Boot Camps For Troubled Youth

Helping struggling teens get back on track

Boot Camps For Troubled Teens Don't Work, Trails Carolina Does

Sometimes families look for boot camps for troubled youth because they believe their child needs to “toughen up” or “get some reality” as if this will “snap them back” into a better place. While we understand the frustration many parents are feeling, experience and research shows–boot camps for troubled youth do not support positive change, healing, or growth!

Trails Carolina is Not like Boot Camps for Troubled Youth

Trails Carolina is not like boot camps for troubled youth. Rather, Trails Carolina offers evidence-based, wilderness therapy programs. We identify the underlying causes of behavioral and emotional issues so that the changes can be understood and maintained over time.

If your child… exhibits deliberate disregard for authority, commonly displays rebellious behavior, gets into regular and growing disturbances with the law, and shows no motivation in school… then Trails Carolina can help.

The truth is, if you're looking for help for troubled youth, boot camps are more like band-aids than solutions. While boot camps for troubled youth may intervene in behavior temporarily, the foundation of self-discovery necessary for sustained change over time is not created through fear or punishment.

Empowering Youth with a New Perspective

Locus of control is defined as an individual’s expectations regarding the behaviors that determine rewards and punishments. Youth with an internal locus of control view events as resulting from their own actions. Youth with an external locus of control view events as being under the control of external factors such as Mom, Dad, teachers etc. For example, a child with an internal locus of control might interpret a failure in school as a result of a lack of effort or focus, whereas as a child with an external locus of control might blame their teacher’s poor instruction.
Many of the Youth we work with at Trails Carolina have a misplaced sense of control.

They believe they have no control over what happens to them and how they react to those events. Boot camps for troubled youth reinforce that idea in many ways. This creates a sense that they cannot be held accountable in any way because it’s always someone else’s fault. This type of thinking demotivates kids to take positive action because they don’t feel they have any control over their future.

In boot camps for troubled youth, the focus is often on external factors thereby reinforcing a misplaced locus of control. Unlike these boot camps, at Trails, our goal is to help students recognize their role in their outcomes and help them establish healthier habits and coping skills.

Perceived self-efficacy helps to account for such diverse changes in coping behavior produced by different influences such as:

  • School refusal
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Family conflict
  • Low self-esteem
  • Social isolation
  • Self-harm
  • Adoption
  • Defiant behavior
  • Gaming and technology obsession
  • Substance abuse
  • Attachment issues
  • Manipulative behavior
  • Poor academic achievement
  • Learning differences
  • ADHD
  • Trauma

At Trails Carolina Wilderness Therapy Program we are passionate and committed to creating the best, most valuable wilderness therapy program possible for students and families alike and we know that lasting change takes far more intention than the militant approach of boot camps for troubled youth.

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


Meet our Primary Therapists

Family Education & Growth
Comprehensive wilderness therapy program combined with a residential treatment base camp and accredited academics