Behavioral Boot Camp for Children in California

By Jennn Fusion
California

Juvenile boot camps are intensive short-term programs designed to help adolescents and teenagers who struggle to overcome substance abuse, truancy, criminal activity and uncontrollable defiance. These teens can get help controlling their impulsive behavior through a structured reward-punishment system designed to instill respect, responsibility and discipline. Since California lawmakers cracked down on military-style boot camps and wilderness programs in 1995, many of the camps have packed up and moved next door to Utah. However, there are still a few noteworthy short-term California camps to consider for your troubled adolescent.

What Is Behavioral Boot Camp?

Kids in boot camp are isolated from family to learn self-reliance.

Boot camps are serious programs for teen hooligans chosen by parents who feel their youngsters are absolutely out-of-control. Teens may be enrolled into a disciplinary program without their consent, and they cannot be expelled. Runaways and substance abuse are prevented by high security. The overriding philosophy of boot camp is that emotional issues can be addressed through tough love, physical endurance tests and strict limits. Privileges must be earned, which fosters a sense of achievement. Most kids transition to aftercare programs following their weeks in California boot camp as families break through cycles of denial and create more promising futures.

Echo Malibu Adolescent Treatment Center

Kids learn respect, responsibility and discipline at boot camps.

Echo Malibu focuses on teens with drug problems and behavioral problems. Their motto states, "We never blame or try to break down those who come to us for help. Rather we assist youth in their growth as they strive toward personal accountability and greater self-confidence." Their licensed mental health clinicians perform full psychiatric evaluations and psychological assessments. Rehabilitation options include animals, art, drama, writing, individual and group therapies. Acupuncture, yoga, massage, nutrition and recreation activities help teens get physically healthy, too. Individual tutoring and classroom sessions ensure that the adolescents do not fall behind in schoolwork while enrolled. Families can participate in various therapies while the treatment takes place.

Echo Malibu Adolescent Treatment Center 6323 Via Escondido Drive Malibu, CA 90265-4484 310-589-2090 echomalibu.com

Abundant Life Academy

Bright kids sometimes make poor decisions.

Abundant Life Academy is a Christian-based approach to rehabilitation that emphasizes spirituality as the path to recovery. Their mission statement promotes "advanced discipleship," community outreach and academic excellence. Abundant Life offers academies throughout California with five different programs. Their academic program helps bright kids who fell off track due to poor decision-making. Their early intervention program is designed for kids who are acting out in school and need an immediate assessment. There are also programs for substance abuse, academic leadership and a longer-term boarding school option.

Abundant Life Academy 1530 East Elizabeth Street Pasadena, CA 91104 626-398-2418 abundantlifeacademy.com

Camp Wilmont Sweeney

Some camps are stricter than others.

Camp Wilmont Sweeney is a highly supervised, short-term residential program for minors ages 15 to18 who have crossed paths with the Juvenile Court. Here 70 non-violent offenders are assessed for their specific educational and behavioral needs. A probation officer monitors the child's whereabouts at all times, while a group counselor and peer mentor facilitate his recovery. Special programs focus on family life development, educational needs, anger management and substance abuse. Kids perform manual labor and participate in structured recreational activities outside of group therapy, individual counseling and educational courses.

Camp Wilmont Sweeney 2600 Fairmont Dr. San Leandro, California 94578 510-667-7474 acgov.org

The Camp Recovery Center

Nature provides a therapeutic setting for troubled teens.

For 25 years, The Camp Recovery Center has promoted the 12-step program approach to rehabilitation. A specialized adolescent rehab program at the Meadow Lodge reaches out to youth with recreational therapies, group discussions and ropes courses. They emphasize the benefits of clean and sober living, while also providing educational coursework and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Many kids like being surrounded by Northern California redwoods, the Santa Cruz mountains, walking trails, swimming pools and tennis courts. Mental, physical and spiritual transformation is the goal of the Camp Recovery Center program for adults and juveniles.

The Camp Recovery Center 3192 Glen Canyon Road Scotts Valley, CA 831-438-1868 camprecovery.com

About the Author

Jennn Fusion has been working as a professional writer for more than eight years. Her work has appeared online at USAToday.com, Chron.com, Business.com, Donklephant.com, BlogTO.com, Crawdaddy.com, MobileLifeToday.com and VicePresidents.com. She also has a variety of copy published on small business blogs and websites. Jennn holds a Bachelor of Journalism and English.