Summer Camp Summer Fun
Summer camp should encourage the potential for new friendships, outdoor adventures, swimming, hiking, games and general fun. When you choose the right camp, it can provide all that and more. As your child grows and becomes independent, his self-esteem will increase, too. Having a special need is not an excuse to miss out on the fun.
It is perfectly normal, as the parent, to worry or have some concerns about sending your child to summer camp for the first time. You may wonder how other children will react to your child’s disability. You may not feel confident that counselors understand and can respond to your child’s special need. You may even feel as if you need to sign up for summer camp also because he/she cannot do it alone. You can alleviate your worries by learning about the innumerable camps just for special needs that will suit your child. Among these special needs camps, each will have a different mission statement and goals. There are so many to choose from.
First, sit down as a family and make a list of what qualities in a summer camp are most important to you. Some ideas to consider are: location/distance from home, length of the session, cost or if financial assistance is offered, religious affiliation, counselor-camper ratio, credentials of the staff and whether parental visitation is welcomed. The next step is to call the camp and ask to speak to the director. Ask any questions you may have and if you remain interested, request literature to be mailed to your home. If possible, plan a visit. If a visit is not going to be possible, see if you can connect your child with a former camper or speak to a parent yourself.
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