Forget Boot Camps, do Outdoors Youth Training

Opinion by Tony Orman

It’s difficult to understand the inward looking attitude of Police Minister Ginny Anderson to youth training camps. The title “boot camps” that she negatively uses is derogatory and distorts the intention and what they should be.
I’m of dinosaur age and did 18 year old compulsory military training in 1950s. Initially reluctant on entering, I  soon realised and observed this was great for youngsters, dissolving arrogance in some entrants but importantly for all, developing skills and building self esteem and respect for others. 
Okay diminish the military aspect today but run it on lines of Outward Bound’s outdoors training, teaching outdoor and survival skills, developing skills from carpentry and mechanics to gardening etc., and especially doing community work for needy older or disabled folk.
Many of today’s youth need help. Indeed there’s a solid case to have an Outward Bound styled youth training  compulsory for male and female youngsters.
Dumbing down discussion for political expediency reasons will not help troubled youth.

Footnote: This was published in a letter to “The Post” (Wellington’s former “Dominion”) under the banner of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations.
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10 Responses to Forget Boot Camps, do Outdoors Youth Training

  1. J B Smith says:

    Good, positive thoughts. “Boot camps” term used by Labour is negative politics. Encouraging youth into outdoor adventures to get fit, to appreciate nature and build confidence and self esteem has to be good.

  2. "Rambler" says:

    New Zealand’s youth spend more time indoors, glued to screens, and less time outdoors. This impacts on their health, with inferior health and increased obesity for example and later increasing health care costs for the nation. Besides it dulls their appreciation of Nature and the environment, so environmental values of the people and NZ are much lowered.

  3. Fred Potts says:

    Getting kids outdoors can enhance social behaviour, help alleviate stress, promote mental health and general well being. In fact, overseas many youth therapies involve getting kids outside. And it builds self esteem.

  4. Lew says:

    Nothing wrong with boot camp’s biter than spending time in prison.

  5. Chaz Forsyth says:

    It looks suspiciously like attempts at stigmatising by opponents of these specialized placements for people with difficulties!

    We have seen this before in connection with lobbying for mental health.

  6. Jim Hilton Batchelor Science Hons Biology 1971 says:

    Outward Bound is a time tested and successful model. Participants hand in their mobile phones at the start of a course and have them returned when it finishes.
    Otherwise they would get nothing done, like many people today.

  7. Barry Day says:

    How about calling it “Community Service”?
    That’s what it is.
    For the youth it’s some valuable life lessons and for the community it’s helping educate our younger generation.

  8. Norrie Day says:

    “Boot Camps” are for getting ground into military thinking.

    A youth trading camp is not a boot camp.
    She’s out of order and reveals it in her sarcastic nickname of a camp to help youth in todays world.

  9. James Paske says:

    Labour’s Police Minister Anderson for pre-election scare mongering calls youth training “boot camps”. Meanwhile youth are involved in crime to an increasing degree.
    What is Ms Anderson’s answer?

  10. F. H. says:

    Outdoors is best class room. Teach skills including safe firearm handling and respect for firearms. Like Tony Orman I did CMT (Compulsory Military Training) for 18 year olds. It did wonders for many, soft “mummy’s boys” who became sound, young men. Rude, arrogant slobs learned to respect others and it built all-important self esteem in all.
    In the long term society benefited with healthier, physically fit young men (lower health service costs to NZ), mentally enhanced and better citizens for NZ’s future society.
    It is a “no brainer’ yet PM Hipkins and his police minister attempt to denigrate youth training by calling them “boot camps” inferring to Nazism perhaps?
    When many youths (male and female) are involved in ram raids, muggings and even homicides, the politically motivated smearing by Labour and the Greens is shameful.

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