- Who We Are
- What is HIE?
- For Parents
- For Clinicians & Partners
- Get Involved
- HIElights of Hope
Summer camp experiences should be for everyone! There are many different experiences and options for kids to have an overnight or meaningful day camp experience across the range of outcomes and impacts from HIE. Finding the right camp experience can be an overwhelming and stressful process, or something parents might not even know is possible, but it doesn’t have to be! With the help of Franki Bagdade [M.Ed, LLMSW] – a master’s level educator, clinical social worker, founder of FAAB Consulting and Franki Bagdade Therapy, author, and camp-inclusion extraordinaire – parents can confidently navigate the process and find the ultimate summer camp experience for their child.
If you couldn’t make it to our live Q&A, don’t worry: we captured Franki’s main takeaways when searching for your child’s perfect summer camp fit!
According to Franki, one of the first steps in the search for the perfect camp experience is to look into the American Camp Association. As a national accrediting body for camps of all types, the ACA focuses on health, safety, and risk management, making it a great starting point for parents looking for reputable camps. The ACA website allows parents to search for camps based on types, goals, organizational affiliations, disabilities and other special needs, cost, and more! Click on the link below to bring you to the ACA’s advanced search engine:
And, of course, friends and community members are other great resources for parents. Talking to those you know or who are in a shared community allows you to hear honest feedback and insight into what their child did or did not enjoy and the support they feel they received throughout the camp experience.
Every child has different needs and interests; therefore, you and your child should determine the level of choice, flexibility, and ownership he or she should have when choosing and engaging in the camp’s programs and activities. Every camp has different approaches to choice: some camps have pre-scheduled programs for all campers, while others give campers more ownership to choose their schedules. Some camps even combine these two philosophies, depending on their inclusion and support practices.
It is important during the vetting process to ask the camp specific questions about your child’s needs. Here’s Franki’s go-to list of questions she recommends asking:
As Franki says, a summer camp experience does not just impact the camper; parents are involved in this process, too! As a result, here are some questions to consider asking yourself to help you process what your child may need to ensure a happy, fun, and successful camp experience:
Many camps have a hierarchy for communicating campers’ needs – if any of the responses to the above questions spark an issue or concern, it is important to know who to speak with in advance, whether that individual is a camp counselor, director, or supervisor.
Depending on your child’s needs, there are many camps for kids with disabilities and differences – including both day camp and overnight camp options! It may feel overwhelming to consider if you have a child with disabilities how they may do at camp and if their medical needs can be met, but this is possible! Check out the resources at the bottom of this blog to help find a camp near you that meets your child’s needs. You can also contact Hope for HIE’s team or network with other families in HIE’s support groups to find experiences local to you.
She’s called a camp-extraordinaire for a reason! See the helpful tools she offers below to help prepare you and your child for camp:
To watch the full Q&A, visit our YouTube Channel or click on the link below!
Connect with families, read inspiring stories, and get helpful resources delivered right to your inbox.