I've been looking at ML's from the era of the Victor Camps, which began around 1985-86. Stephen Kent has done an excellent article that reviews all the research on the topic of Teen Training, Victor Camps, etc., done by other academic experts on TFI (e.g., Millikin, Chancellor, Shepherd) regarding Teen Training, etc. Kent also interviews several SGs who went through the training programs. You can read Kent's article at http://www.nospank.net/kent.htm
Kent and others offer a sociological explanation for the camps, e.g., indoctrination and discipline of youth. However, I don't think this is the way TFI understood it at the time it was happening.
If you read the MLs from the era, there's an overarching religious explanation for the camps that runs like this: Our youth are too soft, they need to be toughened up so they can lead the Endtime Army against the forces of the anti-Christ.
Berg's apocalyptic fear of the future played out in the lives of the second generation. The question that is sometimes asked, Why have all these kids if the world is going to end tomorrow?, makes more sense if you're birthing babies to become soldiers in the End-time Army.
If you think about the teen training programs of the 80's in terms of a military training model, you can see the harshness of the discipline had an aim of breaking the spirit and reconstructing the personality to function as an obedient soldier in the larger unit. Marine training gone berzerk on 12-year-olds.
Not by accident, perhaps, many SGs who leave TFI enlist in the military.
Any thoughts from SGs or FGs who lived through that era?