Dedicated to preventing and reducing juvenile delinquency by providing innovative programs through which adolescents can become responsible and productive.

Teen Boot Camps

Therapeutic Boarding School vs. Teen Boot Camps

What is the difference between a teen boot camp and a teen therapeutic boarding school?

When seeking help for a teen struggling with serious issues, it can be overwhelming and confusing for parents to understand the wide variety of programs available, not to mention actually choosing one that is a good fit for their teen. There are several different categories of programming for troubled teens, including teen boot camps, teen therapeutic boarding schools, teen wilderness programs, and residential substance abuse treatment programs. The two most well-known types of programs are teen boot camps and teen therapeutic boarding schools.

What is a Teen Boot Camp?

A boot camp for troubled teens is a military-style institution that teaches discipline and structure to defiant teens through military exercises and demanding physical training.
40-50 years ago, military schools were the primary area of programming available to parents looking for help for their troubled teen. As military schools became more selective, teen boot camps began to be more widely offered specifically for rebellious teens. The theory of a teen boot camp is to put the teen through a drastic and extreme change in an effort to change their poor behavior.

The first teen boot camps were often known for their harsh discipline methods such as yelling, deprivation, or exercise as a form punishment. As parents and therapists realized that this form of treatment was actually causing more harm in teens’ lives than growth, “teen boot camps” began to shift into different kinds of programs that focused more on building teens up, promoting healthy lifestyle changes and growth.

What is a Therapeutic Boarding School?

Unlike a teen boot camp, therapeutic boarding schools focus on changing a struggling teen’s thought patterns and subsequent behaviors through counseling and alternative educational programming. The primary focus of a therapeutic boarding school is to help a teen recover from emotional and academic setbacks. Therapeutic boarding schools are able to award their students with high school diplomas or transfer credits to another secondary school.

Several components set therapeutic boarding schools apart from teen components. Most therapeutic boarding schools offer holistic programming to help teens reach their full potential relationally, emotionally, behaviorally and spiritually. Relationships play a major role in each of these areas. At our school, a staff of counselors, teachers, and house staff walk with our students through every step of the program, modeling what positive and healthy relationships look like.

Some therapeutic boarding schools also place a strong emphasis on restoring family relationships. For example, while our students are enrolled at our therapeutic boarding school, their families are also undergoing intensive counseling back at home. This not only helps the family heal from emotional damage, but also helps them discover healthy and effective ways to continue helping their teen once they return home. We also encourage consistent communication between students and their families, including phone calls, emails, video conferencing, care packages, and even on-campus visits.

If you or someone you know is looking for teen boot camps, we encourage you to explore Caribbean Mountain Academy or another therapeutic boarding school as an alternative option. Our school has an affordable monthly tuition rate compared to other stateside programs, plus the unique location being in the Dominican Republic offers many things that domestic programs and other traditional teen boot camps cannot: an opportunity to focus, a shift away from material value, a fresh start, healing for your family, a chance to rediscover hope, an integrated approach and personal time of growth for your teen.