Our Value as an Affordable Boot Camp / Behavior Change Camp
Parents often contact Summerland Camps frustrated at the high cost of treatment and are looking for an affordable boot camp or therapy camp. Most wilderness therapy programs are priced around $45,000 for the entire program which only lasts 60-90 days. Therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers (RTC’s) are similarly priced at $10,000 to $15,000 per month with little to no aftercare.
Summerland Camps offers a superior service as a reasonable pricing structure. If you are looking for an affordable boot camp or wilderness therapy program, you may wish to consider Summerland Camps as a more effective, lower-priced option. We provide focus groups and individual therapy but in a positive and motivating format.
There are several issues with higher priced programs. Often, the cost is because you are paying a high salary of a psychiatrist. Unless there is a true medical basis for a child’s issues- such as a thyroid disorder or schizophrenia, a psychiatrist’s medical intervention may be unnecessary.
The Cost of Failure
Consider the cost of doing nothing. If you send your child off to college not prepared to deal with unstructured time, how likely will they be in the 60% that fail to graduate college? Consider the cost of wasted tuition, wasted time, and the cost of supporting your child back at home if they fail to thrive. Investing in Summerland Camps is insignificant compared to the cost of failure. Best of all, we teach managing screen time in an actual college environment using college classrooms, dorms, and related facilities. There is no better setting to prepare a child for the independence of college than at an actual college.
At Summerland Camps, we focus on teaching coping skills and develop insight – something no pill has the ability to do. We also take a positive approach. We don’t see your child as “broken” – they simply need to learn new skills and develop new habits. Punitive programs that seek to tear a child down and rebuild them can result in a child simply pushing back harder than before.
Affordable Boot Camp Alternatives
Be careful about choosing any program that lacks a clinical underpinning. An affordable boot camp is not so affordable if the program makes no long-term changes. As you can see on the Summerland Camps website, we are proud of our motivating, positive, and scientifically based strategy for long-lasting change. The Summerland Camps strategy was developed by gathering scientific research on what works for troubled teens. A so-called affordable boot camp would not save families any money if the child returns home with no behavioral plan or aftercare program. You have to ask yourself, “If my child is going to be resistant to the program, and if there is no therapy component, how likely is it that the program will make any long-term change?” At Summerland Camps, we’ve put a ton of time and effort into this very issue. You cannot find a more positive or motivating therapy program, and we are so focused on outcomes are giving away 90-days of aftercare for a limited time because we know aftercare is one of the most important components of effective programs like Summerland Camps.
Outpatient programs in a hospital setting can be expensive too- and like outpatient therapy, don’t provide a total reset opportunity. A child can just drag their feet through the day and never fully engage anyone in the program. The best opportunity for change is a total immersion experience where relationships with peers and the family are completely reset. Only a separation of several weeks in a new environment will achieve this end. While an affordable boot camp can provide a reset opportunity, without licensed therapists there is no clinical approach to address the underlying issues.
At Summerland Camps, we have developed an effective strategy to get our campers fully engaged quickly. We are the best value in behavior change camps. We have camper participate in activities they will love- like engineering challenges, science projects, remote-controlled drone flying, whitewater and caving, and so much more. Teams compete for awards they cherish. We get campers interacting and creating real relationship quickly. Consequently, if any feet dragging is going on, they get called out quickly. Licensed therapists also meet with campers individual to discuss any issues that come up during the camp process.
We firmly believe that the best way to influence a teenager is through other teenagers.
Through the interactions campers have with other campers – whether that’s as a result of the team building competitions or just having fun, we learn to interact and respond to one another in healthier, more pro-social ways. The problem with outpatient behavior change is that it’s done after the fact. In our setting, when we see campers getting upset, frustrated, or just having a bad social interaction, we step in and do the work of behavior change at the moment.
