2017 Minnesota Summer Camp Guide For Campers With Disabilities

Resources compiled by ConnectWC

Summer camps offer great opportunities for socialization, independence, exercise and fun! ConnectWC has compiled a list of Minnesota outdoor summer camps designed for campers with disabilities as well as camps that integrate campers of all abilities.  To help in the search, we've included a few websites that allow searches by various criteria to help find the perfect camp!

It may seem a little early to think about summer, but space is often limited and registration can fill up quickly, so we are sharing a listing with you now.  Volunteers are often needed, so if you enjoy being outdoors, this may be the perfect opportunity to offer support.

Please note – ConnectWC provides this list for informational purposes only.  The list is not meant to be all inclusive and ConnectWC does not  endorse or recommend any of the camps listed.  If you know of a camp we should add to our list, please send us an email  to let us know!

Twin Cities Metro Area

Camp Courage (True Friends)
952-852-0101
Description: 305 acres along scenic lakeshore, woods and fields on beautiful Cedar Lake.  It has two accessible campuses, a therapeutic riding program, ropes course and zip line.  Weekend respite available.
- Asperger’s Camp, August 15-18, ages 16-20
- Special Olympics Summer Sports Camp, June 6-9, ages 14+
- Fall Family Camp, October 27-29, all ages
- Adult Retreat with optional True Strides, various days in July
- Power Soccer Family Camp, August 6-11, all ages
- Gluten-Free Fun Camp, July 16-21, ages 7-17
- Camp Adventure, July 23-28, ages 6-17
- Pathfinders, July 23-28, ages 21-26
- Camp Canbria, July 28-August 4, ages 8-17
- Summer Family Camp, August 6-11, all ages
- Camp We-No-Wheeze, August 19-21, ages 7-13
Location: Maple Lake, MN
When: various sessions June through October 2016
Ages: various sessions, ages 7 and up
Staff Ratio: high care support 1:1, medium care support 1:3 and low care support 1:5
Population Served: individuals with and without diagnosed disabilities, including developmental or physical disabilities or health conditions
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, to participants with proven need by filling out financial assistance portion of the application

Camp Eden Wood (True Friends)
952-852-0110
Description: Fully accessible camp tucked in the woods on Birch Island Lake. Campers enjoy modern cabins, hiking trails, basketball court, sensory playground, copes course, dining hall and numerous other activities. Extend your stay with Respite.
- Adult Classic Camp, various dates, ages 18+
- Autism Sensory Splash, various dates, ages 5-20
- Day Camp, various dates, ages 5+
- Destination Smile Down Syndrome, July 23-28, ages 5-18
- Mini Adult Retreat – Art Extravaganza, June 12-14, ages 18+
- Camp Adventure Trips, July 31- August 5, ages 14-17 and August 7-12, ages 10-15
- Intro to Camp, various dates, ages 5-18
- Intro to Day Camp, July 5-7, ages 5+
- Sibling, Cousin and Friend Camp, various dates, ages 5-18
Location: Eden Prairie, MN
When: various sessions, June through August 2016
Ages: 5+ for Day Camp, various ages for other sessions
Staff Ratio: high care support 1:1-2, medium care support 1:3-4 and low care support 1:5+
Population Served: individuals with and without diagnosed disabilities, including developmental or physical disabilities or health conditions
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, to participants with proven need by filling out financial assistance portion of the application

Camp Friendship (True Friends)
952-852-0110
Description: Located on 115 acres of scenic woodlands on Clearwater Lake. This fully accessible camp offers modern cabins and facilities, dining hall, arts and crafts building, recreation hall, nature building, gymnasium, indoor pool, indoor and outdoor climbing walls, ropes courses and more. Weekend Respite Available.
- Classic Camp, various dates throughout the summer, ages 5+
- Adult Retreat with optional True Strides, various dates throughout the summer, ages 18+
- Youth Asperger’s Camp, August 6-11th, ages 7-15
- Camp enVISION, July 16-28, ages 16-22
- Fishing Camp, June 18-23, ages 5+
- Horsing Around with True Strides, various dates, ages
- Movin’ & Groovin’, July 9-14, ages 7+
- Literacy Camp, June 18-23, ages 12-18
- Youth Retreat, July 30 - August 4, ages 7-17
- Youth Retreat with True Strides, July 30 - August 4, ages 7-17
Location: Annandale, MN
When: various sessions, June through August 2016
Ages: various sessions, ages 5 and up
Staff Ratio: high care support 1:1, medium care support 1:3 and low care support 1:5
Population Served: individuals with and without diagnosed disabilities, including developmental or physical disabilities or health conditions
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, to participants with proven need by filling out financial assistance portion of the application

