Inclusion & Special needs

Expanding Friendships


Our mission is to ensure an appropriate and positive camp experience for children. We welcome campers with special needs and hope you will give Camp James your consideration. Every year we have numerous special needs campers that can participate successfully at camp. 

Below is some information that may help you in the decision-making process. You are always welcome to call our office to ask questions or discuss options.

Is Camp James a good fit for your child?

Our Staff

Our staff have basic First Aid and CPR training. We do not have on-site medically trained personnel. Children must be able to feed and toilet independently as well as self–monitor/manage their medical needs (diabetes, and other medically related concerns).

Our Site

Campers will traverse an average of 3-6 miles daily. The facility is at the beach, has a lot of sand, and involves going into the Bay. While we have shade available, it can get hot. We recommend that you get your child used to the idea of moving around a lot and going into a body of water that is not a pool. Singing songs is part of our camp culture, it can get loud. Some campers can get sensory overload, and some campers add their voices to the overload and we love that!


Campers are expected and encouraged to participate in all activities when possible (including non-preferred ones) and to follow our safety rules and the directions of our staff. Campers must be able to keep their hands to themselves. This is for their safety and the safety of others at camp. Our staff wishes for all campers to have a positive experience at camp and have the benefits of participating in our program.

If your child has a history of aggressive, defiant, self-injurious behaviors, or has issues of elopement (wandering or running away) this is not a safe situation in our camp’s high adventure 30-acre environment. Children with behaviors that harm the child themselves, other campers, or the staff members may be expelled from camp.

It is expected that campers participate in most activities whenever possible. Sitting out of activities consistently (non-participation) may require a phone call home to discuss whether our camp is a good fit.

Destruction of camp property by a camper will need to be paid for by the parent of the child. If a child needs to be picked up for behavior concerns, a parent/guardian is expected to pick up the child within 30 minutes of the phone call from the directors.

To be a camper at Camp James without professional support a child must be able to feed, dress, and use the bathroom on their own. In addition, children must be able to be in a group setting, transition from one location to another, and follow directions. Campers must be able to participate safely for themselves, their peers, and camp leadership. If your child runs away, will not move during transitions, will not stay with the group, and behaves in a harmful manner (towards self or others) parents will be asked to pick up their camper. Referrals to more appropriate programs and refunds (for unused tuition) will be made in these circumstances. If our camp is not a good fit, we are hoping to help you find a better fit for your child’s needs. We have been in the business for 35 years and know about many established camps in the OC.


For some campers, they may need full-time professional aide support. Camp James does not have medical professionals on staff. If your child has an aide at school, they may likely need one for camp as well to create a successful experience.

Some parents may see the need to provide a trained and certified Aide/ABA Therapist for their child. Parents and siblings are not allowed to provide aide support. Bringing your own professional aide support requires some advance paperwork from the agency and parent. If you provide professional aide support it must be from an agency in which insurance and other requirements need to be met.

Please review this link or contact our office for details about providing your own aide support. 

Teen Buddies

Teen Buddies are for campers who have a special needs diagnosis only. A Teen Buddy, is a high school student in our Camper In Leadership Training Program (CILT) who has no formal/extensive training, but has a big heart, big smile, and wishes to help kids who might need just a little extra support in their first two weeks of camp.

Requesting this free additional support is done on the health form during registration. For new families, please reach out to our office prior to registering so we can discuss your child’s needs and see if this might be a support that will make their time at camp a positive and successful experience


  • Teen Buddy requests are only for campers attending at least 2 weeks.  
  • Teen Buddy support is not available for the last 2 weeks of camp (August dates) due to teens returning to school.
  • Teen Buddy support is from 9:45 am – 3:30 pm only.
  • The Teen Buddy form must be completed prior to May 1st of each summer.
  • After the 2 weeks with a Teen Buddy, campers that the staff/directors feel can safely attend camp without additional support may continue.

American Camp Association

Just because our camp may not be a good fit this summer for your child, there are lots of camps to choose from out there. Being an ACA Accredited camp, we’re plugged into a network of similar camps that might be a better match for your happy camper. Check out or call us so we can help you find a camp that may meet your child’s needs better.