A Second Chance
If someone had told me 16 years ago that I willingly would place my son in a military academy to complete his high school years, I would have kindly told him he was greatly mistaken and quietly thought he has no idea what he is talking about. He obviously doesn’t know who I am: my whole life I had prepared to be the mother of happy, well adjusted, achieving children. I even had specialized in child development before earning my degree in secondary education. Military school was for military families or families who couldn’t raise their children on their own. How wrong I was!
Camden Military Academy has given my son a second chance at happiness and a promising future. Camden is for every family who has a son who doesn’t fit the stereotypical, compliant mold. CMA teaches the whole boy to become a whole man. Most importantly, Camden Military Academy can give a family who feels as if it has hit rock bottom hope, and hope was what my family needed after two years of ever increasing defiance, lost potential, and much heartache.
So how does a family that appears to the outside world to be the poster family for America get to rock bottom? Very easily – just like any other family. Life happens! Camden has helped my son and family in so many ways, but the most obvious are consistent, strong male adult leadership and classes designed for the male mind.
The predominately male staff and retired officers at CMA lead by word and example to foster better interpersonal relationships. They help provide a safe and secure environment in which boys receive the right balance of boundaries with freedom to explore and discover who they are all while requiring and maintaining high expectations of the boys. This balance helped promote in my son a more secure sense of self and helped him recognize his strengths without the ever-watchful eye of his family giving him loving advice. My son immediately recognized the importance of making good choices, and CMA rewarded him accordingly. My son felt self- accomplished and truly began to take pride in who he is. With each accomplishment, he felt more driven to try harder in all areas of his life: academics, relationships with his family, and future personal goals.
CMA understands that boys do learn differently than girls. The all-male, smaller class size, shorter class times (45 minute), and enforced study hall time help the teachers teach to how boys develop and learn. With this understanding, teachers at Camden use teaching styles and techniques that provide optimal opportunities for boys to learn well which translates into higher academic success. The classes tailor their curriculum and teaching methodologies to capitalize on the way boys learn. Teachers can focus on hands on learning and use the boys excess energy in more positive ways that allow more movement and active engagement, which all translate into academic success. The all-male, smaller classes allow the boys to be themselves without the excess worry of thinking about girls. This translates into less posturing (to impress the girls) and more concentrated attention on the lesson. As boys mature differently and later than girls, CMA can build confidence in its male students without social distractions. The boys can routinely lead in every aspect of learning from discussion to participation.
Camden Military Academy raises expectations of what boys can achieve and encourages each boy to maximize his potential and discover his own unique interests and talents. As my son slowly moved up from a private to a private first class, etc., his self-worth increased. He began to try harder to move up and earn higher ranking and privileges—even though he realized that those in turn earned him more jobs and responsibilities, along with more eyes watching him. These eyes have translated into strong bonds of friendship, camaraderie, and teamwork. Our son is proud to have a band of brothers, and I am proud of him and thankful for his second chance to discover who he is and what he loves.
Karen W. Dean, mother of Cadet Jake Dean