A Better Alternative To Scared Straight Programs & Boot Camps For Kids

Scared straight programs and boot camps for kids can do more harm than good. Wilderness therapy programs like Outback Therapeutic Expeditions are a better alternative and ARE NOT the same as a scared straight program or a boot camp for kids.

Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is located in Lehi, Utah. For parents in Ohio wanting a better kind of therapy program for their troubled teen need to look at Outback’s successful track record. Wilderness therapy programs that work pull teens out of their comfort zones. Removing kids from their homes in Ohio and putting them in the wilderness of Utah is an important first step in the rehabilitation process .

Wilderness therapy programs have proven that they provide better treatment and help to participants more than juvenile detention, scared straight programs, or boot camps in Ohio and elsewhere.

Boot Camps For Troubled Youth And Scared Straight Programs In Ohio

There are several characteristics of wilderness therapy programs that make them more effective than boot camps and scared straight programs for troubled youth. These differences highlight why wilderness therapy is able to provide a more effective treatment for your teen.

Boot camps and scared straight programs teach that exhaustion, punishment, and putting the participants through gruelling labor is the best way to change bad behavior. They feel that harsh punishments scare the teens into changing their behavior to avoid returning to the camp. This is not the case.

While these camps have the goal to end bad behavior, they fail to accomplish this because they don’t replace the bad behavior with positivity. To create a change of behavior, you must replace negative behavior with positive behavior and actions. Without this necessary correction, teens and their families still struggle to modify behavior and resolve personal conflict. This leaves them in the same place as before the boot camp. Wilderness therapy camps utilize trained therapists to help teens create positive change in their lives.

Boot camps and scared straight programs have many unintended effects. Their reliance on punishment encourages participants to hide or mask their bad behavior to avoid punishment. instead of changing behavior, participants learn nothing. When the camp is over, teens and their families are left without any support system as they try to figure out what to do next. Boot camps and scared straight programs use fear to motivate their participants to change.

A Look at Wilderness Therapy Programs For Teens in Ohio

Wilderness therapy programs strive to give participants life skills that enable them to solve problems as individuals and in groups. Wilderness therapy camps focus on positive reinforcement of good behavior, not punishment. Trained therapists in wilderness therapy camps create a desire in teens to think for themselves and help them work on making positive life changes. These teens are able to modify their behaviors after learning how to work through their problems and use good behavior to replace bad attitudes. This creates a visible change within the teens and teaches them that masking bad behavior to escape punishment isn’t healthy.

When researchers compared wilderness therapy camps and boot camps, they found that wilderness therapy camps provide teens with a better environment and greater access to tools that help them positively improve their lives.

One of the key beliefs of wilderness therapy is that by taking teens out of their comfort zones and placing them in an unfamiliar environment, provides them more opportunities to learn life lessons through survival skills and object lessons. Kids from Ohio who attend a wilderness therapy program in Utah are one step closer to positive changes.

Each person who attends a wilderness therapy program knows nothing about any other participant, and they also come with the ability to have a fresh start. This unknown atmosphere allows them to be themselves without having to worry about external life pressures and preconceived notions.

The lessons in wilderness therapy camps teach individual and group survival lessons. These lessons let camp counselors teach participants to work together and solve problems. The wilderness therapy environment also lets the counselors be mentors and friends and provide a positive role model for them. These great lessons are applicable to life inside and outside of the camp. When the teens return home, they are better equipped to recognize good and bad behaviors, know how they can develop positive relationships, and they know how to solve problems effectively.

How Can Wilderness Therapy Programs Benefit Teens in Ohio?

Wilderness therapy has been shown to be a big help to anyone. Outback’s Therapeutic Expedition programs bring in troubled teens from all over the United States and allows them to flourish and grow. Outback’s programs work with teens and kids who struggle with mental health problems, those with academic struggles, those involved in unsafe behaviors, and more.

Outback has successfully taught teens important life skills, and has enabled them to develop other tools they didn’t have before. Outside of the camp, they are able to use these tools to reconstruct relationships, become more social, develop and maintain positive relationships, and elevate their life’s purpose.

One of the biggest misconceptions about wilderness therapy programs is that only court ordered teens are able to attend. This isn’t true. Outback’s goal for wilderness therapy is to help anyone who is struggling to make positive changes in their life. It can help those who are learning how to deal with balancing negative and positive behaviors, anyone dealing with addictions (drugs and alcohol, video games, etc.), poor academic performance, mental health issues, and even those struggling to make friends. Wilderness therapy gives them a second chance at improving their lives.

Outback’s primary goal is to help teens before they hit rock bottom. Anyone concerned about their struggling teen should contact Outback today.

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Wilderness Therapy

Outback has created an assessment survey to help parents understand the benefits of wilderness therapy for their child. It also provides Outback with the information for how to best meet the needs of each individual.

The survey has 13 questions for parents that help Outback understand what each child is struggling with. After completing the survey, an Outback representative will contact the parents, answers any questions, and help them move forward with an application.

Teenagers are constantly making big decisions. They deal with intense outside pressure, and this can lead to poor decision-making. Abuse, hormones, friends, unsanitary living conditions, and school create extreme pressure on teens. If not handled correctly, these stressful situations can have lasting impacts. Giving teens the best tools to improve their lives is essential to Outback.

Recurring bad behavior in teens can sometimes turn criminal. Parents, teachers, and law enforcement in Ohio have trouble breaking the cycle of bad behavior because they don’t know how to help these struggling teens. It’s difficult for parents to feel like they aren’t equipped to help their children. Outback is here to help.

Outback’s wilderness therapy program creates a setting that allows teens to take control of their lives. Juvenile detention, scared straight programs, and boot camps all lack the skill to effect lasting, positive change in the lives of teens. Outback’s proven methods enable teens to create a balanced and happy life.

Don’t ever lose hope. Outback Therapeutic Expeditions are here to help you and your troubled teen. Outback’s tested methods help parents and teens see that the past can be fixed, that future bad behavior can be avoided, and it gives them skills to create a more positive and productive path forward.


While Outback is physically located in the beautiful state of Utah, students come to us from all over Ohio, the country, and the world, including (but not limited to) the following:










About the Author

McKay Deveraux, MSW, LCSW, is the executive director of Outback Therapeutic Expeditions

McKay has over 17 years of experience working with troubled teens in wilderness therapy. Before becoming the executive director at Outback Therapeutic Expeditions, McKay received his Masters of Social Work from Brigham Young University, worked as a field staff, field director, program director, and as a primary therapist at Outback.

He is honored to have served as Battalion Operations Sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves and is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.