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A Parents Guide to the Leading Overnight Special Needs Camps in the Northeast of the United States

Author:

Camp Akeela, Camp Lee Mar, Camp Merry Heart, Round Lake Camp, Camp Ramapo, and Summit Camp & Travel are the Leading Special Needs Camps in the Northeast

The overnight special needs camps listed below are spefically tailored for children and adolescents with intellectual, verbal (particularly, spoken language impairments and speech disfluency — also known as stuttering), and/or nonverbal learning disabilities (including attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), mood disorders, physical discoordination, and Tourette’s syndrome), as well as other social, emotional, and developmental disabilities.


Camp Akeela

1 Thoreau Way

Thetford Center, Vermont 05075

(866) 680-4744

Established: 2009

Founder/Camp Director/Owner: Eric & Debbie Sassin

Disabilities Served: Mild Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Activities: Animal Farm & Garden, Archery, Arts & Crafts, Baseball, Basketball, Beyond Akeela Program, Campcraft and Orienteering, Canoeing, Ceramics, Cooking, Dance, Drama, Family Camp Program, Fencing, Football, Frisbee Golf, Golf, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Kayak, Martial Arts, Music, Nature & Science, Paddle Boarding, Paddleboat, Residential Summer Camp Program, Rocketry, Ropes Course, Sailboating, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Woodworking

Camp Lee Mar

450 Route 590

Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania 18435

(215) 658-1710

Established: 1953

Founder: Lee Morrone

Camp Director/Owner: Ari Segal

Admissions: Lynsey Trohoske

Disabilities Served: Severe ASD, Angelman's Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Intellectual Disability, Physical Discoordination, Rett's Syndrome, Speech Sound Disorders, Spoken Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, William's Syndrome

Activities: Academics, Arts & Crafts, Baseball, Basketball, Camp Adventures, Daily Living Skills, Drama, Fishing, Football, Gardening, Hiking, Hockey, Kickball, Music and Movement, Occupational Therapy, Paddleboat, Photography, Physical Therapy, Science & Nature, Speech Therapy, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Therapeutic Horseback Riding, Vocational and Academic Job Training, Ziplining

Easterseals: Camp Merry Heart

21 O'Brien Road

Hackettstown, New Jersey 07840

(908) 852-3896

Established: 1954

Camp Director: Bob Zirkle

Disabilities Served: ADHD, ASD, Cerebral Palsy, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Fragile X Syndrome, Hearing Impairment, Immobility, Intellectual Disability, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Physical Discoordination, Rett's Syndrome, Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), Speech Disfluency, Speech Sound Disorders, Spoken Language Impairment, Tic Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Visual Impairment, William's Syndrome

Activities: Arts & Craft, Baseball, Basketball, Biking, Boating, Campcraft, Canoeing, Dance, Drama, Fishing, Gardening, Games, Hiking, Karaoke, Low & High Ropes, Rock Climbing, Soccer, Softball, Splash Pad, Swimming, Talent Show, Volleyball, Wildlife Ecology

About: Easterseals has a collection of one of the two largest special needs camp agencies in the country and has a very strict counselor criteria of licensed professionals.

NJ 'Y' Camps: Round Lake Camp

570 Sawkill Road

Milford, Pennsylvania 18337

(570) 296-8596 x145

Established: 1981

Founder: Eugene Bell

Camp Director: Aryn Barer

NJ 'Y' Camps Executive Director/Owner: Michael Schlank

Disabilities Served: ADHD, ASD, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Intellectual Disability, ODD, SAD, Speech Disfluency, Speech Sound Disorders, Spoken Language Impairment, Tic Disorders

Activities: Arts & Crafts, Bar Mitzvah Tutoring, Baseball, Basketball, Candle Making, Canteen, Canoeing, Cartooning, Ceramics, Computers, Cooking, Dance, Drama, Filmmaking, Fencing, Fishing, Flag Football, Gymnastics, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Hockey, Kayak, Iceberg, Lacrosse, Low & High Ropes, Mountain Biking, Nature Center, Newcomb, Paddle Boarding, Pioneering, Photography, Playground, Rave Trampoline, Robotics, Sailboating, Science, Scuba Diving, Shabbat Services, Skateboarding, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Waterslide, Weight Training, Windsurfing, Woodworking

