On this episode of Badass, April Hennessy shares her experience of being sent to Camp Tracey, in Jacksonville, Florida, at age 15. After April began running away from home to escape abuse, she was labeled a “troubled teen”, and ultimately forced to go to a Christian based residential program to “reform” her. The program was actually a forced labor camp, where teens worked 12 hour days doing grueling agricultural labor, and violent corporal punishment was levied for the smallest of infractions. April spent 16 months there, until she was finally released.
April grew up with a career military father, which meant she was always on the move. She attended 13 different schools and lived in 11 states, and two countries. Bloomington, Indiana is now her home. She moved here in 2007 for grad school and never left.
She says about Bloomington, “It’s a strange thing to be rooted, to be the one who stays while so many others come and go”. She lives with her wife, Stacie, their three kids, two cats, and two rabbits. But, her family also includes Stacey and April’s ex-wives, and all of their collective children. About her family, she says, “it’s a really powerful experience to know that our children can move across households and find consistency and love no matter where they go.”
April works in corporate learning and development as the Director of Innovation for a leadership development organization. A job that she loves. She also serves in two elected positions, first as a School Board Trustee for MCCSC, and also as a precinct committee chairperson. She says, “I love this community and try to find ways to invest and give back in as many capacities as possible”.