Therapy Camp or Summer Boot Camp for Troubled Teens – Which is Better?

One of the most common questions we get at Summerland Camps is, “Why makes your program better than a summer boot camp for troubled teens or military program?”  The answer is simple: everything.

For starters, a summer boot camp for troubled teens will not achieve effective results simply by forcing a child into submission.  You have to ask yourself: “How likely is it that the changes are going to stick after my child goes back home?”  The answer, as we know from years of experience in the field is that the probability is slim to none if the underlying reasons for the behavior are ignored.

We focus on several areas a summer boot camp for trouble teens would typically ignore.  These areas include practicing new ways of interacting and trying out new coping skills, “in the moment.”  We don’t see to force campers into behaviors that won’t stick.  Instead, we practice new ways of interacting, new hobbies and sports, and different ways of tracking and monitoring behavior so that they will be motivated and inspired to carry these behaviors back to the home setting.

CLICK A BUTTON BELOW TO COMPARE SUMMERLAND CAMPS TO OTHER PROGRAMS:

Clinical Focus Breakdown at Summerland Camps

  • Developing Healthy Routines - 25%
  • Practicing Skills "In the Moment" - 20%
  • Skill Building Groups - 20%
  • Journaling / Behavior Tracking - 15%
  • Preparing for Success at Home - 10%
  • Education and Discussion about Gaming and Online Activities: How Much is too Much? - 10%

How to Really Change Behaviors

So what does it take to really change behaviors?  The answer is fairly straightforward.  Think about what you did as a teenager.  You probably did some things back then you wouldn’t dream of doing today.  So what has changed?

One thing is that you’ve probably developed some significant levels of insight about how the world really works.  As an adult you can see consequences for your actions.  You’ve also gone through the experience of trying different ways of reacting to others, and you have developed some strategies building off successful interactions.

Building Insight

This is where a summer boot camp for troubled teens will differ significantly from Summerland Camps.  Our process follows a therapeutic timeline as illustrated below:

Summerland CampsBoot Camps
Building RapportNo problem- we do rafting, exploring, caving, drama and the arts, drone flying, robotics, swimming, and we have a blast!No way- drill instructors are barking at your kid all day.  How likely are they to carry back home what they learned?
InteractionsOur interactions are “real.”  Campers participate in team building activities where equal input is required to overcome the challenge.  We use “the power of the group” to get campers interacting.  Relationships are authentic in our setting.Inauthentic, superficial, unbalanced relationships.  Campers in this setting don’t respect the authority figures- they fear them.
Growth OpportunitiesIn our setting, counselors intervene “in the moment” to correct behaviors, question thinking, and develop insight.  Campers are given the opportunity for a “re-do” so that when they leave camps, they will have muscle memory of responding to stress, anger, and fear in a positive way.There is simply no clinical underpinning to military-style programs.  The military is not in the business of emotional growth.
Transferring Skills Back HomeAt Summerland Camps we role play, plan, and develop strategies for continued success.  We provide parents with the information they need to continue success back home.  We also refer to year-round programs if more help is needed.All behavior in this setting is done out of fear.  When campers return to the home setting and the drill instructor is gone, old habits return.  There is no intrinsic motivation to keep up with any behavioral change.

Creating Change by Having Fun

At Summerland Camps we take an inspiring and uplifting approach to behavioral change. We teach our campers how top performing athletes change their behaviors to reach certain goals for strength, endurance, and performance.  The same principles apply to our objectives at camp.  At a summer boot camp for troubled teens that ignores behavioral change methodology, it is unlikely the camper will walk away with the skills to effectively measure, plan, and execute targeted behaviors.

To Change Behavior, We Start By Measuring

Here is a universal truth behind behavioral change.  One of the most effective ways to start changing behaviors is to measure it.  Otherwise how are we to know if any interventions are effective?

Any effective weight loss program for example is built around tracking.  Some track calories, some track carbs or fat, and some track exercise and movement.  Bottom line is that all effective weight loss programs are built around measuring and tracking behaviors.  The same is true for changing other behaviors, such as stopping smoking or gambling, or on the other side building savings or increasing athletic performance.  All performance psychologists know: to change behavior, we must begin by tracking.

Summer Boot Camp for Troubled Teens: The Summerland Camps Difference

At Summerland Camps one of our unique perspectives is that we take a positive approach.  We get our campers excited about the future by showing them the secrets to effective behavioral change.  Our campers receive behavior planning journals where they set daily goals to limit screen time activity, plan exercise, and organize school work.

As our campers see success on a daily basis, it motivates them to keep moving forward.  They become excited by the possibilities for the future as they regain control over their lives.  Small victories each day create a snowball effect as they put focus on the real influences on their lives.  Campers realize it’s not everyone else to blame – it’s themselves- they are in control over their own lives and can set their own path.  At Summerland Camps we show young people the path to happiness and success.