Camp Lee Mar has many summer activities for kids with Autism. As I have stated previously, we are not a camp for one type of child but are a camp for many types of children that all fall within the mild to moderate range of developmental challenges. With this said, we are uniquely set up for campers on the autism spectrum. Camp Lee Mar is a highly structured program. Our campers with autism thrive in our program, because we are so structured.
For example, each day our campers know what to expect from our schedule. Each morning we wake everyone up with a camp tradition called “Rise and Shine”. A member of administration will play music over our speaker system which is campwide, inside and all the room and cabins, then give our morning announcements followed by more music. During the morning announcements we review the day, the date, and the weather. The staff will give clothing suggestions for the day based on the weather and announce if it is warm enough for morning swim. Our campers find real comfort in these announcements that take place every morning of the summer.
Each day is structured so that we have three periods in the morning, followed by lunch, a rest hour, and three periods in the afternoon, one of which is always swimming. We then have dinner and an evening activity.
Our consistant and structured schedule allows our campers to feel comfortable and build confidence as they follow the schedule from day to day. Built into our highly structured schedule are all kinds of special events. Some of the summer activities for kids with Autism, as well as all our campers, take place as special events at camp. We have a Western Night, 4th of July Celebration, Carnival, Prom, trips off camp, fishing derby, etc. Our campers, especially those on the autism spectrum, learn that they can handle these changes in schedule when they take place each week. This is so helpful to our campers, and we are told that when they go home after camp they are better equipped to handle changes and be flexible because we have programming changes scheduled each week at Camp Lee Mar.
Camp Lee Mar, being highly structured, is a huge plus for all our campers with special needs. Our campers have a comfort zone at Camp Lee Mar because we are so structured. Also, being so structured, in combination with our wonderful nurturing staff and all our terrific activities, provide for a growth-producing experience which benefit our campers, not only during the summer, but throughout the year.
Written by Ari Segal, MSW
My name is Ari Segal, I am the director at Camp Lee Mar. I am married, and we have three incredible children. My oldest child happens to be developmentally challenged and was a camper at Lee Mar (He aged out at 21 and is now 22.) I have been with Camp Lee Mar since 1993. I also direct a year-round, supervised, vacation program for adults, 18 & up, with developmental challenges called The Guided Tour.