Family Says Camp for Kids With Issues of Attention Has Been “Life-Changing”
Summit Camp Empowers the Children to Reach New Heights and Increase Social Skills
NEW YORK, NY – For many families, raising a child with special needs presents challenges at almost all stages of development. Parents strive to create an environment for their children that caters to their specific needs. Summer camp can present its own unique challenges. The Flamenbaum family of Long Island found their answer in Summit Camp.
16 year old Brittney Flamenbaum, who has high functioning autism, has attended the camp for the past three years, participating in regular summer sessions, special travel programs, and the camp’s new “weekender” mini-camps. A student at Walt Whitman High School in Long Island, Brittney’s disability has affected a range of her social and learning skills throughout her childhood. Summit Camp has helped to change that.
“Brittney’s independent skills have absolutely gone through the roof since she started attending Summit Camp,” said Brittney’s mom Tracy. “Her social skills have improved remarkably, she now can navigate her way in public settings, and she is just much more comfortable handling tasks of the day on her own. She also has built friendships that are so important for her growth – her entire bunk from camp gets together throughout the year at different parents’ houses, just recently celebrating one of the girl’s sweet 16 birthday.”
Located in Wayne County, Pennsylvania, Summit Camp has been serving the needs of children ages 8 – 17 with issues of attention for over 40 years. The various diagnoses that a camper may have include verbal or non-verbal learning disorders, A.D.D./A.D.H.D., Asperger’s Syndrome, Tourettes Syndrome, and/or mild mood disorders. Summit Camp provides an environment for these children to establish meaningful and mutually rewarding relationships with other children, something that often times is difficult for them in the traditional school environment.
“Each camper is unique and has his or her own challenges that we work to overcome in order to meet the basic needs for acceptance, recognition and respect,” says Senior Director Eugene Bell, who has been involved full-time in Special Education since 1972 and with Summit Camp since 1999. “But throughout all of the various sessions and activities, certain goals are constant – we look to establish and reinforce feelings of success, confidence, enthusiasm and self-worth in all of our campers. These are the traits that they may not attain in the normal social environments, and we can fill those voids.”
Establishing those traits is done through traditional camping activities – sports, arts and crafts, hiking, and other camp programs. Yet, each program is geared towards developing the social interaction skills of the camper and allowing them to identify their special interests. Our staff is masterful at bringing each camper on at their own pace while also involved with their bunkmates. Older campers also have the opportunity for “personal development,” such as baby sitting or auto repair, and during summer sessions they take part in three-day overnight trips, while younger campers can participate in afternoon daytrips.
“As a parent of a special needs child, we always are concerned about safety,” Flamenbaum continued. “But at Summit Camp, I can rest assured that she is in good hands, and participating in positive, appropriate activities that help her grow in a variety of ways. When I leave her on June 25, of course I cry and smile, but I also know she is safe. Knowing that my husband and I don’t have to worry about Brittney while she is away really provides us with a break from a disability that normally requires our full attention.”
Summit Camp has 250 staff to supervise and nurture the maximum 300 campers it hosts at a time. With a variety of summer sessions, travel programs, and school year weekender mini-camps, children can experience what Summit Camp calls the “Magic on the Hill” year-round.
Adds Bell, “Whatever challenges these kids and their parents face don’t take any days off and we want to offer our support as much as possible. The Magic on the Hill really does make a difference in their lives.”
For more information visit http://www.summitcamp.com/.