Kids' Boot Camps for Unruly Teenagers

Updated July 20, 2017

Parents struggling to control their teenager's unruly behaviour may decide to send their child to boot camp. Boot camps for teenagers generally have the following traits in common: They place an emphasis on physical conditioning, character-building activities and a highly structured system of routines. Before sending an unruly teenager to boot camp, make sure that the camp has the best interests of you and your child in mind.

Turnabout/Stillwater Academy

Founded in 1988, Turnabout/Stillwater Academy is an "adolescent treatment program dedicated to helping 12- to 17-year-old troubled teens find the pathway back to happiness and family harmony." The program achieves its goals through a combination of six main components: structure, therapy, education, recreation, strengthening family relationships and aftercare. According to their website, students that complete the program increase their cumulative GPA by 1.5 points. Students are accepted into the program year-round on a rolling basis.

Turnabout/Stillwater Academy

11175 South Redwood Rd.

South Jordan, Utah 84095


MHYR Wilderness Program

Featured on the television show "Dr. Phil," the Mountain Homes Youth Ranch program serves troubled teens between the ages of 12 and 17. The program is divided into three cumulative phases, Beginning, Advanced and Ranch. The Beginning phase requires students to learn about the "interdependency of nature's resources, personal skill and knowledge and responsible and cooperative behaviour for the sustaining of life's basic needs." In the Advanced phase, participants both learn and practice the skills needed to work with their camping community. During the Ranch phase, participants apply the skills they learnt to "scholastic venues such as GED, high school and college correspondence courses." Throughout all phases of the program, participants attend both individual and group counselling. The program ends with a graduation that the parents may attend.

MHYR Wilderness Program

247 South Vernal Ave.

Vernal Utah 84078


Mount Carmel Youth Ranch

Located on a cattle ranch in Northern Wyoming, the Mount Carmel Youth Ranch is a Catholic Therapeutic Boarding School that aims to use "real life experiences on a cattle ranch to dignify and increase the self-esteem" of troubled teenagers and at-risk youth. Open to boys between the ages of 12 and 18, Mount Carmel Youth Ranch's long-term program runs for 18 months. They also offer a short-term program that runs for 21 days. They modify the behaviour of young teenagers through a system of positive incentives and disciplinary tactics. For example, the boys are rewarded for good behaviour by being allowed to drive the pickup, ride horseback or become a team leader. Examples of disciplinary action include instructing the young men to do push-ups or go on a wilderness trip. Applications are processed year round.

Mount Carmel Youth Ranch

428 Rd. 1AF

Powell, WY 82435


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About the Author

Based in New York, Evan Paquette has been writing about the arts and education since 2007. His paper on the relationship between creative drama techniques and flow was featured in Kean University's "Educating the Creative Mind Conference Proceedings." Paquette earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and theater from Rutgers University and a Master of Arts in educational theater from New York University.