Boot Camps For Troubled Teens

These programs are an effective way to correct behavior. The highly structured programs help achieve immediate improvement. As the most intense programs available, youth in boot camps will be tested both physically and mentally. Juveniles can expect clear instructions and expectations. Boot camps are very selective on who they accept into the program. Group bonds are strong and structure are emphasized.

In the 1990's boot camps grew dramatically in popularity as a treatment option for adjudicated youth. Within a few years the number of facilities grew 50 times their original number (from 1 to 47 camps and 1 to 27 states). Before that time only one boot camp was in operation. It was the first time that that 'correctional' boot camps were used on a large scale to help teens with behavioral problems. The first students of teen boot camps were state ordered juvenile delinquents. Strict adherence to structure helps protect staff and students from harm. Most boot camps are run through state or private operations.

What to expect
Juvenile boot camps are modeled after military basic training. When a youth first arrives they are assigned to a platoon. Students are required to wear standardized uniforms. Every day begins with early morning routines which include shower, study, and breakfast. Platoons (or groups) are formed early in the enrollment process and boys usually stay in that group until graduation. Each platoon reports to a drill instructor. Punishments for misbehavior often include pushups, running, or extra chores.

What type of teens do boot camps accept.
Boot camps are more selective and don't accept every one who applies. Teens with major psychological or suicidal risks are rarely accepted. Extensive mental and physical screening are performed for boot camps more than any other program. When a juvenile is convicted of a crime they can work with the judge and lessen their sentence by volunteering to boot camp or other treatment. Nearly 25% of participants to boot camps are volunteers as opposed to nearly no volunteers in other programs.

How do teens like boot camps.
Studies have shown that most juveniles are extremely anxious prior to and in the early stages of boot camp. Conversely, other treatment program participants experience high levels of depression. After time passes both anxiety and depression decline. Youth in boot camps feel safer, are less depressed, and have stronger social bonds than in traditional programs.