Over the years, as campers began to age out of our summer programs for special needs children at Camp Lee Mar, families frequently shared their concerns with us about transition into adult life. The Camp Lee Mar L.I.F.E. Program was created to prepare for job training, teach independent living skills AND give access to all the great activities and special events at Camp Lee Mar!
The L.I.F.E. program is a transition program offered to veteran Lee Mar campers. Participants in the L.I.F.E. program live in small, private cabins (each sleeping up to three campers and one counselor) providing age-appropriate grouping with the least restrictive structure. The L.I.F.E. program also has a full apartment with a large kitchen, washer and dryer, two bathrooms, a living room, and a classroom that are used for functional education and “hands-on” experience.
The L.I.F.E. program has been developed to assist participants in living as independently as possible, for up to five summer seasons. We recognize that for older teenagers and young adults with social, emotional, and learning differences, living independently and securing a job can be difficult. They first need the functional education and experience required, followed by opportunities to master these skills in a safe, supervised setting. The L.I.F.E. program builds on Lee Mar’s educational program and the previous skills campers have gained within our Academic Career Training Program. It also builds on the social skills and interview skills developed in our speech program.
L.I.F.E. program participants earn five supervised “days off” during the summer, providing an opportunity away from camp for L.I.F.E. campers to socialize together. Suggested days off include movies, bowling, the mall, etc., and are planned by both the program participants and camp staff members. The days off provide real-world opportunities for money management, decision making, and a sense of independence, while still under the watchful eye of our experienced staff. Participants are encouraged to bring a small amount of spending money to camp for use on days off, to keep a “personal financial camp ledger,” and to budget for the summer.
To be eligible for the Lee Mar L.I.F.E. program, participants must be at least 18 years old and have been a Lee Mar camper during our summer programs for special needs children for at least one season.