2020 Summer Camps, Activities, and Respite for Children with Disabilities in the NW Arkansas and Surrounding Areas
It's never to early to start planning for summer plans when you have a child with special needs. Below is a comprehensive list of summer camps, activities, and respite that will be available in the NW Arkansas and surrounding areas for this coming summer of 2020.
Arkansas Support Network Kids Club
Located in: Springdale, AR
Ages: 14-15, 16+
Camp Type: Day Camp
Description and Camps Offered:
Kids Club: Kids Club 2020 will have a work-based focus designed to encourage 14-15-year-olds to begin thinking about work opportunities and vocational skills as they approach the transition into adulthood. Campers will have the chance to participate in field trips throughout the area. During the summer of 2019, 2 three-week sessions were offered, the summer 2020 schedule will be finalized in February. To register, or for more information, contact ASN at the number listed below.
Transition Program: The Transition Program provides work-based experience for young people 16+ to help focus and hone their skills and interests for future work opportunities. All campers will need a referral to be submitted from Arkansas Rehabilitation Services by March 2020.
Contact: (479) 927-4100; https://supports.org/
Located in: Gentry, AR
Ages: 6-12, 13-22
Camp Type: Overnight
Description and Camps Offered: Camp Acacia currently offers one-week sessions of summer camp for individuals with diverse abilities based on camper age (6-12, 13-22) and the amount of support needed, whether that is a 1:1, 2:1, or 3:1 camper to counselor ratio. Camp activities focus on social skills education and community-based recreation activities. Each of the 6 week-long camps are dedicated to a specific age range and support need.
Contact: 479-466-2006; https://campacacia.org/
Camp Aldersgate, Inc.
Located in: Little Rock, AR
Camp Type: Overnight and Day options available
Description and Camps Offered: Camp Aldersgate’s Summer Camps serve children with medical, physical and developmental needs. Camp offers traditional summer camp activities such as campfires and singing, canoeing, fishing, arts and crafts, swimming, and nature hikes as well as adaptable adventures to serve children of all abilities, including an accessible ropes course, carousel, archery range, and a professionally-led SCUBA experience.
Summer Medical Camps: Five summer sessions are dedicated to children with specific medical conditions, including muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, diabetes, heart conditions, arthritis, kidney disorders, cancer, bleeding disorders, and asthma.
Kota Camps: Two summer sessions for campers with various disabilities and non-disabled siblings and friends.
Pediatrics Plus Summer Day Camp: 6-week day camp for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder hosted in partnership with Pediatrics PLUS of Arkansas. Program is currently FREE to children that qualify for therapy services through the EIDT program.
Contact: 501-225-1444; https://www.campaldersgate.net/
Located in: Purdy, MO
Camp Type: Overnight
Description and Camps Offered: Camp Barnabas is a Christian ministry that provides camping experiences to individuals with special needs and chronic illnesses, along with their siblings. Each weeklong camp is focused on a specific age group and set of diagnoses so that each camper is in a cabin with others similar to themselves. All campers are matched with a 1:1 volunteer to support them to engage fully in their camp experience.
Contact: 417-522-6011; https://www.campbarnabas.org/
Camp Type: Day Camp
Description and Camps Offered: Targeted Day Camp for children with autism. Details to be confirmed in late December
Contact: 479-575-3215; email@example.com
Champions Special Ministries
Located in: Springdale, AR (Cross Church Springdale)
Camp Type: Day Camp
Dates: June 15-19
Description and Camps Offered: Champions Special Ministries is a Christian ministry that seeks to provide fun, engaging, and inclusive summer programming for individuals with disabilities. Their full week day camp pairs all campers with a 1:1 volunteer to support them as they engage in sports, crafts, themed parties, Bible study and more. Registration begins January 15th.
