Boot Camps for Troubled Teens in Ohio

By David Hewitt
Boot camps can help teens overcome a range of problems.
Boot camps can help teens overcome a range of problems.

Residential boot camps promise to get troubled teens back on the straight and narrow path in life, and often represent the last hope of worried parents. A number of camps are located across the state of Ohio. While they all serve to address behavioural issues, they differ in their approaches and philosophies, meaning families should consider their options before signing up to a program.

The Buckeye Ranch

The Buckeye Ranch offers a range of residential programs for troubled teens in the state of Ohio. Making use of traditional therapies as well as non-traditional methods such as play therapy, animal-assisted treatments, music and horticultural therapy, the camp welcomed teens with a variety of issues. These include everyday behavioral problems as well as drug or alcohol issues, intensive mental health problems and sexual offending.

The Ranch caters to youngsters between the ages of 10 and 18, with the average length of stay on its residential treatment programs between three and six months. Parents are strongly encouraged to visit the facility and discuss their child's needs with an in-house counsellor before signing them up to any program.

While the Buckeye Ranch will do its best to offer immediate help to families, there are waiting lists for some of the more-popular programs. Fees for residential stays vary and the ranch does accept payment from Medicaid, insurance providers and local alcohol, drug and mental health boards.

Abundant Life Academy

Placing itself apart from tougher, more militaristic boot camps, the Abundant Life Academy offers "structure, strong guidance and therapy" to troubled teens, with a focus on early intervention in problems ranging from academic under-performance to substance abuse. The academy offers a range of camp options, including special programs for both boys and girls, music therapy, sports and leadership training, though all of the programs have a strong Christian ethos at their core.

Youngsters from the ages of 12 to 18 are invited to attend the residential camps, though they are required to share the leaders' Christian beliefs. However, the Academy advises parents to fully consider the needs of their teenagers before signing up to a boot camp as the intensity of the programs may be too much for those youngsters with emotional issues.

White River Academy

Describing itself as a "therapeutic boarding school" rather than a boot camp, the White River Academy offers a variety of residential programs for troubled teenage boys.

Rather than shocking the teens into improving their behavior, the camp works to prompt an internal change among its charges by teaching them to think in the long-term, realise the impact their actions have on others and develop their own set of values, beliefs and goals. Boys are given two individual therapy sessions per month on top of five weekly sessions, though more-individualised programs are available. Additionally, the academy allows parents to visit for one weekend every 90 days.

Advantages of this boot camp include the fact that its academic programs are fully-accredited, enabling teens to gain qualifications as well as tackle their problems, though, while sports are encouraged, music therapy is not an offer.