Camp Oz
Nikki Baker, Camp Director, 651-287-2325
Description: Fun camping experiences for youth with seizures with the security of 24/7 medical staff (physicians, psychologists, neurologist, and pharmacists). Siblings who don’t have epilepsy are welcome to attend as well. Activities include swimming, horseback riding, archery, crafts, rock wall climbing and more.  New for 2017:  Day Camp and Family Camp.  See options to determine which camp is best suited for your child.
- Camp Oz, June 18-23, ages 9-17
- Day Camp, August 2-4, ages 6-10
- Family Camp, July 22, ages 5-17
Location: YMCA Camp St. Croix in Hudson, WI
Staff Ratio: Camp Oz, 2:8-10, Family Camp, accompanied by at least one parent/guardian
Population Served: youth with seizures that can function independently (see website for details)
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, see website for details

Camp Wahode Day Camps (Autism Society of Minnesota)
Terri Borowick, Director of Camp Programs, 651-647-1083, Ext 16
Description: Campers will experience outdoor activities including swimming in an outdoor pool, horseback riding, use of ropes course and climbing tower, group games, hiking, sensory crafts and gross motor activities led by a registered occupational therapist, music groups led by a board-certified music therapist, boating, and sports. Note: You must be an AuSM member to be eligible for camp registration.
Location: Camp Butwin, Eagan, MN
When: Session 1 July 10-14, ages 6-12   Session 2 July 24-28, ages 6-12
Staff Ratio: 1:2
Population Served: boys and girls with autism needing 1:2 support
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes through Waivers and Scholarships, see AuSM website for details.

Mount Olivet Summer Day Camp
Stephanie Kohl, Certified Recreation Therapist and Program Director, 952-401-4872
Description: A therapeutic day camp for youth on the autism spectrum, including those with significant behavior challenges.  Program emphasis is on increasing knowledge in area of interest, while building social skills, learning coping skills, and increasing physical fitness in a low stress environment. Facilities include a computer lab with multiple stations, a gymnasium with fitness and sensory equipment, a waterfront with beach, boats, fishing, extensive grounds with an in-ground trampoline, and a recreation room with multiple games and activities.
Location: Schutz Lake in Victoria, MN
When: various dates June through August with various themes (Mind "Kraft", Around the World, Music, Science Exploration, Robotic Fun, Lego)
Ages: 5-8
Staff Ratio: 1:2 (dependent on camper needs)
Population Served: younger children with behavioral challenges
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, camperships may be available to families in need who have limited funding resources

West Metro Horse Camp
763-355-0017
Description: They start with the basics and teach children about how horses behave. Activities include a parade of breeds and colors, grooming, saddling and other learning experiences. Plenty of riding, about 4 hours a day.
Location: Buffalo, MN
When: various sessions June through August
Population Served: Welcome children with special needs such as ADD, ADHD, autism (call for specifics of needs they can support)
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available:  early bird discount

Outstate Minnesota

Camps Without Barriers (3 camps)
855-622-1973
Many camps nationwide are designed to accommodate the needs of people with specific types of disabilities. Our ministry seeks to be open and accommodating regardless of one’s abilities. This can happen because the Minnesota United Methodist Camping ministry is able to hire a special integration counselor to provide the extra support needed. This comes at no extra cost to the camper. Parents/Guardians are interviewed a half hour or so to get detailed information about their child's special needs.  All summer staff has been trained to read these reports and use them as they plan camp activities. There are three camps in this program:

