Looking for a summer camp or summer activity for your child that fits his or her special needs? Here is a list of some of the local options available to you! You can always contact the organizers and staff of any camp of any kind and discuss whether the activities are appropriate for your child, whether accommodations can be provided, and whether concerns regarding food, toileting, safety and support can be reasonably met – and you should do so, especially if you have non-disabled children who want to attend camp too!
But sometimes you may have a child that needs a little extra support, or who may present challenges that a neurotypical or non-disabled child might not present. So we offer this list of camps and activities that might help you in making decisions that are appropriate for your child as well as stimulating, hopefully cheap, and loads of fun! Don’t see a camp offered here that you know about?? We welcome additions to this list; email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to share your information!
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SUMMER AND YEAR-ROUND THERAPEUTIC CAMPS AND RESPITE CARE
NOTE: Some therapeutic and respite camp registration fees may be tax-deductible as child care. In addition, some camps may qualify as locations for children to receive ESY (Extended School Year) Services. If you have any questions, please contact the camp directly for more information.
ST. MARY’S COUNTY
- Camp Inspire
- Project Inspire
- Camp New Horizons
- Peer Assistant Program
Camp Inspire is for children, teens, and young adults aged 4 – 21 with autism. Project Inspire is a subset, for teens aged 16-21. All campers engage in games and motor activities, use of technology, art therapy, academic assistance, field trips, and much more! Project Inspire campers also work on developing a resume, effective communication skills, interview preparation and work skills, and obtain field practice at participating local businesses.
Camp New Horizons is for children, teens and young adults aged 4 – 21 with various intellectual and developmental disabilities or with medical needs that prevent them from attending general summer camps. Campers enjoy a variety of activities that may include arts and crafts, music, swimming, and exercise, field trips and much more.
The Peer Assistant Program is a voluntary program for children and teens to assist their siblings or friends with disabilities and camp staff in a variety of ways, developing confidence, leadership skills, and a sense of pride in helping others. Peer Assistants can register for either camp, and attendance for Peer Assistants is free.
These full-day camps run four days a week from early July to early August at a designated SMCPS school. Breakfast and lunch is offered. Camp Inspire, Project Inspire, and Camp New Horizons are administered by St. Mary’s County Department of Parks and Recreation, and are all state-approved respite care providers. Campers may receive SMCPS-approved Extended School Year services and/or specialized coordinated services.
For Camp New Horizons, full time nursing staff will be on duty to disburse medication and provide other basic and emergency care, and transportation is available from designated hubs.
See the website for more information. Registration must be done in person or by mail (not online), and payment is required at registration. Scholarships may be available to those who qualify. For more information on these camps including informational videos, who may qualify, a downloadable registration application, and scholarship forms, go to the website for 2019 descriptions and video links at https://www.stmarysmd.com/recreate/trc/index.asp or contact the St. Mary’s Department of Recreation and Parks Camp Administrator: Christina Bishop 301-475-4200 *1802 email@example.com
- Year-Round and Sports Programs and Respite Care
TR Club Parents’ Night Out offers a monthly respite opportunity on a Friday night for parents who need a break and for their children, teens and young adults aged 5-21 with special needs to have fun in a supervised, safe setting. Each month offers a different theme and a pizza party! Participants must be able to provide self care independently and be able to function in a large group with a instructor child ratio of 1:3. All staff are specialized in working with different abilities. Registration includes pizza and a drink for each child; parents are welcomed to bring food substitutes for allergies. The County also offers School Aged Centers and Teen After School programs during the school year.
