Olympus Academy (2013-2017) Hurricane, UT
History and Background Information
Olympus Academy was a WWASP-affiliated behavior-modification program that reportedly opened in 2013. It was marketed as a Co-ed Residential Treatment Center for teenagers aged 12-17 years old. They claimed to help teens who were struggling with “ADD/ADHD (attentional disorders), Addiction (substances/gaming/etc), Alcohol abuse, Anger, Bipolar disorder, Bullying or bullied, Conduct disorder, Defiance/ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), Depression, Drug abuse, (including prescription/over-the-counter), Eating Disorders, Lack of motivation, Learning difficulties, Negative peer association, Problems with authority, and Substance abuse.”
The campus was located at 1500 E 2700 S, Hurricane, UT 84737, which is the former location of Diamond Ranch Academy at the current location of Three Points Center. It is reported they also had a campus located at 2994 Gould Wash Road, Hurricane, Utah, but this location seems to currently be an empty field.
The program closed on May 31st, 2017 for an unknown reason.
Founders and Notable Staff
Joe Ahquin was the Executive Director of Olympus Academy. He is a member of the Ahquin family, and also helped create Liahona Academy in 2001 and Key Point in 2006.
Max Ahquin is also reported to have worked at Olympus Academy. In a 2015 report published by the Utah DHS, “Max Ahquin has been denied a background screening clearance. In violation of Utah Code 62A-2-120(9) Max Ahquin had direct access to minor clients of Olympus Academy on November 20, 2015 and November 21, 2015 while attending a Parent/Student Seminar conducted by Olympus Academy.”
Nicole Hancock was reported to be the Executive Director of Olympus Academy in 2015.
Matt Eschler was the Clinical Director of Olympus Academy.
Like other WWASP facilities, Olympus Academy used a level system with 4 levels. The levels were:
- Hades Level: Teenagers entered the program on Achilles Level. According to their website, “this beginning phase helps each student discover, recognize, and acknowledge the help that they need to begin to make improvements before he/she can move forward and advance within the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) portion of the program.” It has later been reported that this level was also used as punishment for teenagers who violated rules.
- Achilles Level: According to their website, “in this Level, each student will show a desire to follow rules and expectations academically, therapeutically, and behaviorally in order to retain this level of advancement. Students must continue to consistently and competently demonstrate acquired skills that prove natural repetition in behavior in order to progress. In this level, students learn of the symbolic Arrows, (struggles, issues, and problems), that have afflicted them, just as the crucial Arrow that afflicted Achilles and became his downfall.”
- Hercules Level: According to their website, “in this Level, students become Junior Staff in the program, giving them the opportunity to mentor other students who come into the program to help them, and so doing… helping themselves. Hercules was known as a “Hero,” and this Level gives every student the opportunity to become a hero through positive good deeds within our mentorship program, apprenticeship program, adopt-a-pet program, community service activities, gardening program, trainer transformation program, ropes course program, and our on-campus fishing program.”
- Zeus Level: Teenagers graduated the program on Zeus Level. According to their website, “at this Level, the student has earned the right to prepare themselves for the last Step of internalization, and get ready to go home. This is a transitional Level which allows them to show their family, parents, friends, and most importantly… themselves that they are capable of ruling their personal world and to manifest this capability in their ongoing progress of turning weaknesses into strengths. This is the ultimate point in demonstrating self governing skills in all they do at this point in the program.”
Abuse and Closure
In 2015, two fifteen-year old girls managed to run away the facility by escaping through a window. They were found the next evening in Hurricane, UT not far from the facility.
Shortly after, on December 8, 2015, Olympus Academy’s licenses were placed on Conditional Status by the Utah Department of Human Services because one member of the staff, Max Ahquin, has “been denied a background screening clearance. In violation of Utah Code 62A-2-120(9) Max Ahquin had direct access to minor clients of Olympus Academy on November 20, 2015 and November 21, 2015 while attending a Parent/Student Seminar conducted by Olympus Academy.”
The facility closed in on May 31st, 2017 for an unnamed reason.
