Add / Adhd Summer Camps
My experience as a summer camp counselor at a camp for chidren with ADD or ADHD. Stories from some counselors and campers themselves.
With the summer months soon approaching, and school aged children off for the summer, some parents, specially those that work, are wondering what their children will do for the next two and a half months. There are some options that parents can choose from, such as community based summer programs, sending the kids to family members who have the time to be with the children, or maybe even a summer camp. For most families, these options seem appropriate.
But what if you have a child that suffers from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? These two groups of children are in a special needs group and require special monitoring and professional workers to tend to those needs. First let's define what ADD and ADHD are. Is your child inattentive? Impulsive? Hyperactive? Most children display these characteristics from time to time. But some children are unable to concentrate or pay attention most of the time. These children may have a problem called ADD or ADHD. If untreated, a child suffering from either of these disorders is likely to cause disruptions and frustrations both at home and in school. These children run the risk of having poor learning skills, social problems, and poor self-esteem that may continue into adulthood. A diagnosis of ADD or ADHD often leads to therapy and medication. Most schools are equipped to handle such children with special classes and mental health professionals.
But what about during the summer months, when the child is out of school? What can the parents of these children do and still feel comfortable with the care and welfare of their child? Again there are options, along with alternatives to placing the child in an environment that may be too hospital-like or may leave the child feeling cold, emotionally or unwanted. One of these options is a unique summer camp for these children. Most summer camps are sleep away camps, which means the children who attend the camp, actually live there for the duration of the camp stay which may be anywhere between 4-8 weeks. Most camps cater to children without these disorders, but there are some who specialize in caring for, and providing a safe and fun summer for children with ADHD.
I had the pleasure and honor of being a part of one of those camps last summer. It's located near Honesbale, Pennsylvania. It was my first time working with that population of children, and I can say it was an experience that I will never forget. The season for one of these camps is from late June unit mid August. Campers range in age from 8-17 years of age. The camp is located in a rural setting, surrounded on both sides by woods. The closest town is approximately 6 miles away, which makes for a nice and quiet environment. The camp has over a dozen cabins, which hold 12 campers plus 4 staff each. Every cabin is supervised by at least 3 counselors, so at no time is there a child alone in their cabin. Every cabin has its own bathroom, with showers, and adequate space for the camper’s personal property. Parents can drop their children off on opening day, take a tour of the campgrounds, and meet with the counselors for the day.
Activities for the campers are non-stop, with a big emphasis on structured activities. There is a lake located on the camp for boating and swimming and is supervised by certified lifeguards. There are board certified teachers to run the educational programs offered. There is a computer room with over 12 computers, so the campers can surf the Internet or send and receive email from friends and family members. There is a science lab, arts and crafts, drama workshops, cooking classes, a go-kart track and bicycling. Some of the older campers go out once a week on bus trips to the movies, or local malls where they can go shopping. There are planned kayaking trips to outside sites and waterways. Parents can visit their children at the mid-way point of the season (usually in mid July) and spend the day at the camp. The meals at the camp are cooked with emphasis on a low fat diet, and the food is cooked in the camps full service kitchen.
Campers are encouraged to socialize with fellow campers through structured evening activities such as dances, and get togethers. Each counselor treats the campers with respect, and is always around to help with any questions they may have. Parents are encouraged to send email to the children, and speak with the counselors about their child. At the end of each camp season, campers express their thoughts to the staff and from what I have seen each child has a very positive long lasting experience.
To get more information on this particular camp, you can contact Summit Camp. The camp is in Pennsylvania, but the main office is in New York. Their mailing address is 110-45 71st Street Rd. Suite 1-G Forest Hills, NY 11375. You will be provided with literature concerning the camp, and sometimes a video is provided to give you an in-dept overview of what the camp has to offer.