Our mission is to ensure 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 are able to 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 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).
Campers will traverse and 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, but 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, 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. keep their hands to themselves. This is for their own safety and the safety of others at camp. Our staff want 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 have issues of elopement 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. 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. A child 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, 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.
American Camp Association
Just because our camp may not be a good fit this summer, there are lots of camps to choose from out there. As an ACA Accredited camp, we have relationships with ACA Accredited Camps that may be a better fit for your child. There are listings on the ACA website www.acasocal.org or call our office and we will help you find a camp that may meet your child’s needs better.
BRINGING YOUR OWN PROFESSIONAL AIDE SUPPORT:
For some campers they may need full time professional aide support (if they have an aide at school, it is possible they will need one for camp as well).
Some parents wish to provide an Aide/ABA Therapist for their child. This requires some advance paperwork from the agency and parent. Please contact our office for details about providing your own aide support.
Reservations for 2020 Teen Buddies
For some children with special needs, they may need just a little extra support in the start of camp. Our CILT (Camper In Leadership Training) program could be an option; we have a Teen Buddy program for such situations to help initiate a smooth transition to independence at camp. Campers who need the Teen Buddy, must attend camp for ten days (M-F) for the two weeks in order to qualify for the Teen Buddy help.
This is a temporary two–week option that some campers with special needs could benefit from. The program would consist of a volunteer high school CILT (Camper In Leadership Training)that would participate in and sometimes facilitate activities with your child. Please keep in mind that these TEENS are not ABA therapists and have very little special needs training. They are only there a short time to provide support for the transition into camp life. Some campers are fine with a little redirection from a counselor and some may need a little short term one on one help in order to participate.
Teen Buddies will Change: They rotate each week and sometimes daily (depending on the circumstances). We cannot make guarantees that a child will get a favorite Teen Buddy, nor can we guarantee the gender the Teen Buddy will be. When working with CILTS/Teen Buddies it is a fluid situation and we will do our best to give your child the opportunity to participate.
Hours for The Teen Buddies: Teen Buddies are generally at camp at 9:30 each morning and will head home at 3:30 p.m. Note that if your child requires the service of a Teen Buddy, that support is not available prior to 9:30 a.m. or after 3:30 p.m. Parents will need to make arrangements for pick up and drop off accordingly. There are no Teen Buddies available for extended hours. There are no Teen Buddies the last 2 weeks of camp as most have returned to high school by that time. There is no charge for a Teen Buddy.
THE FIRST WEEK WITH A TEEN BUDDY:
At the end of the child’s first week of camp, parents will meet with a director to determine if Camp James is a good fit for the camper. Ideally the parents will be in touch with their child’s counselor to hear how camp is going for their child prior to Friday. After this meeting has been completed, the parents have 24 hours to decide if the camp is still a good fit for their child’s needs. Should all parties decide to move forward, the child will continue with a Teen Buddy for the second week. After the 2nd week, the child will continue independently for the remainder of their time at camp. If it is apparent that the camper no longer needs the Teen Buddy parents will be notified. If the child is unable to attend camp without a one on one support in place, it will be discussed with the director as to options for parents. Your child’s safety is important to us.
THE SECOND WEEK:
If it is determined by the Camp Director that further one on one support is needed beyond the first two weeks, parents seeking more permanent or professional aide support will be provided agency referrals (to possibly acquire one on one aide support). We cannot provide these services to you ourselves. These agencies can be funded sometimes via insurance, Regional Center, school district funds, or out of pocket. We will then work in tandem with the licensed professional agency to help the camper succeed at camp. If the parents deem that Camp James is not a good fit for their child, a full refund of the remaining days at camp will be issued. We are happy to provide information about other ACA Accredited camps that may be better suited for your family’s needs. We strongly believe that summer camps offer wonderful opportunities for growth for children.
HOW TO SET UP A TEEN BUDDY FOR YOUR CHILD
During the registration process you will be asked if you would like a Teen Buddy. You must register prior to June 1st in order to request a Teen Buddy. A mandatory 20 minute Teen Buddy Orientation is required to help determine whether the Temporary Volunteer Teen Buddy is an appropriate accommodation to help support the child’s participation for the first two weeks the child attends camp.
Teen Buddy Orientation dates and times:
Here are the dates and times of the Teen Buddy Orientation:
- The first 15 minutes of each Open House: March 22nd at 11 am, April 25th at 10 am, & May 17th at 11 am
This meeting is required for all new parents at camp (who wish to have a Teen Buddy for their Child). Returning families that had a Buddy last summer need not attend.
The Teen Buddy Program is temporary, based on availability and not available for the following dates ( August 10-21).
In order to qualify for a teen buddy you must register for camp before June 1st. If you register after June 1st, for planning purposes we will unfortunately not provide a Teen Buddy for your child this summer. Registering early is key to getting your spot and making the arrangements for the Teen Buddy.
If you have any questions about our program, call or email us. Plan to come to an open house. It is a vital step towards finding out if Camp James is a good fit for your child’s needs.
We are happy to talk to parents. (949)729-1098