These started off a number of years ago in the Department of Podiatry at LaTrobe University. They were held every few years as a continuing education service to the profession. The 'Boot Camp' was a bit of promotional fun. The instructors all had names (Major Payne; General Norman Murphy; the drill sergeants helped with the practicals). Instead of providing food breaks, there were rations; instead of hotels for accommodation, they were the barracks; etc.
Despite this bit of fun, it never distracted from the serious nature of the content. The aim of the Boot Camp was to provide practical applications of all the latest thoughts, ideas, theories and research on foot biomechanics and foot orthotics into clinical practice. Over time the reputation grew, the feedback from them was always good and more interstate participants began attending. This lead to more requests to hold the Boot Camps interstate.
Craig Payne now conducts the Boot Camps interstate and internationally. Craig either runs them himself; or on behalf of other organisations; or for other organisations. LaTrobe University still holds the traditional one.
The Boot Camp is somewhat unique in comparison to similar courses, in that it is not run by an orthotic company with a product to sell. The content is continuously being updated and added to. All new theories, idea, concepts, approaches and research are considered, analysed and, where appropriate added into the content. The practical sessions are added to and evolve to include clinical tests and methods based on this newer information.
The new information (a lot of it being unpublished) comes from numerous sources. There is the published research and books; our own research; our own minor experiments; the network of contacts built up; attendance at conferences; online discussion at places like Podiatry Arena; visits to foot orthotic labs; visiting with and discussing with key people; etc. A lot of people give a lot of time to help add to the content. Nothing is static (which again is something that makes the Boot Camps unique). A large part of the development of the content comes from participants questions and, more importantly, participant challenges and disagreement - this forces more development; more changes to the thought processes; more thought; more experiments to add to the content.