A broad term used to cover the emotional growth workshops practiced at Mount Bachelor Academy (MBA) in Central Oregon, stemming from similar practices carried out at Synanon and later CEDU (short for Charles E. Dietrich University). There is little known about these lifesteps as the very parents who send their children to these schools are unable to experience them firsthand, and due to the dramatic/self righteous nature of some at risk youths these lifesteps have been described as "Eye opening, safe, and loving," To "Horrible, tiring, pointless, fucked-up, and brainwashing." I have seen and can argue both sides of this. In the current MBA format there are technically 6 lifesteps, and I will give a brief rundown on all of them as well as my opinion on them.
The Bridge Lifestep- Focuses on the importance of truth and friendship and while I find these to be good things, those operating the lifestep will tend to tell you how you lack honesty and the capacity to being a good friend. Involves receiving negative feedback, an accountability list aka a chance to be a rat, and yelling. Overall didn't effect me too much but I guess in the end I got closer with some people but it was kinda dumb.
Forever Young lifestep- Targets your inner child and is designed to let you sort out your past..i guess. I didn't have a bad childhood so the lifestep wasn't too hard on me but for those who did they end up reliving some of their worst moments, and while some come away from it stronger most become more depressed and withdrawn as they feel they have gone through the experience twice. Involves making stuff out of gum, negative feedback, more accountability, and yelling followed by a sort of feux-tantrum-throwing. To me a pretty much stupid and forgettable experience that I was glad to be done with at the end. Good thing I just got my wisdoms taken out and was on vicodin :D
The Promise Lifestep- Makes you look at who you are and what gets in the way of that, and in my opinion the only lifestep worth doing and the only one I took anything away from. Involves a chaotic situation that everyone experiences in a different way, figuring out what holds you back, beating a pillow with a tennis raquet, and a trip to portland. This lifestep is also infamous for the amount of clean-up or information about other students activities that comes out and fucks people over. Therefore, those who make it through the lifestep without leaving or getting kicked out are generally seen as snitches, or in MBA jargon, "Sherrifs" which is really a shame, because the promise aside from that is the only chill lifestep, and I actually liked it a lot.
The Venture Lifestep- Challenges your thinking, to put it simpler pulling your head out your ass. The last of the main lifesteps and definately does not disappoint. Involves dressing up in costumes then "partying" (pretty fucked party) for about 15 hours straight. yep thats about it. Theres some junk that varies what you do the next day but it's pretty much just filler. Liked it better than forever young, but on the whole unneccesary and downright aggravating, and boring to facilitate.
La Mancha Lifestep- Pretty fucking awesome actually you get to go to Romania and Poland for a few weeks and kick it you have to do some work for school but it's pretty chill in general especially after being at MBA for a year. I'd do it again.
Veritas Lifestep- 1 day workshop that you do with your parents, pretty chill, but when I was doing it my mind was on graduating the next day so I wasn't really with it lol.
Regarding lifesteps- While attending Mount Bachelor academy I went through these lifesteps, let out a lot of my guilt and frustrations, and witnessed many others do the same. They were very mixed experiences for me, as I benefitted from somethings but disagreed in many other areas that I won't discuss here. Many people disliked these workshops and for good reason as they are rigorous and can bring up harsh memories for some. Throughout all of it I learned a lot of things about myself, others and the world in general, but I have to admit I maybe learned a bit too much and am left jaded to an extent. I believe that lifesteps can be good for some but just as easily horrible for others it's all subjective. I had positive and negative experiences with them. While I believe the idea behind the lifesteps are good and pure, more often than not they are run by self-righteous, power hungry staff that probably don't give a shit about you and will play you and your emotions while playing faves with other kids. Also the students running the lifesteps are usually just trying to look good for staff and don't care about the experience as a whole. For those who have not attended mount bachelor academy I hope you learned something and for those who did attend my only wish is that I gave this issue justice, on both sides.
In my Bridge lifestep I learned that being afraid gets in the way of me making quality friendships.