One of the great American traditions and some of the most fond memories of our own childhood, and featured in so many movies and television shows, is summer camp. Unfortunately, the more traditional camps your neighbor’s kids might be planning to attend do not provide the accommodations your child may require. This is, of course, extremely sad, but it’s also a reality your family likely faces every day with the usual challenges faced with simple tasks when you go out to the store, to a restaurant, etc. That does not mean, though, that going away for some fun cannot be in your child’s plans this summer as there are a variety of different types of camp for children with Cerebral Palsy to consider!
Below are just a few great camps for children with Cerebral Palsy to take a look at and possibly plan for this year or next. We provide this list not as a catch-all of everything you should consider but, instead, to raise awareness about the wide variety of camps, and experiences, available for children with Cerebral Palsy. You will see below there are camps limited to just those with special needs, or camps focused on teaching educational skills… even camps that encourage bringing a friend or relative. Whether it’s a day camp that allows your child to follow a passion or an overnight program allowing you and your child to get some ‘independence time,’ this list of camps is intended to broaden your understanding of what camp can be for a child with special needs. We should note that many of these camps are not exclusive to children with Cerebral Palsy and include other kids with special needs, making for a diverse and fun experience!
For more information on other camps we know of in your area, call or contact us today!
Camp Jabberwocky – Massachusetts
Serving special needs children and adults for over sixty years, Camp Jabberwocky looks to foster “independence and self-determination while respecting diversity.” Describing their activities as “typical (and better than typical),” options include cooking, writing, gardening, yoga, music and plenty more. A full list of their dates and rates can be found here.
Camp Thorpe – Vermont
With dates ranging from the end of June until early August, Camp Thorpe offers an overnight camping experience that also includes special events for children under and over 21. Founded in 1927, the camp provides memorable experiences for campers across a wide variety of spectrums, mentally and physically, from 10 to 80. The ratio of camper to counselor is 3:1 and activities range from fishing, swimming, cookouts and sporting events, as well as a variety of other efforts. Pricing ranges depending on age.
Camp Oakhurst – New Jersey
Set on 15 acres of land near the shoreline, Camp Oakhurst accommodates over 500 children, teens and adults with physical disabilities every year. While they do offer services year-round, Oakhurst also provides summer sleep away and day respite services. Their offerings are extremely diverse; information is available by clicking here. We would also add that their services do allow, outside of camp, for families to provide their child or young adult overnight fun to coincide with business trips, emergencies and more. Registration is open now!
Shady Oaks Camp – Illinois
A summer camp for those with disabilities, Shady Oaks touts a one-to-one camper to staff ratio that is intended to help create a fun, enabled environment. Set within the woods around a variety of lakes and wildlife, the camp has services for children and adults alike. While their website may be difficult to navigate, we suggest contacting them for more information regarding your child camping there!
True Friends – Minnesota
True Friends has a nice diversity in its offerings, providing both Resident and Day camps that are open to special needs children, as well as their siblings and friends. What’s more, different clubs exist that allow for children to pursue specific interests and include fishing, cooking (and baking), canoeing, sports, art and more. They also have flexibility in the form of the BYOC (Bring Your Own Caregiver) initiative, allowing for unique dedicated support. Find out more about their 2015 offerings here.
Camp Independence – Missouri
An extension of Children’s Hospital of St. Louis, Camp Independence has sessions from June into the end of July. Activities are based on a variety of sports, including (but not limited to) soccer, adaptive cycling, martial arts, basketball, baseball and more! Campers ranging from 7-21 are welcome to attend – find out more by reading their application here.
Midnight Farm – Kansas
Not your typical ‘camp,’ Midnight Farm hosts an assortment of animals and buildings that allow for a unique experience. Midnight Farm hosts special needs day camps in June and July to accommodate children and young adults interested in animals and more. Videos, contact forms and more are available by clicking the link above.
Camp Paradise – Ohio
Hosting activities for those with special needs ranging from youth to adult (and even for those who do not have a disability), Camp Paradise aims to provide themed summer camps geared to diverse interests. Whether your child has an interest in the ecosystem or art, team-building or cooking, the offerings Camp Paradise has is truly impressive. Camps offered include day and overnight, with a staff to camper ration of 1:4. Find out more about their 2015 offerings by visiting their site.