A wide variety of sports programs are suitable for children and teens with special needs including the popular Jumpbunch program and beginning sports classes; contact SMCR&P if you have questions about the suitability or adaptability of a particular class or program. For more information on all camp, sports, swim and general and therapeutic activity offerings this summer and year-round, see http://www.stmarysmd.com/docs/currentprogramguide.pdf or the links at their website https://www.stmarysmd.com/recreate/recreation/
- The Autism Project
The Autism Project runs summer camps for children, teens and young adults with autism as part of their year-round services to individuals and families. Their website is http://www.theautismproject.info/ For 2019 they are offering single- or multi-week summer day camps for children through age 21, a 2-day-a-week travel (field trip) camp for Grades 6-12 and young adults, and summer and aquatic therapy; for more info go to http://www.theautismprojectmd.com/services/entry/summer-programs
- TR Tot Camp
- Camp Calvert
- TR Adventure Camp and Varsity Crew
- TR Aquatic Camp
- TR Nature Camp
- End of Summer Inclusion Camp
- Peer Mentor Program
Calvert County Parks and Recreation offers a variety of summer therapeutic and recreational camps. TR Tot Camp is designed for children aged 3-5 with various disabilities to attend a weeklong half-day summer camp. Traditional games, crafts, sports and fitness and field trips are offered. Children with diapers or pull ups are accepted.
Camp Calvert is a summer day camp for children aged 5-21 with disabilities who participate in the same beneficial and fun programs found in a traditional summer camp. This full-week camp runs from late June to late July. Personal care is available for medications, g-tubes, and personal hygiene.
TR Adventure Camp is for individuals aged 13-21 that despite having disabilities are high-functioning yet experience difficulties in social interactions and emotional control. This twice-a-week day camp runs for four weeks, and stresses appropriate peer interactions and community integration through daily field trips throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Some outings are adventure-based and include rock climbing, kayaking, ropes courses and much more. Personal care is not provided. TR Adventure Campers have the option to attend camp for five days a week as Varsity Crew on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
The TR Aquatic Camp at the Hall Aquatic Center entertains individuals ages 8-16 with special needs for a week in July with aquatic activities including group swim lessons, crafts, water safety activities, aquatic exercise and open swim.
The TR Nature Camp provides special-needs nature lovers aged 8-16 an opportunity in August to visit various Nature Parks in Calvert County. Fun includes group activities, nature education lessons, crafts, and water activities.
The End of Summer Inclusion Camp in mid-August is a collaboration between Central Division and Therapeutic Services, aimed toward students ages 6-13 years of age with special needs who want a typical summer camp experience before school starts back while also incorporating activities geared toward those with special needs. You must register in person at Calvert’s main office or any community center. Those with special needs who require accommodations will need to call Therapeutic Services at 410-535-1600 x8204 or 8205. Must be able to participate with minimal assistance.
Peer mentors are also welcome! Outstanding individuals ages 8-18 who would like to advance their skills in working with special children and mentoring youth can volunteer for up to 4 weeks of camp. An application, training session and commitment to volunteer are required.
A list of camp offerings for 2019 is at http://www.co.cal.md.us/DocumentCenter/View/22794
Registration forms for TR campers of all ages and peer mentors can be found at http://www.co.cal.md.us/index.aspx?NID=489
To see all camp offerings for Calvert County Parks and Recreation, please visit their website at http://www.co.cal.md.us/index.aspx?NID=486
- Year-Round and Sports, Social and Life Skills/Career Programs and Respite Care
Calvert County offers several recreational and sports classes specifically for children with special needs; recent offerings include foundational sports classes for ages 2-7 covering running, jumping, catching, throwing, and kicking and the basic and social skills necessary to play team sports, and classes in tennis and lacrosse for school-aged children and adults. In addition, social and educational programs for children include TR Tots Story Program and Friday Fun Day Play Days.
Calvert County also offers a variety of daytime and evening social skills, recreational, life skills and career development and exploration on a regular basis for adults with disabilities aged 18 and over. Check the current listings for all of their therapeutic, sports and enrichment programs at their registration site https://webtrac.co.cal.md.us/wbwsc/webtrac.wsc/splash.html You can read a PDF copy of the current program guide by clicking on the link for “P & R Program.”
