58 Days: A Wilderness Story


Marissa Gould began writing 58 Days as a personal therapeutic journaling project to help her work through her battle with depression — a depression rooted in her wilderness camp experience. By sharing her story, she hopes to spark a national conversation about the institutionalization of children under the age of eighteen and to help other victims from these programs find their voices.

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Experienced child actress Marissa Gould is looking forward to spending the summer before her senior year of high school at UCLA’s musical theater program in hopes of entering the drama school there as a college freshman. Instead, she is jolted awake one morning by strangers who drag her off to a wilderness character development camp for troubled teens. Until now, Marissa thought she shared an open relationship with her parents.

At the wilderness camp, Marissa endures exhausting hikes through rural upstate New York with an overloaded pack, festering insect bites, and inadequate food. Her counselors have no psychology training, and instead dish out deprivation and humiliation using sleep control, food control, and extreme physical-endurance challenges to change her behavior.

The result? She is soon saddled with something she has never had to deal with before — chronic depression.

What will happen when she graduates? Will her life ever be normal again? This is the true story of Marissa Gould’s experience at Adirondack Leadership Expedition.


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