As the school year comes to an end and the summer is just within grasp, a lot of children are looking forward to attending summer camp. Summer camp offers the opportunity for children to make and maintain friendships, participate in recreational activities, create lasting memories, and have fun!
Although camps are an excellent place for belonging, some children require their unique needs to be met for them to have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Children with FASD make up a group of children who may miss out on these experience because of these needs. Fortunately, within Canada there are a number of summer camps that have been specifically designed for children with FASD, which aim to create a positive summer camp experience for all.
Adaptabilities Summer Camp
Adaptabilities summer camp in Edmonton is offered to children, youth, and adults with special needs, such as FASD. Adaptabilities strives to bring success to all by implementing the 8 domains of quality of life in their programming including personal development, emotional well-being, material well-being, physical well-being, self-determination, interpersonal relations, social inclusion, and rights.
Registration is now open for summer 2021 with different camp experiences offered for each age group. Their programming takes into consideration pandemic precautions to keep all campers and staff safe. Children from ages 3-12 can participate both at home and in their communities with staff available both on and offline. Through these camp activities, campers can work on expressive arts, life skills, and participate in physical activities.
Teenagers from ages 13-17 and adults aged 18 and older can participate both at home and in person, but due to COVID, the groups will be kept small. Like the previous age group, teens and adults will be able to create and work towards individual goals in addition to expressive arts, life skills, and participating in physical activities.
They are offering a new program opportunity this year called “Play with a Purpose”, which is a movement and play summer camp. This program is open to children ages 3-8 and provides the opportunity for in-person play in small groups with an Occupational Therapist.
Lakeland Summer Camp
Lakeland Center has been offering summer camps to children with FASD since 2006 and provides unforgettable summer camp experiences with other children who may share similar experiences. Located on the southeast shore of the Cold Lake French Bay Provincial Recreation Area in Alberta, campers are provided many opportunities to enjoy the wilderness and have fun! To address the unique needs of children with FASD, Lakeland relies on structured activities that aim to build on social skills and foster an environment of belonging.
Lakeland typically offers 6 weeklong camps throughout the summer but due to COVID, they have changed the layout. They are now offering 2 weeks of day camps for youth ages 14-17 in communities around Lakeland. The remaining 4 weeks of weeklong summer camps will be offered to children and youth ages 7-10 and 11-13 with a maximum of 10 campers per 4 staff.
Whitecrow Village offers 5–7-day L.I.F.E. sessions for children with FASD, parents, and community members to learn, work, and play together. This is not only a summer camp experience for children with FASD, but a service that also aims to provide family programs for family members of children with FASD, opportunities to connect with community members, and fosters a safe environment for learning, growth, and fun to flourish.
Camp Unity at Woodview
Camp Unity is a summer camp offered to children and youth aged 6-18 with symptoms of FASD or who have been diagnosed with FASD. It has been operating for 10 years. The camp aims to improve the holistic well-being of the campers, maintain academic abilities, and provide respite to children, youth, and their families. Operated through the Woodview Mental Health and Autism Services, the camp is available to children and youth in Brantford and Brant County. Due to heightened interest in programming, leadership programs will also be run through the local school from September to June.
Camp Unity registration is currently full. If you are interested, please check them out next year, their registration will open May 1st.
Camp Winston offers summer camps for girls, boys, and teens who have complex neurological disorders to build upon their social and recreational skills. Although not specifically aimed towards campers with FASD, Camp Winston aims to give all campers a traditional camp experience regardless of their complex neurological disorders. They encourage children to build on their social skills, emotional regulation, and relationships. Located in Kilworthy, Ontario, the camp will be launching online in late June/early July for constant programming throughout the summer for interested campers.
Fredricton FASD Summer Camp
On it’s second year, the Fredricton FASD Summer Camp is a three-day inclusive camp for individuals with FASD, who are awaiting diagnosis, or who may have FASD. It is offered to children age 5-16 in the province of New Brunswick. Young adults who are 16 to 30 with an FASD diagnosis are also encouraged to attend as junior leaders, which will give them the opportunity to have a job at camp and still get to participate in activities. This year the camp will involve outdoor games and activities like crafts, archery, swimming, and water park kayaking. Email your request for a camp application to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written By: Emily Cauduro