As we come to the final months of school, we hear chatter and clamoring for Summer programs. But when you have a special needs child or adult, you may think options are limited.
Did you know that there are respite summer camps for children and adults? Respite means short term care at another facility. Usually respite is associated with assisted living care, but these respite camps are traditional camp opportunities that address the unique needs of their campers.
Last year, my father participated at Moss Rehab’s Camp Independence. This sleep-away camp nestled in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania lasts for one week in the summer. My father, initially, acted as an unwilling participant. For months leading up to camp, he argued and threw mini tantrums about going to camp. It would be the first time he flew solo after the stroke. Also, he reflected heavily on horrible childhood camp experiences. He thought only mentally handicapped participants came, but the camp aims for adults with all levels of handicap needs. But my father’s tune changed when he finally arrived and obsessed on one thing that he thought was impossible to do since the stroke… go swimming!
The great thing about his camp was the ability to receive individualized care and 24-hour medical staff onsite. Cost for 1 week was $600, but scholarships were available for those who qualified. Campers enjoy the opportunity to do traditional camp activities – fishing, campfires, arts and crafts, play games, put on a play, swim, and much more. There are other camps out there and hopefully this blog post will get you started if you are in need of a camp.
Here is a list of 25 Summer Camps as provided by friendshipcircle.org. This post is several years old, so there are camps that may not be in existence anymore. I’ve also have a guide from the Easter Seals foundation. Click your state and use the local branch resources to find the camp closest to you. There is also a search with the American Camp Association.
Most of these camps fill up quickly, so get there early. If you are looking for a great job and rewarding opportunity, sign up and become a counselor. The best job I ever had was being a camp counselor. To read more about the benefits of respite camps, here is an article on the American Camp Association site.
So enjoy the sun, live life, and try something new.
Love and Compassion,