“Why Is it So Darn Difficult To Find An Affordable And Appropriate Summer Camp?”

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I found out recently that the special needs camp MJ has been attending for the past 2 years, does not have any spaces available this summer!!!! Sniff. Sniff.  I made sure that I sent in the information as early as I could and even informed them ahead of time that I would be dropping off the paperwork.  Still, a few days later I received a phone call where I was told “Um ma’am, your son has 8 other kids ahead of him.  I suggest that you look for other placement for him.”  I wanted to reach through the phone and scratch her eyes out but instead I chose to say “Wow, 8 kids? Well, thank you.  Please let me know if anything changes.”  I immediately went online to search other special needs camps in my area.  “Oh wait let me call that Jewish organization that I always hear about.” “So sorry ma’am we are all full at this time.” “Hmmm let me go online and try the other Jewish organization”.  As I looked up their info I found that it was over “$1,200 per month.  This means that it would cost me over $2,400 for the summer.  Really!?  This was very disheartening.  I took a deep breath and continued to search.  I tried the Dan Marino Center and they were a little better at $185 per week but this was still a lot considering I have a daughter that wants to attend camp as well.  I called the ARC organization, all of the city camps in my surrounding area, private schools, and many more.  The aftercare coordinator at MJ’s school wanted to know if I would give MJ a chance to try summer camp with them.  I never really thought about doing that because I knew that the special needs camps would have additional supervision and smaller class sizes.  I went home and discussed it with my husband.  We decided we would give it a try.  Though I am still nervous about this I understand that for MJ it is crucial that he attend a summer camp for at least a portion of the summer.  He needs the socialization, activities, and the overall experience.  If he stays home, he will most likely retreat to his room and it will be very difficult to get him to do anything without a fight.  MJ has always tried new things with other people as opposed to trying them with us.  There have been many times when MJ would not play basketball with my husband or try an activity with me, but he would do these things with other children or adults.  It has been this way for as long as I can remember.  On the bright side he will be at the same camp as his sister and with the “typical” kids that already know him from the aftercare.  The teachers and director really know him pretty well now and I am just praying that things go well.  We have decided to try it out for one month.

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16 thoughts on ““Why Is it So Darn Difficult To Find An Affordable And Appropriate Summer Camp?”

  1. I can definitely relate to this. I know I need to put my youngest son in some kind of summer program but I am so afraid because I know Jefri and how he acts when he’s not familiar with people. I was told I could use his VPK certificate because he didn’t use it since he’s in a special ese pre k program. My fear is if where ever I try and send him, will they be able to handle him? Will he try and run away? It’s so frustrating but I know I need to make a decision soon because school will be out before I can blink my eyes.

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    1. It’s so difficult but try it out. Even if it’s for 2 or 3 days a week. Call around and see what’s still available. My so had so much fun when he goes. I’m really praying it works out for him this summer. Keep me posted on Jefri.

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  2. Good luck! School to summer transitions are always hard for us. In fact, since this is Arizona’s FIRST YEAR without a summer program attached to her school, we had to find alternate options as well. The “inexpensive” social skills / special needs camps here (Los Angeles) are $550 per week!!! The higher priced ones are $1000. YES, per week. Anyway, wishing you the BEST.

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      1. I know right! I have had therapist try to explain it to me but everyone gives me a different reason. We always try and sometimes we both get so depressed afterwards because he refuses to try and sometimes has a meltdown.

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  3. Have you looked into dude ranches? I don’t know where you’re located, but there are many in this country! Several of them advertise as being “autism friendly.” Also, for spectrum kids, animals are quite often used for therapy. I’m sure your son would love to brush his own horse, feed it, and maybe ride it!

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