XGW previously reported that the Love In Action Refuge youth program had been discontinued. In a recent press release, Love In Action reported that it has returned with a new name, Family Freedom Intensive.
Unlike Refuge, this new incarnation will not be residential.
The Family Freedom Intensive involves a four-day schedule of group interaction and individual family meetings designed to help parents better understand the sexual issues their teen is experiencing while equipping them with healthier and more effective communication tools. Should a teenager decide they would like to be included in their parents’ process, we will work to faciliate [sic] that request.
The removal of the
live-in aspect mixing of youth and adult attendees appears to be a follow through on a promise by Exodus president Alan Chambers. In a post to his personal blog from March of this year, Chambers responded to an issue brought up in his appearance on the Montel Williams Show.
I hate that [Lance Carroll], a 16 year old with no prior homosexual (or sexual for that matter) experiences was put into groups with adults, especially an adult that was a convicted sex offender. I stated on air that I believe that is wrong and I will follow through on seeing that a policy is enacted and enforced within any Exodus Member Ministry that works with youth.
The statement “should a teenager decide they would like to be included…” from the LIA press release seems to indicate that they will no longer take youth against their will. While this does seem to be a positive step, one must ask how free a teenager would feel to object. We know all to well, some from personal experience, that some of these kids are threatened by their parents with losing privileges, college funding, even shelter and their love.Will LIA make an effort to determine if this kind of coercion has taken place even if the youth seems to be willing?
Correction (3:06 pm):
As Peterson Toscano pointed out, Refuge, though often reported as such, was not residential. It was, however, and intensive 2-8 week program aimed at teens under 18 who attended sessions with adult members of the LIA residential program (now called “The Source”). It was during this intermixing of youth from Refuge, and adults from The Source which led to the problems (brought to light by Peterson Toscano earlier this year) to which Alan Chambers was responding in his blog quoted above.
From the archived version of the LIA/R site:
Refuge was developed to coincide with The Source, our 3 month residential program for men and women who struggle with sexual addiction and obsessive relationships. Therefore, the same tools and skills will be used in this group that have proved to be such an asset in the adult program. Some joint sessions will occur with the clients of The Source to allow additional input and perspectives into the lives of these young men. In addition to group sessions, participants in Refuge will be offered individual sessions as necessary, recreational opportunities with the other clients, as well as an atmosphere of accountability and support. [Emphasis Added]
Family Freedom Intensive can’t be accurately called Refuge with a new name, because the former is only a 4 day program, aimed mostly at parents, and apparently only involves the youth if they so desire (caveats listed above still apply).
The title of this post has been changed to correct the inaccuracy. The original title was “Ex-Gay Boot Camp Youth Program Returns, No Longer Residential.” We apologize for these errors.