For more information on therapeutic services go to http://www.co.cal.md.us/index.aspx?NID=487
- Camp Co-Op
This summer day camp, offered by Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism, is intended for Charles County Public School students with special needs whom have significant cognitive delays. Activities include sports, swimming, arts and crafts, games, life skills, and special field trips. Enrollment is limited to 40 campers per session, enrollment is first-come, first serve, and 10 inclusion children will be accepted per session as well. Transportation is available from designated pick-up areas based on need. Payment is due at the time of registration. For more information on all of their summer camps, or to obtain a registration packet for Camp Co-op, visit their website at http://www.charlescountyparks.com/recreation/summer-camps and click on “Special Needs Camps.”
- Camp Accomplish at Melwood Recreation Center
Camp Accomplish is an exciting and inclusive camp for children aged 5-18 of all abilities. Activities include swimming, wall climbing, obstacle courses, canoeing, archery, arts and crafts, talent shows, campfires and more! Both day and overnight options are available. The level of personal support can vary based on a camper’s individual needs. Meals are provided, transportation from certain locations is available, and extended day care can be arranged as well.
In addition, teens aged 13-18 may participate in an introductory work experience that leads to becoming junior counselors and camp staff in the Teen Program. This overnight weeklong camp offers the opportunity for teens of all ability levels to develop independence, work experience, and personal relationships. For more information, call 301-870-3226 or email RecreationCenter@melwood.org or see https://www.melwood.org/recreation-programs/camp
Melwood also offers a variety of specialty camps to address specific challenges or to offer special opportunities for adventure, including Aquatics, Equestrian and Cooking Clubs as well as Adventure and Equestrian Camps offer exciting opportunities for campers who are ready for greater challenges. In addition, Melwood offers programs for transitioning youth See the links at https://www.melwood.org/recreation-programs/camp and at https://www.melwood.org/recreation-programs/specialty-camps for more information.
Melwood offers a variety of additional programs throughout the year for children and adults, including a therapeutic equestrian program and riding lessons, horticulture program, and their Access Adventure program for adults aged 18 and up. Access Adventures continue all summer long; check this link for the list of trips. https://www.melwood.org/recreation-programs/access-adventures
In addition, the Melwood Horticultural Training Center has been training individuals with disabilities for over 50 years and offers a variety of services for job placement and career planning. The Recreation Center and Retreat Center offer programs year-round, including travel, retreats, leadership and team building activities. For more information about all of its programs, go to their website at https://www.melwood.org/ or see them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MelwoodNews
- Lions Camp Merrick
Lions Camp Merrick is a camp for children who want to feel special, not feel like a child with special needs! This camp, located in Nanjemoy, MD, accepts children who are deaf or hard of hearing, or who have deaf parents, or are visually impaired, along with their siblings and friends.
A sister camp at the same location, Camp Glyndon, accepts children who have Type 1 diabetes (supported by the American Diabetes Association) and their siblings, and a Family Diabetic Camp and camp scholarships are also available.
Lions Camp Merrick encourages campers to laugh, learn, and live together as they enjoy the pleasures of summertime friendship and fun. Traditional camp activities are offered at this sleep-away camp. Children with additional disabilities are welcome, however, all campers must be independent in activities of daily living.
- Charles County Department of Parks & Recreation
Charles County offers a spectrum of sports, social, educational and enrichment offerings including programs geared toward individuals with special needs. Recent offerings include unified sports kickball and dance for kids and teens, Smart Start Sports for young children to learn foundational skills, beginning martial arts, story time, and Tot Olympics. School year offerings include Beyond the Bell, an afterschool program for middle school students. For current programs and the latest program guide, go to https://www.charlescountyparks.com/
ADDITIONAL THERAPEUTIC CAMPS
- Elks Camp Barrett
The Elks Association of Maryland, Delaware, and District of Columbia offers a great camping experience for children with special needs several times each summer near Annapolis, MD. This exciting facility offers all the usual camp offerings as well as archery, shooting and a zip line, and of course, swimming. Various camps are available for kids aged 9-13, including a special camp for children with asthma. See the 2019 brochure at http://www.elkscampbarrett.org/uploads/7/3/3/0/73303681/2019_summer__camp_brochure.pdf
Camp Barrett is also the host for a special weeklong overnight camp for children dealing with pediatric cancers. Sponsored by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, it meets in late July and is open to pediatric oncology patients and survivors.. For more information go to https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/kimmel_cancer_center/centers/pediatric_oncology/camp_sunrise/campsunrise/index.html
ST. MARY’S COUNTY
- St. Mary’s County Recreation and Parks
See the website for general information about parks, facilities and programs at http://www.stmarysmd.com/recreate/
For more information on all of SMCR&P camp, sports, and general and therapeutic activity offerings this summer, see http://www.stmarysmd.com/docs/currentprogramguide.pdf
- Camp Greenwell – Summer Day Camps for Children
Camp Greenwell offers a wide variety of week-long inclusive and accessible day camps for children from 4 to 14 years old. Summer day camps may include Horse Camp, Nature Explorers, Nature Adventurers, Fishing Camp, and River Scouts (kayak and fishing). Each camp is intended to be fun, adventurous, and an opportunity to make new friends and experience new things. Though the camps are for everyone, children with disabilities are welcome to attend.
