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Youth Programs and Summer Camps for Kids

child climbing rock wallFinding the Right Camp

Decide early in the process what type of program you want for your child. Camp should be fun, relaxing, and healthy. Camp should offer positive and rewarding experiences that foster independence and self-esteem. Some camps are for military children. Some camps are free. Some camps offer scholarships. Some camps are specifically for children with special needs.

Finding a Camp for Kids with Special Needs. Trying to figure out which camp is best? Whatever the special need, there's likely a camp out there to suit your child.

Tips for Finding a Summer Camp for Your LD Child. How do you find a camp that will best nurture your child? Ann Cathcart, founder of The Learning Camp and the mother of a child with a learning disability, suggests that you take the time to talk with the camp director at length, ask for references, and talk to other parents who have sent their children there.

Discover Camp - What Questions to Ask. Discover Camp is a resource for parents of children with disabilities selecting a camp for their child for the first time.

Gearing up for Camp: A Primer for Parents of Children with Disabilities.

The Special Needs Camp Guide from the Military Special Needs Network. Where to Go, What to Bring, What you Need to Know Now! Considering Camp as an ESY Accommodation? Comprehensive Camp Directory Featuring Camps in All 50 States.

Sending a 2e kiddo to Camp? Not a comprehensive list nor camps we endorse. Just to get you started on your search for camps for twice-exceptional kids.

When the Child with Special Needs Goes Off to Summer Camp. Everything changes when a child leaves home and parents must design a whole new system of communicating with and caring for the absent child.

Summer Activities for Kids with Learning Disabilities from the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

Summer Camps for Children with Special Needs from

Stopping the Summer Slide - Summer Reading

Summer reading can bridge the gap over the school holiday when kids can forget up to 30% of what they learned during the school year.

The Fight Against Summer Learning Loss. Kids are returning to school this month, and according to the National Summer Learning Association, about nine out of ten teachers will spend as much as three weeks on review because of summer learning loss.

The Achievement Gap: Summer By the Numbers - National Summer Learning Association (NSLA).

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge: A Magical Summer of Reading.

10 Weeks of summer reading adventures for you and your kid from Reading Rockets.

DoD/Military Summer Reading Program for children, teens and adults.

American Library Association Summer Reading Programs

Summer Won't Addle My Kids' Brains

Summertime and the Learning is Easy. Make reading a priority, and don't forget about writing.

82 Summer Activities for Kids with Special Needs.

10 Fun Summer Activites for Kids with Special Needs

Stop Summer Brain Drain - kid friendly interactive e-learning.

Summer Reading Logs and Planners. It can be tricky for families and kids to stay on top of everything in the summer. A reading log keeps track of each time your child reads or is read to. A summer planner keeps track of your child's assignments and activities. Download copies at

Resources and Directories

Summer Camps for Kids with AD/HD from

NAGC’s listing of summer opportunities for gifted kids.

Camp Dream - GA. Georgia Jaycees in partnership with the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation designed and built Camp Dream to be barrier-free for people of all ages with a wide variety of disabilities and severity levels.

Surfers Healing Campvideo - Day camps nationwide for children with autism where kids and their families experience the joys of surfing. Amazing!

Surf Camp for Kids with Autism. Get the Schedule and signup or volunteer to help or donate scholarships.

NCPAD Directory of Programs, Camp Guides and Resources from the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability, for people with disabilities and health conditions, including camps, therapeutic recreation, and adapted PE programs. Browse the programs by name, state or country, or you can search by a specific zip code and list only the programs closest to you.

ADHD-LD Summer Camp Guide. Learn how specialized camps can benefit your child.

25 Summer Camps for Individuals with Special Needs ... + 19 more.

7 Resources on Finding a Summer Camp for your Child with Special Needs

10 Recreational Programs, Camps, and Schools for Children with ADD / ADHD

National Directory of Day and Residential Camps, Camp Easter Seals.

American Camp Association - Find a Camp.

The Miracle League - Check locations and find a Miracle League near you. Call to find out about Miracle League Fantasy Camps.

SOAR, Inc. is a non-profit wilderness adventure program for AD/HD and LD youth.

Christian Camping International (CCCA) provides valuable resources both for those seeking a Christian camping experience and for those who are leaders at Christian camp/conference ministries.

My Summer includes a listing for Special Needs Camps. includes a directory listing for Special Needs Camps and Military Camps. - summer camp referral program.

Allen's Guide is a summer camps directory where you can follow the link listed to the camp's own website. This directory includes a listing of special needs programs.

Very Special Camps is an online directory by state of camps and programs for people with a wide range of special needs.

Top Summer Camps for Gifted Children from the Gifted Children Guide from VeryWell family. These camps, often sponsored by universities or gifted organizations, offer courses providing in-depth study of a variety of subjects.

Summer Camp Options for Children with Special Needs. Finding a summer program that suits your child's special needs - listings will direct you to programs that cater to children like yours, and help you get your child ready.

