Special Needs Overnight Summer Camps

Updated November 21, 2016

Traditional summer camps are an enjoyable venue for children and young adults alike to spend some time enjoying the outdoors and physical activity such as swimming, boating and hiking. These camps are usually overnight and offer accommodations and meals in addition to activities. Attending a traditional camp can sometimes be difficult for those with special needs, illnesses, learning disabilities or physical disabilities. Fortunately there are many camps across the United States that are specifically designed to meet those types of needs.

Camp Aldersgate

Camp Aldersgate, located in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a non-profit organisation with a vision to set the standard for a camping environment that encourages normalcy for youth with special needs and disabilities. Camps are offered for children with conditions such as diabetes, cancer, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, asthma and many other ailments. The camp offers weekend camps as well as summer camp. Facilities include 120 wooded acres, a 6-acre lake, pools, paved trails, an outdoor amphitheatre, an archery pavilion, camping cabins, a commons centre, picnic areas and a 25-foot treehouse.

Beacon Lodge Camp

The Pennsylvania Lions Beacon Lodge Camp is nestled on 583 acres of natural woodlands along the Juniata River in central Pennsylvania and offers summer camp programs for both children and adults with special needs such as blindness and deafness. Special programs have been designed that take into consideration the needs of each individual. Campers can enjoy activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, nature walks, arts and crafts, archery and a ropes course. Campers are also treated with a special trip to a craft fair and an aquafest event that features water races and relays.

Camp Huntington

Camp Huntington is a residential, co-ed summer camp for children and young adults with learning and developmental special needs. It is located in the town of High Falls, New York, and is situated between the Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains. The campgrounds cover 40 wooded acres and features rustic cabins and a beautiful waterfall and creek. Activities include swimming, music, a ropes course, nature study, arts and crafts, computers, horseback riding, sports, home economics and an academic program. Campers can choose from full 6-week sessions or one, two and three week sessions. 24-hour medical care is also available at the infirmary if needed.

Camp Boggy Creek

Camp Boggy Creek, located in Eustis, Florida, is open year-round and offers weeklong summer sessions for seriously ill children as well as family retreat weekends for the whole family. There is no charge for the children who come to Boggy Creek. The facility is specifically designed for children with chronic or life threatening illnesses and allows them to safely enjoy the activities of traditional camp. Activities include swimming, boating, fishing, arts and crafts, horseback riding, dancing and interaction with animals.

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About the Author

Nicholas Nesler has worked in journalism for over 10 years as a reporter, photo editor and sports editor. Nesler has written for "The Batesville Guard" and the "Paragould Daily Press." His awards include the '07 FOI award from the APME. He received his bachelor's degree in journalism at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro and his master's degree in education at the University of Central Arkansas.