How Special Needs Camping Has Impacted the Camp Experience

"Camping is an activity that has been embraced by humanity because it's fun and it brings people, especially families, together," said Dr. Tom Zellers, a professor of pediatric cardiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center and camp doctor. "For children with chronic illnesses, camp has often been forbidden because of the risks and physical challenges it presents. At [special needs] camps, however, children with medical problems, who are sheltered by their family and may be the only child with their type of medical problem in their family, neighborhood, or community, are brought together.

Mental Health Issues in Camp

A healthy part of children’s emotional development includes occasional bouts of feeling down or stressed, but how do you know when it’s serious? Depression and anxiety are two of the most common childhood mental health disorders. Since you’re not a therapist, how should you respond? Learn practical, supportive, and ethical ways to help children cope and build resiliency.

Through this webinar, participants will learn to:

Managing Difficult Camper Behaviors

Some kids have behaviors that are difficult to manage, especially during group situations.  If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself growing irritated, losing, patience, and getting resentful.  It’s important for all staff to agree on what is considered acceptable or inappropriate behavior and respond in a consistent, fair manner. 

Through this webinar, participants will learn to:

Behavior Management That Works! Effective Strategies for Campers with Special Needs

Managing youth behavior is a challenge for many youth program providers and a significant source of stress for directors and staff who are not prepared. This webinar provides specific strategies for effectively managing camper behavior with an emphasis on the needs of campers with different abilities. The translation of strategies for staff training will be stressed.

Participants will learn:

Bag of Tricks: Tools and Resources for Helping All Kids Succeed at Camp

Every provider needs a portable Bag of Tricks they can dig into during unexpected wait times, when activities don’t go as planned or when a youth needs extra support. This webinar will give ideas of items to include in your own Bag of Tricks to be prepared to conquer some of the challenges encountered on any given day. Directors will be able to take these practical ideas immediately back to camp and share with counselors and program staff to create a more successful experience for all campers.

Through this webinar, participants will:

The Power of the Inclusive Camp Experience

“Why can’t I go, too?” He couldn’t say the words, but the look in his eyes conveyed the message clearly as he watched his sister bound from the car to join the other children heading to day camp — swimming towels in hand, calling out to each other as they anticipated a full day of fun and activities.

From the rearview mirror, Diane saw the expression on Mike’s face, and it pierced a mother’s heart. For Mike — a young man with autism — this was another hurtful reminder.

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