YMCA Camp Search. YMCA summer camp, sleep-away camp, overnight camp -- whatever you call it, the YMCA has been doing it for more than 130 years! We have terrific Y camp locations all across the United States.

Camp Kekoka on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, VA Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA.

Bridges4Kids has a comprehensive listing of Summer Camps for MI and across the nation.

Kris Camps - summer camps that focus on therapy for kids with special needs and/or respite for the kids and their families.

Camp T.A.L.K (SC) is an inclusive social skills day camp for children ages 10 and up with a focus on students who have a diagnosis of Asperger's Autism or PDD-NOS. Check out Camp T.A.L.K. Extreme for ages 15 through college age ASD students.

Programs for Military Kids

5 Ways to Keep Summer Camp Affordable from (July 23, 2012)

The Special Needs Camp Guide from the Military Special Needs Network. Where to Go, What to Bring, What you Need to Know Now! Considering Camp as an ESY Accommodation? Comprehensive Camp Directory Featuring Camps in All 50 States.

Operation Purple Summer Camps for Military ChildrenOperation Purple Camps. Thanks to the National Military Family Association, Operation Purple Camp supports military children by offering a free week of camp. These camps help military kids learn coping skills and connect them with other kids going through the same things. The camps are open to all military children of all ranks and services.

Camp Corral is a free one-week camp for military kids aged 8 to 15. Although it is open to all military children, priority is given to children of wounded, disabled or fallen service members. The week is filled with fun outdoor activities like canoeing, swimming, fishing, arts and crafts, ropes course challenge, archery, and horseback riding. The week also encourages campers to create friendships and bond with other kids who share similar family situations.

Air Force Reserve/Air National Guard Teen Leadership Summt. The Air Force Reserve/Air National Guard Teen Leadership Summit is a week-long camp for 14 to18-year-old dependent teens of current or retiree Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard military members. It's a place for teens to focus on leadership development, as well as learn about programs available to Air Force dependents. Airfare, transportation and all meals while at the Summit, camp registration fees, and lodging are paid by the Air Force through a partnership with the University of Georgia/Georgia 4-H.

ASYMCA. The Armed Services YMCA or ASYMCA offers junior enlisted families the chance to participate in family, youth, and teen camps year-round at their 34 branches and affiliates. These camps and other free programs, in partnership with groups like Newman’s Own Foundation, aim to provide support to military families. Camps and other programs vary by location, so check with your local ASYMCA for more details. Branch locations and affiliates.

Semper Fi Fund Kids Camp. Designed to help our nation’s youngest heroes understand and cope with their feelings in a positive, safe environment during a week of ‘growth through adventure.’

American Wanderer Camp for Kids, offers 2-week sessions exploring America’s National Parks in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming for kids ages 11 to 17. Children of active duty, Reserve, National Guard, retired and former service members are all eligible to apply for their scholarship.

Military Teen Adventure Camps. Teen Adventure Camps are for military teens aged 14 to 18, and they take place throughout the country at little to no cost. They include fun outdoor activities whitewater rafting, hiking, rock climbing, winter camping, backpacking, mountain biking.Check out the list of Camps by Date or Camps by Location.

Children’s Association for Maximum Potential (CAMP), Lackland Air Force Base, began when a group of Air Force physicians realized how important a camping experience could be to their pediatric patients with special needs.  Founded in 1979, CAMP was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 1980. Today, children and adults with disabilities and special health care needs (the majority from Texas, from across the U.S., and beyond) attend week-long camping sessions held each summer from May through August.

Easterseals/Southeast Wisconsin: Camp Yellow Ribbon. This Wisconsin camp, hosted by Easter Seals, aims to help ease that burden. Camp Yellow Ribbon is open to all military children! Find out more. Other Easterseals Camps.

Our Military Kids provides grants for sports, fine arts, camps, and tutoring programs.

Department of Defense Summer Camp Experiences. Contact your local Child,Youth and Family Services Office for information on summer camps and programs. Don’t forget about the youth programs offered at your local military installations. Many bases have summer camps for kids, as well as camps throughout the year during times like Spring Break when kids are out of school.

Operation Appreciation: Blue Star Museums, offers active duty service members, including activated Guard and Reserve, and up to five of their immediate Family members free admission to participating museums from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Over 600 museums in 50 states and the District of Columbia are participating in the program.

Summer Planning from MilitaryOneSource*

Military Youth and Teen Programs

Child and Youth Camps Build Family Readiness

Summer Fun and Fitness Fact Sheet

4 Seasons of Fun for Military Families

Healthy, Active Children and Academic Achievement

Keeping Your Child Healthy and Engaged Over the Summer

Choosing a Summer Camp for Your Child with Special Needs

Keep Your Family Learning This Summer

*You must first register and login to before being able to access this premium, free content from Military One Source Online.


Updated 05/30/19

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