(1) - Koronis Ministries
320-243-4544
Description: Koronis is surrounded by 190 wooded acres on a picturesque lake. There are several different camping options for all ages.
Location: Paynesville MN
When: various dates
Staff Ratio: this camp is for all abilities, assistance is provided as needed (see intro under Camps Without Barriers above)
Population Served: children through adult with and without disabilities
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, camperships are available based on need and no camper will be turned away because they can't afford to pay, bring a friend discount

(2) – Northern Pines
855-622-1973
Description: During the summer months, provides week-long youth and family camps on the east shore of Fish Hook Lake near the headwaters of the Mississippi River and Itasca State Park
Location: Park Rapids, MN
When: various dates
Staff Ratio: this camp is for all abilities, assistance is provided as needed (see intro under Camps Without Barriers above)
Population Served: children through adult with and without disabilities
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, camperships are available based on need and no camper will be turned away because they can't afford to pay, bring a friend discount

(3) – Kowakan Ministries
855-622-1973
Description: During the summer months, provides week-long youth and family camps and is committed to providing groups a great wilderness camping experience.
Location: Ely, MN
When: various dates
Staff Ratio: this camp is for all abilities, assistance is provided as needed (see intro under Camps Without Barriers above)
Population Served: children through adult with and without disabilities
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, camperships are available based on need and no camper will be turned away because they can't afford to pay, bring a friend discount

Camp Avanti
715-256-7727
Description: Avanti provides a variety of programs to serve the needs of children, therapists and the community. Our summer camp program combines an exciting camp environment with an intensive sensory integration treatment approach.  Campers participate in a broad range of fun activities that also have a therapeutic benefit, including drumming, arts and crafts, hiking, horseback riding, music, nature activities, outdoor games, swimming, WonderLab. 
Location: Camp Icaghowan in Amery WI
When: July 2-7
Ages: Day Camp (ages 6-8), Overnight Camp (ages 8-12), Challenge Camp - Canoe Trip (ages 12-15)
Staff Ratio: 3-5:8 during daytime activities
Population Served: children who have average or above intelligence bet have diagnosed learning disabilities and/or sensory processing dysfunction, including those with poor coordination, attention deficits, hyperactivity and/or inadequate motor planning skills
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, scholarships are available on basis of financial need or other circumstances that affect ability to pay

Camp Buckskin Voyageur Program
763-432-9177
Description: Creates an environment where our campers and staff can effectively work with others, to adapt well to change, and maximize their talents, because these abilities are as crucial today as they were for the voyageurs. Activities include archery, arts and crafts, canoeing, reading, swimming and more.
Location: Lower Lake McDougal near Ely, MN
Ages: 6-18
Staff Ratio: 1:3 or better
Population Served: boys and girls with underdeveloped social skills who may consequently struggle with making and keeping friends, while not an eligibility requirement, they may be diagnosed with AD/HD, Asperger’s a learning disability or similar issue and about 20% of our campers are adopted
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: Unable to offer scholarships, but there are several options for financial assistance.  See website for suggestions of possible funding sources

Camp Character & Camp of Champs (Family Foundations Minnesota)
218-760-8442
Description: Four day, week and two week camps offering social skills, life skills, sensory integrated activities and positive behavioral supports for youth with special needs and mental health disorders. Activities include ropes course, play sports, swim, kayak, and more.
Location: Park Rapids, MN
When: Camp of Champs:  (1-week session) June 10-16, ages 7-17, (2-week session) June 10-23 ages 9-17,  (August extended) August 13-25, ages 9-17
Camp Character (mini week) August 20-25, ages 7-17
Ages: 7-17 depending on camp
Staff Ratio: 4:1
Population Served: attention deficit/hyperactivity, emotional/behavioral disorders, cognitive disorders, learning disabilities, autism spectrum, attachment disorders, fetal alcohol syndrome
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available:  unknown

