse. But nobody would argue that the kids made friendships. Nobody says the kids never had any fun working with animals or going hiking. What they are saying is that the core aspects of the programs were damaging and abusive and illegal.

    And the Documentary Liam is making includes a lot of this give and take. You have the two girls being interviewed who are clearly lifelong friends who met at CEDU two decades ago. You see them laughing about some experiences that were clearly fun and entertaining to them. They obviously derive a great deal of support from each other as friends even all this time later.

    And then there is talk about the many restrictions and punishments, the desire to run away, the feelings of being humiliated and watching others be humiliated and of being pressured in to participating in the humiliation of others. The constant fear many felt…

    Each segment of the Documentary covers various aspects of the program from arriving the first day to the different things we did while there. And if you watch it and think back on how you felt regarding each subject of the Documentary from Raps to Propheets, to smushing, to work details and bans and full-times… How different were your reactions to those of the people in the videos? Does the Documentary come off as being honest, with legitimate reactions and recollections? Do you think you would find many people who attended who would describe Raps as being the greatest thing ever, always fun and a blast, with deep and meaningful and respectful dialogue from start to finish, three times a week? Or do you think the way they are described in the Documentary is based pretty much on how most people reacted to them?

    Many would feel the Documentary is intended to be a full-on anti-program video with no balance. But if you go in to it and listen carefully, I think it comes off as simply a collection of realistic reactions. How people really felt when confronted with the various aspects of the programs.

  15. Hi Courtney,

    I suggest watching the clips, before you comment further.

    “I admit I am jealous of such clear memories that people here and my friends have of the propheets. Things like “my song” what my character was in the Summit. I really cannot recall.”

    Well, we do recall. What are you gonna do? Those who remember the details recall a whole lot more than “cool lifestyle moments.” Go figure.

  16. Bill,

    I have not listened/watched all parts of the documentary. But I do not deny that there are many ex-students who experienced what you and others on this site have mentioned.

    When I mentioned there is more than one side to every story and that people should look at all sides…I was refering to those of us who have different experiences than those interviewed.

    Do I think staff were professionally qualified? No. Do I think that there was inappropriate behavior from staff towards students. Yes. But I did not witness this directly or indirectly. I heard of it after I graduated.

    I agree with the music agreement, no sex, no drugs, no tv. I felt these agreements made us all equal, forced us to communicate with each other beyond music, sex and clothes. Could raps have been less loud? Yes. Do I understand why parents “tricked” their kids into coming? Yes. Was I tricked? No.

    In comparison to my peers my “story” was not as intense as others. I was 17 and had been involved in drugs/drinking and sex for a year. I wanted to change because I was afraid that if I didn’t I would never go to college and I would not have a decent life. And so I took advantage of raps to deal with my anger towards my dad and step mom and to change my way of thinking about being accepted by those around me. I even uncovered the memory of being molested by a neighbor. At first I thought it couldn’t be true but my father confirmed it. My relationship with my dad became stronger and closer because of Cedu.

    Going back into the “real world” was awkward and hard. I think we should have been prepped more for that.

    Just some additional thoughts.

  17. Hi Courtney,

    Good, glad therapy of some sort was useful. Therapy and structure and guidance are good and useful.

    You seem to be half on the point though – there were rules against sex and violence, but we were screamed at and spit upon and forced to do hard labor at the whim and discretion of any particular unqualified staff, (as you pointed out). Is that a kind of violence?

    We were forced to intimately cuddle with the same staff at night. We were forced to intimately cuddle with each other. Is that not sexual?

    Therapy is nice, it helps. That is not, however, therapy. That is a refuge for drop outs and losers and degenerates who want debase and then to cuddle with teenagers. There may have been better and worse staff – in fact there were. The question goes to the nature of the program: opaque, hidden from students and parents, and chock full of denigrating, degenerate-facilitating moments, as described.

    I’m not surprised that we managed, at times, to find fun there. Life is like that. It’s not a question of whether fun was occasionally had, or whether some people actually took to the culty program better than others, or whether you drew a lesson or two that can be used later in life. All of that can be true, and I’ll assume is true. But the program itself (programs of this type) can still be a refuge for degenerates and drop-outs and child abusers, molesters, creeps, cretins, derelicts, etc, who are able to operate, without interference or intervention. We all knew one or two, or three, four or five, or more, ‘teachers’ and ‘counselors’ like that at Cedu.

    Because that’s who wanted to work there, by and large, because of the ex-drug-addict heroin-cure Synanon-based mentality of ‘up from the bottom all the way to the top for those who come in for our brand of therapy.’

    That should matter, shouldn’t it?

  18. This is the Cedu I remember.

    to the point and hilarious

  19. Good video. I heard so much of CEDU/RMA in the descriptions.

  20. Courtney,

    You and I were there around the same time. I arrived in 1984, age 16. Compared to you, I was a saint. I was a virgin, never drank, no drugs, didn’t smoke. I simply missed a few homework assignments and my parents consider that worse than drugs and sex. So what was I supposed to take from this “equal” experience? Did I deserve to be yelled at three times a week, or listen to others be? Was I going to be cured of something while there? Was my listening to Pop music before arriving so screwing up my life I needed it completely removed for two years? Was the five or six hours a week of television I watched so bad I couldn’t handle it any more? Was the news in newspapers or magazines or on television going to so sidetrack my life that it all needed to be removed, lest I be completely screwed up and unable to focus on the direction my life needed? I just don’t think so. Maybe they were a distraction to you, but they were not for me. I couldn’t see how reading about 1984 Olympics or something was going to ruin me.

