Taken from: http://www.yelp.com/filtered_reviews/nVr4UaUnyFJ5TUsts4y2lw?fsid=1Z6eNcvnphzQhIIW-rliaA
Updated - 3/17/2011 I noticed that many of the 5 star review are from people who list Lindale TX as the home town. I think the cult members are trying to make it look like all that happens there is Sunshine and Daisey's, which couldn't be farther from the truth.
For a bit of an eye opener look here (http://www.recoveringa...) IF you are thinking about attending the HA do your homework - I wish I had.
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Can I give less then 1 star? Like -2. Spending time at the HA was by far the worst choice I've ever… Read more »
3/16/2011 The HA is awesome! The worship is awesome. Speakers amazing. Opportunities countless. And overall excellent. It is also a very challenging year, which I think is why there are some fragile individuals that give it bad reviews. But I was an intern for two years and made lifelong friends and had God work in my life in character defining ways! I don't know of a better program for a kid right out of high school.
1/25/2011 The Honor Academy, referred to as "The Bubble", by past and current interns provides a very skewed world view to those in attendance. It is not just a place where self-discipline is taught, it is a place where outside opinions are censored and immediately warranted as sin.
Unhealthy long work hours and very little sleep is deemed to be good discipline. "You'll sleep when you're dead" is a phrase often repeated in the HA to motivate. Labor laws don't apply to interns as they have paid roughly $10,000 to volunteer.
In addition to strenuous work hours, there are a series of other time consuming requirements such as corporate workouts, classes (not credited mind you), and peer "team building" activities wherein you're assigned a "family" of fellow interns. These core groups are above and beyond the five men/women you already share a small room with. Didn't see a picture of that in the brochure did you?
You will be required to find a church and also be active in outside ministry. Other than the occasional trip to wal-mart, this is the only time most interns get off campus. Doesn't exactly sound like navigating the world as an adult for the first time after leaving home.
Any genuine concern you express to someone who could actually do anything about your job, health, or peers is a rebellious spirit. They'll give you chores to correct that if you won't accept that as a possibility.
Interns are highly encouraged however to keep each other in line by confronting others non stop about the sin in their lives. Everyone is so afraid to step out of line it keeps the dissention to a minimum.
Sleep deprived, fear motivated, young adults aren't likely to speak up about what is happening until the fog of manipulation clears, sometimes years later.
1/24/2011 I gave a year of my life to Teen Mania in exchange for what I thought would be a great spiritual experience. I worked 60+ hrs per week, shared a room with 5 girls, shared a bathroom with 36-40 other girls, and was told I could not leave work until I had everything finished. (I am currently an executive assistant, and one week's worth of work at TM is about three weeks's worth in my current job, and I am VERY busy during the day.) Add to this a constant message from leadership that we are never enough, God doesn't approve of us unless we look like X, and the complete lack of Love and Grace extended or taught by leadership. It is a recipe for a cult, and at the very least, great spiritual harm.
What was supposed to be a year of growth really turned into a year of pay-to-work slave labor with excessive restrictions, zero privacy, near-constant illness due to the living conditions, and spiritual/emotional abuse. Sadly, I know that I am not the exception but the norm. Save yourself the heartache and the therapy bills. If you are looking for a deeper connection with God, join YWAM. If you are looking to build discipline and character, join the armed forces. But whatever you do, RUN AWAY from the Honor Academy.
1/21/2011 The year I spent at the Honor Academy led to more heartache, trouble, depression, anxiety than I had already experienced.
I would NOT recommend this internship to anyone.
1/19/2011 If you're looking to be free labor, working absurdly long hours for this organization than five stars!
If your expectation is, as mine was, To grow in the Lord and be discipled to, to be part of a ministry that would become a lifelong fellowship, well...1 star is as low as I can rate the Honor Academy here.
To any current interns. There is no such thing as "the line." Once they've gotten all the work out of you they can, you become obsolete. Ask yourself why so few alumni come to alumni weekend considering the thousands who have given a year or more of their eager youth to Teen Mania. Just think about it.
1/19/2011 As both an intern in 00-01 and a mentor to past interns over the past ten years I would very much not suggest this place to anyone wanting to really grow in the lord (or have your teen grow in the lord).
A few points of interest:
Malnourished interns- While they do feed you they don't feed you a balanced diet and even worse if you can't get to the cafeteria because of work or other issues during the assigned times there are no other options for you to get food outside of leaving campus and spending money.
Money- You are spending roughly $10,000 to be there for a year with little to no college credit. If you leave early there are no refunds and further you will likely be required to pay for the rest of your time at the internship If you leave of your own accord instead of being sent home by them.
Suspect eyes- When I say that someone is watching you 24/7 it's because they are. Even the other interns have been taught that anything you do should be something for confrontation. If you are female and do not have interest in looking girly they tend to tell you that you are out of the will of God.
If you have specific skill sets they are not likely to use them. I had many friends who knew how to cook or were lifeguards already and had years of experience in these fields They knew how to do their jobs and do them well and expected to go into the HA to learn while serving. Once there they put them in the telemarketing area of the ministry and then gave them strict scripts to adhere to. If they wanted to be honest with those they were talking with they couldn't be for fear of being forced to do extra working out.
In the last several years from my friend's experiences and from the kids I have mentored this place has gotten so much worse. Interns have been told to wash their clothes in the sink but then get in trouble for doing so. If someone has an illness at the HA they are ignored unless the signs make them too sick to physically get out of bed and even then they are going to be told by the leadership that they are too lazy.
If you want to grow (or your teen to grow) please please do NOT go here. Take the 10K and use it toward a good blble college or a good University with a good college ministry near by for your kids to plug into.
1/19/2011 I attended the HA from 2000 to 2001. I was dismissed/left the program in June of 2001.
Since leaving, they have shared personal information, without consent, to other churches, and while I was there, believed whatever it was that they wanted when situations were presented to them as well as worked upwards of 80+ hours a WEEK (I was 18 at the time) in my "Ministry Placement"
If someone is wanting to attend the Honor Academy, PLEASE be sure to do thorough research on them before going.