Helping teens with special needs have fun while learning to integrate into their community is the goal of a new day camp starting in June.
Trails of Summer will be welcoming teens at its new camp called Living in My Community, which will help campers improve daily living and socialization skills.
Teens and young adults will take part in activities that will help them learn how to build friendships as well as things like make reservations at a restaurant or do light meal prep. They will also take public transportation, shop at grocery stores and pay for items.
“The kids will learn all the day-to-day things that we take for granted that are a bit more challenging for some and have to be broken down step-by-step,” says Lynne
Pronman, Director of Trails of Summer. “It won’t feel like school; it will be fun.”
Trails of Summer gives youth who don’t fit into mainstream day camps a place to socialize and learn new skills. Pronman says that while kids with special needs might be learning these skills in an academic setting, this camp will allow students to learn in a more relaxed, recreational setting.
“This is such an important part of their lives…in their development, in their growth,” she said. “It is great for their self-esteem; it makes them feel like really worthy, responsible people.”
These teens can gain enough skills to enter the workforce and do light duties, she added. At the end of the program, the participants get a certificate and can add the skills they have learned to their CV.
The camp is geared toward kids 12 and up and will run for four or eight weeks. The teen can participate in either one four-week program, or the entire eight weeks. The dates will be from June 28 to July 23 and July 26 to August 20. The camp will take place Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Assuming the pandemic has stabilized by summer, it will be an in-person camp. If not, Trails of Summer will offer a home-based option: a staff member will go to a family’s home to work with the child.
The staff -to-camper ratio will be 2-1 so all activities and skill development can be adapted to the level of each individual. The cost will depend on the family’s financial situation.