Camp Courage North (True Friends)
952-852-0101
Description: Located in the beautiful Paul Bunyan State Forest on Lake George. Fully accessible camp including archery, fishing, biking and nature hikes.
- Camp Discovery (partnership with the Autism Society of MN), June 12-17 and June 19-24, ages 10-21
- Fine Arts, July 17-22, ages 14+
- Fishing Camp, July 12-22, ages 7-17
- Robotics, July 3-8, ages 7+
- Water Sports & Activities, July 3-8, ages 7+
- Brain Gains, June 26-July 1, ages 18+
- Camp ADDventure, July 24-29 and July 24-August 2, ages 7-15
- Deaf & Hard of Hearing, July 12-22, ages 7-17
Location: Lake George, near Bemidji, MN
When: various sessions, June through August 2016
Staff Ratio: high care support 1:1-2, medium care support 1:3-4 and low care support 1:5+
Population Served: individuals with and without diagnosed disabilities, including developmental or physical disabilities or health conditions
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, to participants with proven need by filling out financial assistance portion of the application

Camp Discovery (Autism Society of Minnesota)
Terri Borowick, Director of Camp Programs, 651-647-1083, Ex 16
Description: Ideal for individuals with ASD who will enjoy a summer camp experience with a high degree of structure and small group activities.  Activities include swimming, kayaking, canoeing, recreational games, live action role-playing games and more.  Note: You must be an AuSM member to be eligible for camp registration.
- Session 1 June 18-23 ages 10-17
- Session 2 June 25-30, ages 18-25
Location: Lake George, near Bemidji, MN
When: various dates in June, see above
Staff Ratio: 1:4
Population Served: boys and girls with autism needing 1:4 support
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, through Waivers and Scholarships, see AuSM website for details.

Camp Hand in Hand (Autism Society of Minnesota)
Terri Borowick, Director of Camp Programs, 651-647-1083, Ex 16
Description: This serene camp location features beautiful woodland settings with modern air-conditioned cabins and bathrooms. Activities include swimming, boating, geocaching, tubing, horseback riding,fishing, crafts, archery, nature exploration,biking, small ropes course, paddleboards, canoes, and music groups led by a board-certified music therapist. Note: You must be an AuSM member to be eligible for camp registration.
Location: Camp Knutson, Crosslake, MN
When: various dates June - August
Ages: varies per session, ages 9+
Staff Ratio: 1:1, attending to individual camper needs
Population Served: boys and girls with autism needing 1:1 support
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, through Waivers and Scholarships, see AuSM website for details.

Camp Winnebago
507-724-2351
Description: A summer at Camp Winnebago is split into 7 different sessions, each with a different theme!  Our big theme for 2017 is Time Travel, and each session is centered around a different decade or century!  Your child will flourish in our inclusive atmosphere, trained staff and nurses to ensure safety and provide any medical needs.
Location:  Caledonia, MN
When:  various dates June - August, five days each
Ages:  5 through adult with all abilities (separate sessions for kids/teens, young adults, and adults
Staff Ratio:  1:5+ low care support, 1:3-4 medium care support, 1:1-2 high care support
Population Served:
ages 5+ of all abilities
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available:  not listed

Down Syndrome Camp
Description: Activities include swimming, fishing, boating, tubing, paddleboarding, horseback riding, campfires, arts and crafts, nature hikes and evening options such as dancing, bingo and talent shows.
Location: Camp Knutson, Cross Lake MN
When: June 11-15
Ages: 10-21
Population Served: youth with Down syndrome
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available:  unknown

OTHER CAMPS

Academy of Whole Learning
952-737-6900
Description: Offers unique opportunities for enrichment, advancement and fun in academics and essential social and life skills. 
Location: St Louis Park, MN
When: various dates June through August, including Summer Sports Camp, Drama Interactions, Learning2Learn and more.
Ages: kindergarten through grade 12
Population Served: specialize in autism and other related learning differences, but open to all students

Connections Social Skills Camp
Description: Providing campers who have social difficulties with direct social skills instruction as well as immediate opportunities to practice the skills they have learned in real life settings in partnership with the Autism Society of Minnesota.
Location: Eden Prairie, MN
When: 2017 schedule unavailable
Ages: two sessions, 3-6th graders and 7-12th graders
Staff Ratio: approx. 1:4
Population Served: specifically designed for kids who have social deficits related to high functioning autism, Asperger syndrome, ADHD, social anxiety, pragmatic language disorders and other related conditions (typically developing children welcome, too). Campers must be able to work safely in small group settings and to independently manage self-care needs.
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, see website on information on Metro Friendship Foundation for qualifying campers

