New camp for teens with special needs

Campers will be taught how to have more independence in their everyday lives

A new day camp aims to help teens with autism, Asperger’s, developmental delays and other special needs develop social skills and make friends. Living in my Community, a new day camp option for kids aged 12 and up at the Trails of Summer camp, is a program designed specifically for teens to help them gain independence and navigate everyday challenges.

In a typical week, teens will work in small groups of two or three to plan and coordinate their own outings or activities. For example, if their group decides to go eat at a restaurant, they will work together to choose the venue, make a reservation, save up money for the outing and order their own meals, with the help of staff.

Lynne Pronman, who founded Trails of Summer 10 years ago, tested the approach last summer and found it to be a success. She says that there’s a need in Montreal for a program like Living in my Community.

“As we started to grow, the kids grew up and we started to notice that they weren’t getting support in social skills and daily living skills during the summer,” she says.

Teens will also take part in other activities, such as photography, field trips, swimming three times a week, and more. Workshops will focus on how to make a light meal and pack a lunch, and they will  create a scrapbook of their activities.

Potential campers are assessed individually before the summer session begins to ensure they have the right support during camp.

The camp will be held in the West Island in two different sessions, from June 29 to July 24, and July 27 to August 21. Campers can come to one or both of the sessions.

For more information, visit trailsofsummer.com.