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.

Even though Outback is located in Utah, many parents in Oregon have chosen Outback’s wilderness therapy to help their troubled teens. Lots of families in Oregon want better therapy programs for their troubled teen. It’s easy to see the positive impact that Outback has had on so many families and troubled teens. Outback’s ability to provide successful rehabilitation programs begin with kids leaving their Oregon homes and enrolling in a Utah-based wilderness therapy program.

Wilderness therapy programs are successful because they provide a healing, holistic, and well-rounded participant experience. These programs are much more successful than juvenile detention, boot camps, or scared straight programs in Oregon.

Boot Camps For Troubled Youth And Scared Straight Programs In Oregon

Wilderness therapy programs operate on a few key principles. These principles enable them to effect more change in the lives of troubled teens than boot camps and scared straight programs. A closer look at these traits easily show that wilderness therapy is able to provide the right treatment for your teen.

Boot camps and scared straight programs believe that the most effective way to change bad behavior is to have the participants experience exhaustion through hard labor and punishment. They believe their extreme punishments will scare teens into being good, and avoid having to return to the camp.

Even though boot camps want to end bad behavior, they usually fall short because they don’t help participants replace bad behavior with positive behavior. This is the best way to change a behavior; the negative behavior must be replaced with positive behavior and actions. Boot camps and scared straight programs that fail to change bad behaviors leave teens and their families struggling with these bad behavior, leaving them in the same situation as before the camp.

Boot camps and scared straight programs focus on negative consequences. They use punishment to encourage participants to change bad behavior, but instead of learning how to change, participants only learn to hide their actions. Teens return home to their families and are unsupported as they try to figure out how to move forward.

A Look at Wilderness Therapy for Teens in Oregon

Wilderness therapy programs are built to provide participants with life skills, enable them to solve problems, and make positive life choices. Wilderness therapy camps focus on good behavior and use positive reinforcement as motivation, not punishment. This positive focus helps create a desire in the teens to think for themselves and begin to make positive life changes. Wilderness therapy camps help teens realize they have the ability to to change their life and modify their behaviors. These teens have learned how to work through their problems, and have an increased ability to replace bad attitudes with good ones. This creates long-term change within the teens and helps them realized that hiding bad behavior to avoid punishment isn’t the best choice.

Researchers have studied wilderness therapy camps and compared them to boot camps. They found that wilderness therapy camps are better able to provide teens with tools to make good decisions and help them positively improve their lives.

Wilderness therapy camps are successful because they remove teens from their comfort zones. This new and unfamiliar environment provides participants with opportunities to learn life lessons and survival skills in the camp without distractions. Attending wilderness therapy programs in Utah brings kids from Oregon one step closer to making positive life changes.

Those who attend wilderness therapy programs are able to get a fresh start. The participants come to the camp with anonymity, which provides a clean slate atmosphere that allows everyone to find themselves without worrying about preconceived notions from anyone else.

Outback’s camp counselors teach individual and group survival skill lessons with a focus on working together and problem-solving. Counselors in wilderness therapy programs are meant to be supporting mentors and friends that provide positive role models for the participants. The life lessons taught are applicable for participants inside and outside of the camp, and help participants continue on a good path when they return home. Upon coming home, teens are better able to recognize and exhibit good and bad behaviors, they know how to develop and maintain positive relationships, and they are better able to solve difficult problems.

How Wilderness Therapy Programs Benefit Teens in Oregon

Outback’s Therapeutic Expedition programs have improved the lives of many teens by bringing them to Utah from all over the United States. Outback provides participants who struggle with mental health problems, academics, video game addiction, substance abuse problems, and those involved in unsafe behaviors a safe space to learn and grow.

Outback’s wilderness therapy has successfully created a safe, educational environment that teaches critical life skills, and teaches participants how to develop skills they didn’t previously have. When they return home, these teens are able to rebuild damaged relationships as they work to become more social and create new, positive friendships that elevate their life.

Some people believe that wilderness therapy is only for teens who are court-ordered to attend wilderness therapy. This isn’t true. Outback’s main goal is to help any teen struggling to make positive life decisions, balance negative and positive behaviors, improve poor academic performance, cope with mental health issues, anyone dealing with addictions (drugs and alcohol, video games, etc.), and even those struggling to make friends.

Outback wants to help teens avoid hitting rock bottom. Any parent concerned about their struggling teen should contact Outback today.

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Wilderness Therapy?

Outback has created a comprehensive assessment survey that can teach parents the benefits of wilderness therapy and the benefits it can have for their child. It also provides Outback important information on what each participant needs and how to best to help them.

The survey asks parents 13 questions that provide Outback with information about the teen and what struggles they are facing. After parents complete the survey, a representative from Outback contacts the parents, answers any questions they have, and helps them begin an Outback application for their child.

Teenagers are constantly forced to make big life decisions all while dealing with intense, external pressures, like hormones, friends, poor living conditions, school, and more. This creates a lot of pressure for the teens, and it can lead to rash decision-making. Most teens aren’t able to handle these stressful situations alone, and are worried about the lasting impacts their choices will have. Outback’s focus is to equip teens with the best tools to improve their lives and make big decisions.

On occasion, recurring bad behavior can turn criminal. Parents, teachers, and law enforcement officers in Oregon sometimes struggle to know how to help troubled teens and aren’t always equipped with the best tools to break the cycle of bad behavior.

Outback’s wilderness therapy program has created a positive learning environment that allows teens to review their lives and begin to take control. Juvenile detention, scared straight programs, and boot camps all struggle to create a long lasting change in the lives of teens, while Outback’s methods have been proven to help teens build a desire to make good choices and bring balance back to their lives.

Don’t give up. Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is here to help you and your troubled teen. Outback’s proven methods have helped many parents and teens fix the past, avoid making future mistakes, and 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 Oregon, 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.

COVID-19 Update

Outback Therapeutic Expeditions is continuing to support families through this unprecedented time. We are closely monitoring information related to COVID-19, adhering to recommendations set forth by CDC, and have implemented additional safety precautions to mitigate risks. To learn more, contact us at 800-817-1899.