Ramapo for Children: Camp Ramapo

P.O. Box 266

22 Camp Ramapo Road

Rhinebeck, New York 12572

(845) 876-8403

Established: 1922

Camp Director Emeritus: Mike Kunin

Camp Director: Matthew McKnight

Chief Executive Officer/Owner: Adam Weiss

Registrar: Kayla McNamara

Diagnosis Served: ADHD, ASD, Angelman's Syndrome, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Fragile X Syndrome, Intellectual Disability, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, ODD, PTSD, Physical Discoordination, Rett’s Syndrome, SAD, Speech Disfluency, Speech Sound Disorders, Spoken Language Impairment, TBI, Tic Disorders, William's Syndrome

Activities: Animal Farm, Arts & Crafts, Boating, Baseball, Basketball, Campcraft, Chess, Canoeing, Ceramics, Community Outreach and Training Programs, Cooking, Day Camp Program, Football, Goldstein Reading and Technology Center, Health & Fitness, Iceberg, Kayaking, Low & High Ropes, Music, Nature, Paddleboating, Playground, Residential Summer Camp Program, Rowboating, Sailboating, Soccer, Staff Assistant Experience Program, Teen Leadership Program, Swimming, Volleyball, Woodworking

About: Ramapo for Children is a year-round organization renowned for training potential special education teachers, behavior analysts, psychologists, and social workers in the field. They use excellent positive behavior support strategies with their campers. It’s located on an exceptionally beautiful campus in Rhinebeck, New York.

Summit Camp & Travel

168 Duck Harbor Road

Honesdale, Pennsylvania 18431

(570) 253-4381

Established: 1969

Founder: Mayer & Ninette Stiskin

Senior Director Emeritus: Eugene Bell

Camp Director/Owner: Shepherd Baum

Admissions: Maryann Santoro

Diagnosis Served: ADHD, ASD, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, FAS, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, ODD, PTSD, SAD, Speech Disfluency, Speech Sound Disorders, Spoken Language Impairment, TBI, Tic Disorders

Activities: Animal Farm, Athletic Instruction, Archery, Arts & Crafts, Banana Boat, Bar Mitzvah Tutoring, Baseball, Basketball, Campcraft, Canoeing, Canteen, Center Program, Ceramics, Computers, Cooking, Dance, Drama, Discovery, Filmmaking, Football, GAGA, Go-Karts, Health & Fitness, Hockey, Kayaking, Kickball, Lake Slide, Low & High Ropes, Martial Arts, Mountain Biking, Music, Paddleboating, Performing Arts, Residential Summer Camp Program, Rowboating, Sailboating, Soccer, Social Skills Instruction, Softball, Swimming Pool, Teen Travel Program, Tennis, Track & Field, Trampoline, Trust Games, Weekender Social Trips Program, Woodworking, Yoga

Teen Travel Destinations: Austria, Bali in Indonesia, Barbadoes, Belgium, Canada, Cancun in Mexico, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Scotland, The Bahamas, United Kingdom, and United States (Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, New England, Niagra Falls in New York)

About: Summit Camp & Travel is among the two largest special needs camps in the United States. Located in Rileyville, Wayne County, Pennsylvania, they (akin to the Easterseals residential summer camps) have an unparalleled counselor criteria and requires recommendation letters, as well as an extensive background working with this population of children. Campers also earn bunk stars for being safe, respectful, and participating in each activity. The organization "developed programs and curriculum that have been modeled by other programs in helping [this population] find success in a recreational environment" [1], and is regarded by the American Camp Association for its professional staff, as well as for being an "experientially positive oasis for [the] campers and a meaningful respite for their families" [2].

Works Cited

  1. "History of Summit Camp." Summit Camp & Travel, https://summitcamp.com/history/
  2. "Summit Camp - Summit Camp & Travel." ACA, American Camp Association, http://find.acacamps.org/program_profile.php?program_id=85

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