View Full Version : summer camp question
Right now DS is in daycamp. He is 7 1/2. At age 8 overnight camps near us have 1 week rookie sessions and DS is interested in going next summer. I'm hesitant to do it--do I/should I find a camp that specializes in mild SN or allow him to go to a regular overnight camp (by regular I actually mean a Jewish overnight camp near us--1 hour away). I guess I'm wondering if all DS's camp experiences should be centered around SN focus? Right now he is in a regular daycamp that can an inclusion program. DS is not in the inclusion program as his needs are not at the same level.
06-25-2012, 03:59 PM
What type of SN does your DS have? I know you have said, but I can't remember. I went to sleep away camp for 8 weeks each summer starting at 8, and then worked at the camp when I was in college, and then worked full time after college before law school. Some kids with SN thrive in a "normal" camp setting. They will do things at camp that they would not do at home, like make their beds, clean, swim, go on a ropes course, etc. If your child has a hard time connecting with other kids, I would talk to the Jewish camp and ask them what they do about helping children to adjust and interact. The issue with a week long camp, is that it often takes a week to 10 days for kids to adjust and get in the swing of thing. At 8 week camps (now they are 7 weeks), we don't allow kids to speak to their parents for the first 2 weeks to create a better adjustment. This may be a long way of saying, without knowing your specific circumstances, I would possibly try the Jewish camp, and hope to be surprised.
My DS has ADHD-combo type, sensory issues, auditory processing issues and generally processes information slow (read at his own pace which is usually not on par with others). I went to overnight camps every summer from 8 yrs old also. I also worked at one for many years. I never really understood the 1 week session thing to be honest. I do plan to talk to the camps near us to find out. One has a 1 wk session and then a full session. One has 1wk, 2wks or full sessions. I know of 2 SN overnight camps--each about 3-4 hours from us. I'm not comfortable with sending a child that far away at age 8 (we would drive him there, but still).
While I think DS would have a wonderful time, I'm a bit afraid of him not keeping up or being lost in the crowd (or having a counselor that just doesn't get it at all). Plus, there would be daily meds to take with the nurse (not a huge deal) and the fact that DS is a super picky eater and has to drink a pediasure (or the like) nutritional drink daily to keep from loosing to much weight. These are reasons that only being an hour away sounds better to me. Plus I really would like DS to get the Jewish camping experience as I had for many years.
06-25-2012, 10:04 PM
I would talk to all the camps. Find out about the staff and what type of staff training they do. Also ask about how the work to integrate all kids into a day's activities. IME, some camps would be great about your son's needs and some would not. Personally, if you are wanting to send your DS to camp, the one hour drive vs. 3 hour drive for the right fit would not matter as much. Either way, you can be there in less than a day (at 8 I was an 8 hour drive away) as is the norm for where I grew up, NYC area and camps in Maine.
06-29-2012, 07:45 AM
I think I know the camp you mean and everyone really raves about it.
I don't think older DD's needs are as significant as your DS's, but she has always done fine at regular camps. I have always made them aware of her issues but as far as I can tell, it's never been a problem. She is doing a 3 week sleep away this year and that will be the first time she will have been away for that long. Previously it has always been one week sessions. One week sessions are the norm for things like Girl Scout camp at the younger ages.
My DS is doing really well at daycamp in the regular program. He has expressed a desire to learn more about overnight camps. The two I mentioned are specifically SN camps that I just learned about. They are both further than I wanted to have my DS who will be 8.5 next summer, go. There are several overnight camps within an hour from here that are good camps (and I believe one has an inclusion program). I'm going to be researching things for next summer and we may have DS do a week program to try things out.
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