Each full-day camp is one week in length, running from Monday to Friday. Camping season runs from mid-June to late August. For 2019, a half-day camp is also available for children aged 4-6, and it runs in two sessions in mid and late July (children must be potty trained).
All camps and programs take place at Greenwell State Park, Hollywood, MD 20636, and are administered by the Greenwell Foundation. Extended care is also available.
Positions for Camp Buddies may also be available. Camp Buddies are teenagers who are interested in helping senior counselors run the camp, serve as role models, and provide extra support.
Summer camp discounts and scholarships may be available. For more information on all of Camp Greenwell’s offerings, including year-round outdoor, water, equestrian, and therapeutic programs, spring break camps, weekend teen camps, and more programs for all ages and abilities, go to the website http://greenwellfoundation.org/ or call 301-373-9775.
- Calvert County Parks and Recreation
Calvert County offers a variety of summer camps and activities all year round. Their website is http://www.co.cal.md.us/index.aspx?nid=115 Click on the link in the left sidebar for Summer Camps to see this year’s offerings.
- Charles County Parks and Recreation
Charles County offers opportunities all summer long at a variety of locations throughout the county, including swimming at several school and community pools. Budding artists, ninja warriors, kayakers, thespians, sports nuts, scientists and builders, chefs, and others can get their thing going at a variety of themed camps for ages 4-14. Summer day camps are also available. See all the listings for 2019 at this link: https://www.charlescountyparks.com/recreation/summer-camps
ST. MARY’S COUNTY
- St. Mary’s County Recreation and Parks
Adaptive Aquatics is a diversified and systematic recreational program of carefully structured aquatics experiences and instruction designed to meet the unique needs of those students who qualify for the program. Programming is sequential and developmentally appropriate in nature, taking each student’s disabling condition(s), present levels of functioning, and needs into consideration. The Great Mills Swimming Pool is a year-round pool that offers a water temperature maintained at a minimum of 82 degrees, six 25-meter lanes and a recreational area, several water entries including zero-depth, and a pool chair for easy access.
The adaptive aquatics programs are designed to include all ability levels, incorporating the Therapeutic and Educational models. In addition, traditional swimming lessons are offered for children and adults, and skills enhancement and water fitness are routinely offered. St. Mary’s County also offers a paralympic sport program including aquatics for youth and adults.
- Calvert County Department of Parks and Recreation
The Calvert Adaptive Swim Lesson Program is designed to provide a safe, enjoyable aquatic experience for children, teens and adults with various special needs. Programs offered include swim conditioning, tiny tot swim, and therapeutic water stretching and exercise. Red Cross swim lessons for groups and individuals are also offered to build swimmers’ strengths while working toward learning strokes such as the front and back crawl, elementary backstroke, breaststroke, and sidestroke. Water safety, good swimming habits and safe practices in and around the water will be stressed to all participants. Swim evaluation MUST be completed for correct group assignment. Please contact us if interested!