EX.I.T.E. Camp (Day Camp)
Meghan Kunz at 952-838-9000
Description: Mission is to empower middle school girls in the fields of math, science and engineering while providing a safe and supported environment for hands-on learning as well as a place to meet new friends and create lasting memories.
Location: PACER Center, Bloomington, MN
When: August 3-17 f
Ages: girls in grades 6-9
Staff Ratio: unable to provide 1:1 assistance
Population Served: middle school girls with disabilities, priority is given to new campers
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: free, provide own transportation and box lunch each day

Kids Who Stutter (University of Minnesota)
612-624-3322, Dept of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences
Description: Allows children who stutter to meet one another with the goal for kids to accept themselves as people who stutter who can also be very good communicators. Activities may include bowling, museums, tours of the campus
Location: Davis Center, U of M Campus
When: June 19-23
Ages: half-day programs for children grades 3-5 and grades 6-8
Staff Ratio: groups are limited to 10 children
Population Served: children who stutter
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available: yes, based on need

Minnesota Life College – Summer Internship Program
612-869-4008
Description: Students will gain experience living in an apartment-setting with roommates, working and engaging in the community, and making new friends and managing a social life.
Location: Minnesota Life College townhomes in Richfield, MN
When: July 2-21
Ages: 17-21
Population Served: diagnosed learning differences such as learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD/ADD or other neurological conditions
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available:  unknown

St David’s Adventure
952-548-8700
Description: Therapeutic recreation program where participants engage in a variety of “adventures” that allow them to experience new activities in their community in a safe and therapeutic setting. Field trips may include Sky Zone Trampoline Park, Waterparks, Vertical Endeavors, Twins games, Canoeing at Wilderness Inquiry, Valley Fair and more.
Location: various sites in Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis and St. Louis Park
When: June 19 - August 25 from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm each day
Ages: teens and young adults ages 10+
Population Served: teens and young adults with special needs
Scholarships or Financial Assistance Available:  Waivers, Consumer Support Grant, Family Support Grant, PCA Hours and Private Pay

Customize Your Search

American Camp Association
In addition to a search option of over 3,000 camps, this site offers expert advice from camp professionals on camp selection, readiness, child and youth development, and issues of importance to families.

CampPage
Search for summer camps by type (including special needs), activity and location.

KidCamps.com
Find summer camps including day overnight, sports, academic, adventure, arts and more.

NEED SOME advice on FINDING THE RIGHT CAMP?

Choosing Summer Camp for Kids with Disabilities
This article discusses how to set objectives, what to ask, and how to prepare child and staff.

Camps for Kids with Special Needs
This article discusses the different types of camps for children with differing needs, the benefits of camp, and questions to ask.

Summer Camps for Children with Special Needs
This article discusses how to determine readiness, preparations and funding.

FUNDING

Camper scholarships or financial assistance is available from some organizations. Details are listed at the end of each camp listing.

Other possible funding options:

Consumer Support Grant
The Consumer Support Grant (CSG) may fund qualifying special needs camps.  Contact your county case manager for more information.  Click on link for general information on the CSG.

Family Support Grant
The Family Support Grant (FSG) may fund qualifying special needs camps.  Contact your county case manager for more information. Scroll down page on link for general information on the FSG.

LADDA (Leisure Activities for Developmentally Disabled Adults) Fund of the St. Croix Valley
Partial campership grants of $200 are available for adults who have a developmental disability and are the financial responsibility of Washington County or have a legal guardian who lies in the Stillwater Area School District #834 boundaries.  Requests are due by June 1, 2017.  Contact Portia Andrews (651-436-8321) or Jackie Ulrich (651-439-4837) with questions or information on camperships.

Metro Friendship Foundation Scholarship
Metro Friendship Foundation (MFF) provides scholarships for individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism to access appropriate interventions and services. This scholarship is for those 21 and younger residing in the 7 county metro area. Scholarships are available through MFF for those who are unable to pay for social skills/recreational services. There are various scholarship deadlines throughout the year. See link for details.

Waivered Services, CDCS Program
Waivered Services may fund qualifying camps.  Expenditures must be preapproved by Washington County.  Contact your county case manager for more information. Scroll down page on link for general information on CDCS Waivers.