Are Boot Camps for Teens Safe? What Parents Need to Know

Learn how to determine whether boot camps for teens are safe.

Many parents seeking help for troubled teens look to boot camps to provide some discipline, and get kids back on track. Most of these kids struggle in school, are the victims of bullying or have just had a rough time at home or at school. They need more than strength training, but boot camps make a compelling offer: discipline through endurance. Is it right for your child?

Questions to Ask

Before enrolling in a boot camp for teenagers, you should ask a few critical questions to learn what the program is all about.

Is the program personalized? The National Institute of Justice recommends that kids only attent boot camps with programs that were made for their specific challenges. This means looking at your child’s learning style, behavior and personality. If the program takes into account unique individuals, its your first sign that the school is probably quality.

Is the school appropriate? Not everyone responds well to the type of discipline you get at boot camp. If your child is fragile, for instance, boot camps might prove emotionally overwhelming or intense for him or her. Talk with your child’s doctors, therapist and school teachers to determine whether boot camp would be a good idea.

Find References

Along with proof of credentials for the administrators and staff at the school, be sure to ask for testimonials, references or reviews. You might have to do some research on your own around the Internet to find independent reviews too. Don’t trust everything you read, but do look for reviews that mention counselors by name or discuss specific scenarios they experienced while at camp. If you’re lucky, you might even come across someone posting about the long term effects of attending that camp, which is the ultimate barometer for what to expect.

Wood Creek Academy offers troubled teen programs in wilderness therapy, teaching self reliance and confidence to troubled boys and girls.