Monday, January 10, 2011

It's Camp Time Again!

There is something satisfying about planning for the summer when we are in the midst of a snowy winter. With more snow predicted here in New York for later this week, we are turning our attention to summer choices for children. One reminder that summer planning should begin soon is the announcement we recently received about the Annual Camp Fair sponsored by Resources for Children with Special Needs (RCSN). This Fair is located in New York City and  features a wide array of programs -- some for children with mild attention issues and some for children whose medical, learning, or emotional needs are quite significant. Attendees get a free copy of the comprehensive 2011-2012 Camp Directory and a chance to meet with camp directors. Other RSCN publications will be available at a significant discount. Admission to the Camp Fair is free.

Most children with learning difficulties can do well in almost any summer program. Without the stress of classroom demands, these children can enjoy recreational activities and build important self esteem and social skills as they interact with their peers. The American Camp Association, which accredits numerous camps, is an helpful resource for finding a camp program. It also has a separate section of its website with information about what families should look for in a camp and lists of camps that fit specific criteria.

Other children, however, need a special setting for summer because their behavior, attention or learning issues make it difficult for them to manage in a typical camp environment. Although the break from school is often a welcome relief, it also means the loss of structure and social contacts for these children and increased supervision and stress for their parents. Fortunately, there are an increasing number of summer programs designed for children and adolescents with learning differences and accompanying behavioral issues.

These camps include:

Summit Camp, in Wayne County, Pennsylvania. We have visited this impressive but expensive program and seen it in action. The information on the website gives an accurate feel for the kind of child the camp serves and the programs Summit offers.

Camp Kehilla and Kehilla Kayyf are programs of the Jewish Community Center in Roslyn, New York, designed for “high-functioning children and teens with minimal learning disabilities, speech and language delays” and other issues. The day camp program, for younger campers, is located at the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds in Huntington, New York. The sleep-away program for pre-teens and teens is located in Poyntelle, Pennsylvania.

In addition, a number of private schools and a few colleges have summer programs. These include the Kildonan School, the Landmark School in Massachusetts, Winston Prep School (both in New York and Connecticut), and Landmark College in Vermont.

Start thinking about warmer, fun filled days ahead!

Photo credit: Steven Depolo via Flickr

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