We are creating the experience of resolving negative feelings positively. For many campers, it will be the first time they’ve done this in a long time. Often the situation at home has just become too toxic- and we are locked into the same battles over and over- that the learning experience has to take place elsewhere. We can make that happen; it’s what we do. We are the best value behavior change camp providing corrective opportunities for change.
It’s also critical when comparing our value to consider that you are paying for a full year of services versus just a short time at the program. Please see the graphic below to best understand our true value:
We don’t just talk about how you will manage electronics in college. We have our campers live in actual, real-life college dorms and manage electronic usage! We teach our classes on behavioral change in actual college classrooms. Compared to contrived environments like wilderness programs or boot camps, we teach campers how to live independently in a setting most representative of actual life after high school.
Best Practice for Affordable Boot Camp
In this respect what we are doing at camp is not revolutionary per se- we are simply providing “best practice” interventions for improving relationships, learning coping skills, developing insight, and setting goals. What gives us such great results is that we are doing our interventions in real time. We believe that processing an interaction weeks after the fact is not effective. We believe that it’s out of human interaction that people change and that we need to practice positive interactions to heal; not just think about what we should have done weeks later.
Value Components Summary
Summerland Camps offers the first and only summer camp environment for screen time overuse. We help through licensed individual therapists and behavior coaches a scientifically based curriculum to address excessive internet gaming, X-Box, handheld device, social media, and virtual reality overuse.
There are other programs which claim to help address internet gaming addiction, social media overuse, and so on. However, for most of these programs, it’s more of an afterthought, an add-on to their other therapy offerings.
We are unique in that screen time overuse is our primary focus, with social problems, frustration, anger and anxiety being related to the screen overuse habit. We don’t just gloss over the digital media issue, we hit it head-on.
We are located on a small, friendly University campus. We can prepare college-bound kids and noncollege-bound kids for independent living. Our campers leave ready to handle responsible use of their laptop, phone, game system, and so on with no parental supervision. We will teach concrete skills like how to set your computer to not go to social or gaming websites during certain hours.
Our positive focus is as unique as our location. Because we are rooted in self-monitoring methodology, we stay focused on creating goals and the behaviors it takes to achieve these goals. We don’t see your kid as, “broken.” They just have some bad habits, and habits can be unlearned, and new habits can be learned in their place.
Let’s face it- high-quality help is expensive, and Summerland Camps are not cheap. However, there is no reason why you should spend $500+ per day with our competitors. Do that math- are these programs paying their staff $500 a day? Does it cost $500 a day to house and fee a child? We charge a reasonable cost for a high-level service. Our help through behavior coaching in lieu of high priced psychiatrists, and our process is superior to most, and our cost is as reasonable as it gets.
We focus on screen-based activities. This generally means internally focused issues co-occur like anxiety, depression, and poor social skills. A lot of our campers also have problems with ADD / ADHD, and could benefit from learning how to stay organized and work on goals.
Other programs claim to help with gaming overuse, but you risk mixing your child in with drugs, alcohol, bullying and violence issues. Also, because other programs have such a wide focus, the therapy becomes quite diluted.
Sure, other programs involve families, but at what extra cost? You have to ask yourself then, “Does this program really want me involved in my child’s behavior change process? If so, then why are they charging extra for me to participate?”
We know from studies on outcomes of help through behavior change programs that family involvement is critical. So then why are are programs charging extra for parents to be involved? We want our campers to be successful back home, so we welcome our parents to the Family Workshop and encourage participation at no extra costs.
Running With the Momentum
Best of all, at Summerland Camps we provide aftercare. We don’t just write our campers off at the end of camp. We want to make sure they are successful and that parents get the most value for their investment as possible. Parent workshops also help ensure changes made at camp stand the test of time upon the transition back home. Parent workshops are available at no extra charge. Wilderness therapy programs, treatment centers, and affordable boot camp programs generally charge extra for gear, family workshops, and aftercare. At Summerland Camps, we don’t tack on extra charges. The price you see is the price you pay. The only extras are airport pickup/drop off and laundry soap/coin-op laundry machines.