Contact: 479-466-1860; https://www.championsspecialministries.org/
Located in: Different NWA locations each week
Camp Type: Weekly social skills groups
Description: Based on interest, Playability Counseling offers 8-week social skills groups of 3-6 participants, matched by age and ability level, that focus on different topics each week. Topics can include conversations, personal space, boundaries, and tone of voice. Groups meet in various locations to children can learn and practice in places they would normally be (bowling alley, park, etc.).
PlayStrong Pediatric Therapy
Located in: Rogers, AR
Camp Type: Day Camp
Description and Camps Offered: Depending on interest each summer, PlayStrong Pediatric Therapy may offer day camp programming. Follow their website and Facebook page for details which are expected to be finalized in April 2020.
Contact: 479-246-0101; https://www.facebook.com/playstrongtherapy/; http://www.playstrongtherapy.com/
Arkansas Autism Foundation – Special Respite Grant
Description: Up to $200 available to put towards any type of respite including private babysitters, summer camps, or other activities that would give respite to the family.
Contact: For more information and to apply, go to: https://arkansasautismfoundation.org/outreach/grants/
Year-Round Respite Opportunities
99 Balloons – rEcess
Description: rEcess is a respite project that provides fun evening programming for children with disabilities and their siblings so that parents can enjoy a few hours of respite. All children with special needs are paired with a 1:1 adult volunteer while their siblings participate in their own specially designed programming.
Locations and Contact Info:
Bentonville – New Heights Church: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fayetteville – 99 Balloons: email@example.com
Fayetteville – Christ Community Church: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fayetteville – (rEcreo) Grace Church of NWA: email@example.com
Harrison – First United Methodist: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rogers – Fellowship Bible Church NWA: email@example.com
Camp Aldersgate, Inc – Weekend Camps
Description: Camp Aldersgate’s Weekend Camps provide developmentally appropriate opportunities for our campers that promote cognitive, physical, social and emotional growth in a fun, engaging, camp setting. Activity planning for each weekend includes a mix of physical activities, art, outdoor activities and structured and free-play. Weekend Camps are open for each camper to attend a maximum of six times in a school year.
Location: Little Rock, AR
Eligibility: Children 6-18 who receive special education services in the school setting, require use of assistive devices and adaptations to complete Activities of Daily Living, and are eligible for one of the summer camps at Aldersgate.
Camp Acacia – Acacia Play and Acacia Explore
Description: Acacia Play is a full 12 hours of fun at Camp Acacia once a month, in non-camp months. Based on a theme, Acacia Play allows campers the chance to have an awesome time with their friends and gives parents a full weekend day of respite.
Acacia Explore offers two monthly community-based recreation events for campers and their friends and family members.
Location: Gentry, AR and wider Northwest Arkansas Area
Website: https://campacacia.org/acacia-explore; https://campacacia.org/acacia-play
Accessible Family Activities
Autism-Friendly Jump Sessions at DEFY Rogers
Description: DEFY Rogers (Formerly High Rise Extreme Airsports) hosts Autism-Friendly jump sessions throughout the year. Sessions are not regularly scheduled, but are posted on their Facebook and Instagram pages as they are scheduled.
For more information: https://www.facebook.com/defyrogers/?rf=270185523005733
National Parks Access Pass
Description: U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents with permanent disabilities are eligible the America the Beautiful Access Pass which provides free admittance to more than 2,000 recreation sites across the country. Applicants must provide documentation of proof of residency and documentation of permanent disability. Passes can be obtained by applying in person at certain federal recreation sites, by mail, or online. The access pass is free, but a $10 processing fee is required.
For more information:
Sensory Friendly Movie at AMC Fiesta Square 12
Description: Lights turned up, sound turned down, these sensory-friendly showings welcome singing, shouting, and dancing in the aisles. The AMC Fiesta Square offers showings that are family-friendly, and showings for more mature audiences on alternating weeks.
For more information: https://www.amctheatres.com/programs/sensory-friendly-films
*If you know of a camp, funding source, respite opportunity, or accessibly family activity not listed here, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org so your information can be shared!
Staff of the Northwest Arkansas Community Parent Resource Center (including original content as well as curated links to various authors around the web.)