Cerebral Palsy of Virginia – Virginia
At only $200/camper, this camp affords a unique experience for families to send youths, teens and adults to. While it is a day camp (not overnight), activities are fantastic and include computer games, arts and crafts, field trips, bowling and more. Find out more about their schedule by clicking here.
Camp Smile – Alabama
United Cerebral Palsy of Mobile hosts this camp for individuals with disabilities, with campers ranging in age from 5-50. This camp breaks its schedule out based upon the age of campers, starting with those 22-50 in June and ending with young adults 15-21 in July. What we love, among other things, is that Camp Smile has been able to keep costs low, having 3 medical professionals on-site 24/7 while only costing $375/camper. For more information, view their FAQ or contact them directly.
Camp Smiles – Texas
Albeit similarly named, Camp Smiles is a weeklong overnight camp for children with Cerebral Palsy aged 6-14. Activities are adapted to match with children with neurological disorders and include canoeing, archery, a ropes course, horseback riding and more. This camp is operated by Easter Seals of Houston, with the cost subsidized, and each family being asked to donate $250/camper.
Camp MOST – Texas
An offshoot of Camp Smiles serving “graduates” of Camp Smiles aged 14-18.
The Center for Courageous Kids – Kentucky
This camp goes way beyond just helping children with special needs, serving as a not for profit Medical Camping Facility that accommodates children (and their families) facing life threatening illnesses free of charge. Besides accommodating children with Cerebral Palsy, the camp also helps those with cancer, transplants, muscular dystrophy and more. For more information on attendance, the Center requests that you contact their Camper Recruiter office at 270-618-2900270-618-2900 FREE.
Camp Stand By Me – Washington
What we love about this camp is the versatility – Easter Seals of Washington offers Residential summer camp, Weekend respites AND Family Camp. Each camp has different camper to supervisor levels. With sessions starting in June and extending into August, this camp can also feasibly match your family’s busy schedule.
A day camp intended to help development, CFCE’s efforts are focused on hiring unique, effective ‘conductors’ who have graduated from the Peto Institute to assist children in educational programs. While the 2015 schedule is not yet available, you can find out more by calling 970-667-0348970-667-0348 FREE or sending an email to [email protected].
Outdoors for All – Washington
With two locations, Outdoors for All puts on recreational camps intended for children with and without disabilities aged 5-21. The camp describes their activities as “Challenge by Choice,” which intends to encourage campers to take on goals while feeling safe and comfortable. Find out about their activities and camp options, as well as registration info, by clicking here.
Rocky Mountain Village – Colorado
Operated by Easter Seals, this camp touts itself as one of the organization’s best. With activities ranging from zip-line to drama, sports to music, Rocky Mountain Village offers services to campers in a wide range of ages and abilities. Take a look at their 2015 Summer Camp dates for a better understanding of the opportunities available.
Foundations Developmental House – Arizona
FDH’s Speech and Language Summer camps are exactly what they sound like and are intended to help children of varying needs achieve more. Review their LEAP summer program’s curriculum by clicking here.
CampCare – Nevada
A non-sectarian, non-profit camp on the shores of Lake Tahoe, CampCare focuses on unique attention within small groups to encourage participation and involvement. Individuals with Cerebral Palsy are encouraged to attend alongside fellow campers with varying other conditions between the ages of 6 and 22. A typical morning, starting at 7:15 quickly leads into breakfast, aerobics, arts and crafts and music and dance, all before lunch! Held the third week of July, forms are due by May 1st.
If you have any questions or would like additional information about resources beyond camps for your child, please do not hesitate to contact us through our web form, request assistance through our Facebook Page or give us a call at (800) 692-4453(800) 692-4453 FREE.
Note: The team at CerebralPalsy.org has not visited nor investigated any of the camps listed. Their listing should not be considered a recommendation or endorsement and is instead intended for illustrative purposes on the range of camping opportunities available for children with Cerebral Palsy.