Parents visit campus every two months and stay in local hotels, working out dates and details with team leaders and therapists. Pass privileges reward clinical and academic work and program progress, e.g., the more advanced the clan, the more available overnights and day passes.
From the week of enrollment, students call parents at the end of therapy sessions. From the beginning they also write to and receive mail from their parents. These communications make key contributions, assuring sons and daughters of parents’ support, helping students settle in and get to work, and sustaining parents’ morale. After the start, as students make program progress, Spartan phone and mail privileges expand with clan promotion.
MA tries to preserve the feel of conventional adolescent life, but first lines up all available incentives to encourage maturation and improvement in relationships. If limits are an aspect of any civilized life, yet it is particularly critical that teenagers learn to accept reasonable constraints. At MA, some of these limits apply to packages and mail; to passes off campus; and to the use of telephones and the internet.
Moreover, there are other legitimate motives for placing limits (see Student and Parent Handbooks) on what comes to campus, such as: to restrict MA students from cigarettes, weapons, alcohol or other drugs, and stashes of cash; to keep the ranch culture unplugged from the mass matrix; to restrain the accumulation of “stuff” for which a modest ranch soon runs out of storage space; and to prevent the student body and staff from burial alive under a slow avalanche of candy and confectionary.