Dream Acadamy – Life in a Northern Town


Our campus was all girls. There were two boy campuses, one in Georgia and one in Florida.

I was in the Group Mahayan.  The groups were all named after  Tribes. We had cabins, and I always felt lucky about that. Each cabin had a bunk bed on each side, a wood burning stove in the middle for heat, and two desks. we had kerosene  lanterns for light and we each had our own refillable lighters, to this day that smell make me nauseous. I had to ask my husband to get rid of his lighter because of it. I remember 4 cabins and a building where we had couches and we had our dressers with our clothing in that room and called it a dressing room. We had a fire pit that we had group therapy at for hours and hours every night, unless it rained and we would use the room with the couches. The out house was outside of camp kind of. At night we had privy buddies, a person who would go to the outhouse with you to keep you from dieing in the middle of the woods, in the middle of the night, alone. Someone also had to get up in the middle of the night and add wood to the fire or we would get very cold! We would wake up at 5 am and hike for what seemed like 30 minutes to take a shower in the shower house, then we walked forever to the dining hall and ate with all the other groups. I think they just wanted to shove it in our faces that we could not talk to each other.
When we were not eating or in group, we were working.  Any kind of work would do. We dug outhouse holes, cut grass with sling blades for 8 hours a day in the summer in Georgia, cleared land for new buildings, built new building, laid sod for new buildings, and whatever they could come up with for us to do.  Some of the girls earned school. We had to do a book report and write a 10 page (?) book report with no errors at all of any kind. Most girls never got to go to school. School meant less hard labor and it was my number one goal.

Here is a map of the place to show you how far we walked all the time =) I never ran away because they said there were wild boars in the woods that would kill us.

Vinson Mountain Road, Rockmart, GA
I would tell you about the levels and things, but I do not remember that, I know you had to earn a crest, and that is when you could go for a home visit with your parents and apply for school. We had to earn everything. We could ask for any privilege that we could come up with.  There was a piano in the dinning hall and I asked for my piano privilege. Some had a camera privilege, or radio, or all…..those could be used only during free time and we had little of that.

Mahayan was a small group. I do not remember how many of us there were, we started with two and slowly grew. They put us in groups of girl’s who had similar personalities, and we laughed and played all the time even though we were busy all the time. We talked while we walked.

We must have had Saturday’s off. I remember spending summer Saturday’s at the lake. I think it took an hour to walk to it and it was worth it!

Here is a recent picture of one of our outhouses….




Every Sunday we got dressed up in uniforms and went to a local Baptist Church in Rockmart, I absolutely hated Sundays! It reminded me that life was going on without us and it always made me sad. It made me think that the general public was aware of our plite and did not care…..

Once a week I remember going to see the psychiatrist. He was the doctor that recommended that we stay there to our insurance companies. That seems normal enough. Only, he did not speak English at all, and he spent 5 minutes with us each week. Our parents were sent a bill for 2 one hour sessions with this man every week. I once took  a copy of our Dr schedule that showed how we were all scheduled 5 minutes apart, to a family counseling session, and my parents were very angry. I think family counseling was once a month. It was the only time most got to see their parents. It was also the ONLY real counseling I ever got there. The counselor was busy lieing to my parents about everything so that was very helpful.

I do not remember any of our group staff’s names. I never got close to any of them. I think most of them saw how we were mistreated and quit pretty fast. My group, being new, had no long lasting staff, and we saw them come and go often. The staff was all 20-ish and had to live  alone  in the woods with 10 mentally distraught teenage girls, for like 4 days in a row, with no running water or electricity. We made them cry some times….. They had to work with us and write everything down in a chart every day. Seems like a wonderful job!  I can not tell you any horrible stories about the staff, I never lived any. Now that I am adult, I question anyone who ever worked there, and why they never really helped us.

3 thoughts on “Mahayan

  1. Wow brings back memories. I always wondered what the girls Annawakee was like. And it was exactly like the boys.. I was there at age 18- 20 in 78-80 my #T721 thanks for sharing

  2. I find this crazy because the cabins and such are on/near our property. My siblings and I have visited the cabins before many times and we’ve always wondered what they were. We just discovered today another cabin that led us to an abandoned school. The cabin we found today seemed to be a medical station. It had a poster that read “Inner Harbor Hospital” and there was a red outhouse. There was another trail that lead to a wooden structure with hooks around it that was next to a road. The road looked rather old and seemed inhabited. We went to a building with columned arches all around the building and brick flooring. Most of the windows and doors were boarded up with wood, making it unable to enter. Although, we found a open window and it looked like someone had already been there and got in. We entered through the open window and it appeared to be a big classroom. There were piles of folders with math papers in them. We also saw posters. One of them seemed to be about drumming. There was also a shed that had had junk in it, even a bongo. We went back after that. I’m not sure you are familiar with what my siblings and I have discovered, but I thought it was rather strange.

  3. I remember going to Anneewakee when it was called Inner Harbor. That was back in 2005-2006. I remember going on hikes and seeing all the old abandoned campsites. It wasn’t a good experience for me at Inner Harbor. The staff were abusive and just flat out mean. I did always enjoy getting out of the unit and go on hikes all over. I always loved seeing other kids when we passed each other and just being out and about. The most interesting campsites that was abandoned was one close to the entrance but not visible from the road. They were in the shape of igloos and I was told that they went underground into tunnels and such. I also was told by some of the staff that it used to be a nuclear development/power facility back in the 50’s. It really had a creepy feeling in some parts of the campus but it wasn’t a bad creepy feeling. It was more of a complete state of awe and a sense to explore more. But I recently looked at the actual website for Inner Harbor and apparently three years after I had moved on, they merged with another partnership. I will always remember how cool and adventurous it felt being there but I will not miss the abusive staff and the terrible management of the patients.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.