Lessons take place at the Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center in Prince Frederick, an indoor year-round facility with 50-meter lap lanes and diving boards, childrens’ and leisure pool with slides, a heated therapy pool, and hot tub. Outdoor swimming pools are also open during the summer at Cove Point Park in Lusby and at Kings Landing Park in Huntington. Red Cross swim lessons, water safety, lifeguard training and other offerings are available for all ages.
For information on therapeutic program services go to http://www.co.cal.md.us/index.aspx?NID=487 or contact Joy Weir, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, at 410-535-1600 * 8204. For more information about all swimming programs go to http://www.co.cal.md.us/index.aspx?NID=395
- Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism
Charles County offers three year-round indoor pools at Lackey HS, North Point HS and Donald M. Wade Aquatic Center at St Charles HS. Outdoor pools are open during summer at La Plata HS, McDonough HS, and Thomas Stone HS. All pools are open to the public for recreatIonal swimming with daily admission, punch cards, or memberships available.
Though a therapeutic program is not offered per se, numerous programs are offered for swim lessons from toddlers to adults, pool rentals, water aerobics, lifeguard training and more. See this year’s offerings at https://www.charlescountyparks.com/recreation/aquatics or call 301-932-3470.
- College of Southern Maryland
CSM offers state-of-the-art pools at the La Plata and Leonardtown campuses. La Plata’s pool is 25-yards in length with a depth ranging from 3′ to 12′ and Leonardtown offers a zero-depth-entry therapy pool and a six-lane 25-yard lap pool. Noncredit and credit classes are offered year-round for swimmers of all ages, as well as for those seeking water safety, lifeguard, and therapeutic reconditioning for physical infirmities or arthritis. For current class listings and information on all of CSM’s wellness, fitness and aquatics programs, go to https://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/non-credit/personal-enrichment/wellness-fitness-and-aquatics/index
EDUCATIONAL CAMPS AND TUTORING PROGRAMS
ST. MARY’S COUNTY
- Magnificent Minds – Educational Camps for Children
Magnificent Minds usually offers half-day summer camps for children from kindergarten to grade 5 which provide your child with the opportunity to work on valuable educational skills as well as have fun and make friends! The camps may target literacy skills as well as math fact fluency and number sense through use of multi-sensory hands-on activities.
Each half-day camp usually runs from late June to late July on alternate days. All activities take place at Magnificent Minds, 22325 Greenview Parkway Unit 1B, Great Mills, MD 20634.
Magnificent Minds is also a full-service tutoring center for grades K-12 in reading, written language, handwriting, math, and dyslexia services. We utilize brain-based learning strategies, appropriate technology, and one-on-one or small group sessions. Dyslexia services are offered using the Barton Reading and Spelling System. Educational evaluations and parent training sessions are also available.
- Mathnasium of California and Dunkirk
Mathnasium often offers summer camp activities for children from 2nd-12th grade who struggle with math or who love math and want enrichment activities, in addition to year-round tutoring for math support for both the struggling student and the advanced student. Summer camp options include the use of mathematics in topics such as STEM, sports, and money. Summer camps usually run for a week each from June to August, and are typically repeated in both locations.
Additional math support and math challenges are offered year-round through math nights, game nights, and STEM enrichment activities; see their websites for current offerings.
All activities in St. Mary’s County take place at Mathnasium, 46320 Lexington Village Way Suite 100, Lexington Park, MD 20653. Contact Lisa Howell, Center Director, at 301-264-8964 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or go to http://www.mathnasium.com/californiamd
All Calvert County activities are at Mathnasium, 10735 Town Center Boulevard Suite 7, Dunkirk, MD 20754. Call Matt Cleary, Center Director, at 410-219-0527 or email@example.com to find out more; their website is http://www.mathnasium.com/dunkirk
OTHER CAMPS AND PROGRAMS TO CONSIDER
ST. MARY’S COUNTY
- Paralympic Sport-Southern Maryland
This community-based sports club, offered through St. Mary’s County Department of Recreation and Parks, was developed to involve youth and adults with physical and visual disabilities in ongoing sports and physical activity, regardless of skill level. All programs and activities are based in Southern Maryland.
