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Comparison of Therapy Type Program vs. Boot Camps

Therapeutic Wilderness Program

Respect of authority

Military-Style Boot Camp

Fear of authority
Doing "as told"
Need for structure

New: Alternative to Boot Camps by State, click here

Alternatives to Boot Camps

What are some of the viable alternatives to a penal-oriented boot camp? Most troubled adolescents have underlying emotional and behavioral problems that are rarely addressed in military-style boot camps. Boot camps are about discipline, deferring to authority, and saying, "Yes, Sir!," often in response to pointless directives. Does running miles on a muddy track carrying a log teach the same thing as cooperating with peers in creating a camp fire so you will can cook a meal and be warm at night?

Therapeutic programs that combine therapy, the teaching of survival skills, and the impact of the natural environment create more profound, lasting changes in struggling adolescents. Boot camps, even more juvenile offenders, have a history of problems, from accusations of abusive staff to poor training that has led to serious incidents and even death of their adolescent participants.

"The program I chose for my daughter was "NOT" for her. It was more of a "boot camp" program. I was looking for therapy and internalization through the help of professionals. I believe if you take a negative child, and put them in a negative environment, such as a boot camp, it builds resentment and anger. I had no idea as to what I had done. I had always valued myself as an intelligent person, and this was a rude awakening." A Parent's True Story, from Lon Woodbury's Struggling Teens.

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