4/19/2018: (PARENT) “I had sent my son there and was totally mislead. They claimed to be the best in the United States. It turned out to be a money scam on your insurance. That is all they really wanted!! We weren’t allowed to talked to him for the first 4 months and then it was only 1 time a week with the counselor after that. As a parent, there is no real help with your children. I took my son to counseling over and over again. It would cost me 100 dollars every time he went to see one. Then I am told that we would have to get the police involved in order to get real help. I searched the internet hoping to find the best program for my son. That is when Olympus Academy was mentioned. What a joke that was and very disappointing. When we did a surprise visit, the staff became very upset and stated that we had to have prior approval and could only visit him at the so called academy campus on the first visit. We did remove him shortly there after, and did not receive any refund on any of the money. We were very worried about how this was going to affect his school credits and future with returning home.They claimed that he would be further ahead in his credits, but he needed to take summer classes just to catch up.As it is stated in the previous comments, make sure you look deep into a program before you send your child there. Although, it sounds easy to do. Try looking up Olympus Academy and see how much you see for reviews?” – Don (Yelp)
4/3/2016: (SURVIVOR) “Read the review from Savannah ! 100% honest. Don’t pay $10000. To walk in the door and have your insurance drained because it wasn’t anything I was promised. Check with licensing in the state of Utah. Be sure to ask them for legal minimums on therapy (1hr a week when I checked). Background checks on EVERYONE search the family name for history of their ownership of these high profit facilities. They have managed to have at least one bad google review removed even though it was 100% accurate. Why do they jump from facility ownership if they are so good at helping these kids? Wouldn’t they just grow their successful business? We were shorted meds when sent home, zero medical records after requests from all dr’s involved and the “Dr” used to bill insurance NEVER even met my son and he never did see anymore than a lcsw because they don’t (at the time) have anyone with true medical training and a degree to help these kids. The parent advocates are paid on commission by the facilities!! Think about that.. They also only tell you “what you need to know” because they don’t want to scare you. Don’t do it to yourself or your child. There’s a reason most of these facilities are in Utah and change hands so frequently.” – Stacy (Yelp)
3/9/2016: (SURVIVOR) “I found this review on another site and who ever wrote it said it perfectly. I will tell the truth. i was a resident there and they couldn’t help me and kept all my moms money, no refund. be smart. My mom got me real help after being lied to about just about everything, they are about money! we had on jail scrubs and sometimes slept on the floor, when they can’t control us they put zip ties on us until we chill out. any of my people that were there with me please look me up. We may have a case. make sure your parents walk the facility and ask tons of questions. Review for OLYMPUS ACADEMY: Do your own homework. Reading the Website is not a way to verify if facility is good or not. Research residential treatment facilities and see what you find. Dont be misled by a third party recruiter. Ask to view contracts made with employees and note job titles each employee was hired as. Verify employee licenses and credentials. Do background checks to make sure each person should be around children, no matter what rank the person is. Ask to view all state inspections, as you have a right to see. Ask to view academic curriculum, books, materials, schedule, lesson plans, assessment guides. Verify therapy sessions. If you still admit child verify weekly work. Verify nutrition and meals being served, including portion size. Verify nutritionists is licensed. The only reason to have only staff supervised conversations with your child, whether over phone or in person, would be if academy were worried something would get out, right? Trust your child. If something doesn’t sound right, it’s probably not. Be involved. Ask lots of questions. Stay on top of insurance billing. Verify who, when, and what medication has been provided, ordered at pharmacy, and if orders refilled are necessary at each time. Verify alone with child the meals they are getting, medication distribution, if letters were written or received, and Stay in constant contact. If you are not from utah, why would you ever enroll in utah? If all the residential treatment facilities sound similar, think about why you needed to look at more than one facility. Trust your instinct. Don’t be so desperate, you avoid what your gut tells you. I don’t feel I need to say whether or not olympus is a good choice. If you do all your research, which is a lot of work (nothing is too much to make sure your child is safe), you will be able to make your own determination on whether it’s a good fit for your child.” – Savannah (Yelp)
FOUND: 2 teenage girls run away from group home; public assistance requested (St. George News, 09/14/2015)
1000 Places You Don’t Want to be as a Teenager
Secret Prisons for Teens – Olympus Academy