US Paralympics is dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals with physical and visual disabilities to be physically active in their own communities, enhancing self-esteem and peer relationships, leading to greater achievement, better overall health and higher quality of life. The program is open also to military personnel who have sustained injury. Programs offered include adaptive aquatics, bocce, track and field, shooting and more. Disability groups served include Amputee/Limb Deficiency, Cerebral Palsy/Brain Injury (Hypertonia, Ataxia, Athetosis, RoM), Short Stature (Growth Dysfunction), Spinal Cord Injury/Spina Bifida (Impaired Muscle Power) and Visual Impairment. Other clubs serving a large variety of sports exist throughout Maryland and nationwide.
For more information on participation, volunteering or sponsorship, contact Christina Bishop, 301-475-4200 *1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the US Paralympics website at https://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics
- Barstow Acres Children’s Center – Therapeutic Summer Day Camp for Children with Socio-Emotional Problems
This summer camp is geared toward children aged 5-13 with socio-emotional problems. Campers will work on establishing behavioral goals, social skills, managing anger and developing coping mechanisms while enjoying fun summer activities!
This full-day camp runs from mid-June to mid-July on Mondays through Fridays at the Barstow Acres Counseling Center, 590 Main Street, Prince Frederick, MD 20678. Barstow Acres also offers several mentoring and social skills groups during the school year as well as mini-camps during school breaks, parent training in social development and anger management, and even Spanish classes.
TRI-COUNTY AND OUTSIDE SOUTHERN MARYLAND
- Kids and Teens College, College of Southern Maryland
This perennial favorite has provided enrichment activities, sports skills, and social opportunities to thousands of children and teens aged 6-17 throughout Southern Maryland. Individuals with disabilities are welcome to participate; they must be potty trained. Offerings include arts, music, science, technology, dance and theatre, cooking, writing, photography, LEGOs, gaming, and dozens of options; older students can also access academic support and enrichment and SAT/ACT test prep, career exploration, cybersecurity and more.
Camps run for one week for half-days; a snack break is included (you provide snacks or money, full-day campers need lunch). Each camp is run by campus faculty and staff or camp professionals and is assisted by high school and college student camp counselors. Individuals with disabilities who require special accommodations should notify the ADA Coordinator on your campus ideally at least a month before the class begins. For more information see the links at: https://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/non-credit/youth-family-programs/kids-and-teen-college/
- Special Olympics
Special Olympics is offered to school-age children and adults with disabilities throughout Maryland. All kinds of sports are offered, including track and field, swimming, soccer, cycling, bowling, bocce, basketball and more. Sports are offered in every season year-round; check the information and schedules for your county by going to these links, or contact your school’s physical education coordinator to learn more. Participating individuals are required to submit a medical information application which remains valid for three years. Families and individual teens and adults are encouraged to support Special Olympics and volunteer. The highlight of school participants is the Spring Games, offered in April at a local high school in each county.
For Charles County go to https://www.charlescountymd.gov/cs/recreation/special-olympics-charles-county
For Calvert County go to https://www.somdcalvert.org/
For St. Mary’s County go to https://sites.google.com/view/somd-smc/home
- Brendan Sailing
The Brendan Corporation is committed to providing a foundation for success and building pathways for self-confidence and personal growth in children with learning differences through individually tailored experiential instruction in sailing. Brendan Sailing continues to expand, now offering after-school sailing programs in Washington DC and summer sailing programs in Annapolis and St. Mary’s City for students age 11 and up. Instruction is individually tailored and no prior sailing knowledge is necessary. Paddle sports and power boating concepts are also offered at the St. Mary’s College camp, and students may attend for the day or overnight. For more information, go to https://www.brendansailing.org/
- Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating
Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) is dedicated to making the thrill of sailing a reality for physically and developmentally disabled kids, teens and adults. A sailing camp is offered to at-risk youth in Anne Arundel County, and groups and organizations can sign up for directed sailing clinics. Monthly family sails are available out of Sandy Point State Park. For more information go to https://crabsailing.org/
Note: This list is still in development!!!! Got a camp you want to list here? Contact us!