Boot Camps

Boot camps is a term for a number of different experiences, some of which are dangerous to children. Read this article to learn about the types of boot camps and the reasons why certain boot camps are not a good fit for your child, no matter what.

What Are The Types of Boot Camp?

Originally, the term boot camp referred to the required training for recruits to the United States Armed Forces. This training involves a program that is known as Basic Training in the US Army, Recruit Training in the Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Navy, and Basic Military Training in the Air Force. The purpose is to help recruits make the transition from civilian to solider, to become physically fit, learn new skills, understand the chain of command, and learn the habits that will make their interactions with fellow recruits and the hierarchy go smoothly.

Another form of boot camp is a part of the penal system in the United States and other countries. Beginning in 1983, boot camps were meant to reduce the strain on the correctional system and provide an alternative to probation and imprisonment with adult offenders for teen-aged offenders. Boot camps have been accused of causing the deaths of inmates. In 2006, the State of Florida banned boot camps of this type after a 14-year-old boy died during his stay at one. A child is only a candidate for this type of boot camp if he or she has broken the law. If you are considering this as an alternative to prison time, research the options carefully to ensure that the particular boot camp in question is a well-run, reliable operation with a clean history and a real interest in the welfare of young people. 

A third form of boot camp is a school meant for troubled and defiant teens who have not broken the law, but who are intransigent and have not responded well to other environments. Parents who do not know what else to do with a teen who defies authority, runs away, or engages in other problematic behaviors, but has not entered the criminal justice system, sometimes send teens to this kind of boot camp as a last resort. This type of boot camp uses prison-style or what are called “military-style” tactics to force teens into submission and cooperation. 

Three of the types of behavior that often send parents looking for this type of boot camp are substance abuse, violence, and/or delinquency. However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has concluded that the boot camp approach is not an intervention that succeeds in these cases. Rather, according to NIH, boot camps often spread negativity and their “scare tactics” approach is not supported by research. 

A fourth type of boot camp is a program for intensive physical training either inspired by military recruit training, or simply taking the name to give the idea that the course is demanding and the results impressive. They may serve specific groups, like women, or a range of participants with diverse needs. They may also be combined with nutritional programs and other elements beyond physical conditioning.