    A lot of students agree that they felt this “equal” treatment was ultimately unfair. That we were all made to feel equally guilty about completely disparate events in our lives that were often not similar. That for not having sex, I had to feel as guilty as you did for having sex. And though I never used drugs, I had to feel just as bad as you who had used drugs. I was never molested, but had to feel just as bad, get just as humiliated and berated as you. In the ‘I want to live” I was just as close to death as you? The friends I had before arriving who were all straight A students, never touched drugs, never smoked, never drank, didn’t “party”, were all virgins, were such bad friendships I needed a Brothers Keeper to help make them good relationships? And explain why I needed to die in the Summit “Life Boat” exercise. Please tell me how your dying helped you? I just don’t get it.

    Now consider my “sex contract” at RMA. Did I have sex because I was some degenerate, dishonest bad guy or possibly because I was constantly “smushing” with a girl who took a liking to me while I was in my hormone-crazed mid-teens? And was that relationship built on dishonesty? We had gotten to know each other for more than a year, were best friends, had developed the relationship, even stayed together for four years after graduation. But I was punished for it. Told it was all wrong and dishonest. So I am left wondering what kind of relationship would be acceptable to them? I am conflicted. I smushed, which was sexual and very flirtatious, leaning up against an attractive female or having her lean against me several days a week for hours at a time. We told each other our life stories and seemed to find each other to be good and decent and possibly good partners. Eighteen months later we decided to take our relationship to a new level and I must ask why that was wrong? What did they expect we were going to do? I am 41 years old and still think the message was mixed.

    Then there are Raps. I have no recollection of ever, not even once, being indicted for anything even remotely related to therapy. All of the indictments were based on the most insignificant events. Like taking ten minutes in a shower and someone decided it was eleven. Using a long word in a sentence that someone didn’t understand. And my favorite…Not yelling at a friend who was being indicted for something trivial and off-base and that would have no value to add to their general development or our relationship. In the Documentary, people who were there are not describing them as being particularly helpful. I am sure many might say they got some things out in to the open, which might be of some therapeutic value if done with a professional psychologist trained to give treatment or relevant feedback to various revelations made. But I just don’t see it as all that useful when told to teens and untrained staff members. Normally, in the real world, if you told say…a school nurse… that you were molested, they would direct you to seek a psychologist. They would not sit you down and scream and yell at you. They would not bring in all your peers in school to do the same. So why was it proper and valuable when RMA/CEDU did these things? How was it that RMA/CEDU Raps, run by people with no credentials to offer any form of therapy could be accepted as of life-long value? I just don’t see it.

    The main reason I responded to your post was because you had suggested the Documentary might be only negative stories and I wanted to give my impression of them. And also because you described a lot of non-therapy related events like hiking, working with animals and so on that I hear from many people as being fun, but that you hadn’t commented on the actual program itself very much.
    And if something at RMA got you to stop using drugs and to deal with memories of being molested, and you found this positive, great! But as Liam might ask, was there another way you could have reached these moments? Did you really need RMA for this? Did it really require two full years of a completely restricted life and tens of thousands of dollars for you to learn what you learned and changed what you changed?

    I hope you watch the Documentary. I really do think it is just a collection of memories and the reactions to those memories then and now. I was happy to see Dr. Nikki Bush, who is not only trained in psychology, but had also been at RMA giving her recollections and reactions as well. And another former staff member giving his impressions. He admits he was hired to teach music and that Mel was a furniture salesman, which lends support to the notion that none of these people were qualified.

    But I know Liam has long been looking for someone who had good experiences there to give a voice to the Documentary. But generally those who have said the experience was good for them don’t want to be interviewed. And I tend to believe that the reason for this is that, like you, when you get down to the core of the experience, when you set aside the horse riding, playing with sheep at the farm, hiking in the beautiful mountains, the fresh air, clean water… when you get in to discussing various aspects of the program itself, these people realize that the program was ultimately an abusive, humiliating, two year experience full of all sorts of bizarre and conflicting events that did not actually amount to therapy or treatment. Because the people who created it, ultimately were not capable of creating such a program because they lacked any experience or credentials, education or background to build upon. And the people they brought in as the years went by, from town folk, cooks, music teachers and so on, had nothing of value to add to the program for the same reasons. Not that they were bad people, just that they had nothing substantial when it came to things like treatment, therapy or counseling to offer.

  21. I’d like to refer Bill and Courtney to Fornits at this point in their discussion, where it’s easier to have a lengthy community-involved discussion than here (as I don’t have multiple threads, users, etc). I also want to keep this thread open to the topic at the top of the page.

    I think the points of view in their discussion have been made – Courtney seems to remember little ill, and at the same time says she ‘believes’ those who do. I find a great deal of cognitive dissonance in that statement, and I think I’ve made that clear in my comments.

    Perhaps I can start a thread soon reserved for this discussion – the pro-versus-the-anti Cedu? Or the “I remember only the good,” versus the “whatever good was there was not worth the bad.” It might be a hot topic.

    thanks,

    Liam

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