At Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families, we’re always working to take our camps to the next level, often using the expertise of those in our camp community to enrich the experiences of adoptees and their families.
That’s why we — a group of therapists and educators who are also adoptees or adoptive parents — joined forces to strengthen HCAF’s ability to support campers with physical disabilities, neurological differences, and emotional needs.
Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families has been such an affirming and safe space for our kids. And we know that weekends in a new environment, time away from parents for several hours each day, and an array of stimulating activities can bring up some specific challenges. Even as adults, we experience some of these things!
More and more, we’re hearing about trauma-informed schools, the importance of supporting kids with sensory processing disorder, and helping kids to regulate their emotions, among other things. People are also becoming more aware of how to be inclusive of people with physical disabilities. We feel that this is an important time to formally integrate this type of responsiveness into our camps and are excited about a new camp counselor training we’ll be implementing this year.
Camp Counselor Trainings
Our training for camp counselors will include information on how trauma impacts the brain and behavior (in sometimes unexpected ways), effective strategies for helping a child who is dysregulated, tips for connecting with children who are having a difficult time, simple mindfulness activities that can help ease difficult transitions, respectful ways to support people with disabilities, and other information and ideas.
Information & Input from Parents
We’ll also give parents the option to complete an intake process with their child’s primary camp counselor, which will give them a more complete understanding of accommodations, health conditions, and how to best support each camper during their four days together. We realize that venues at our mountain camps can pose challenges to those with physical disabilities, and we are dedicated to being in dialogue about possible solutions that allow all kids to participate in camp activities.
If you are a parent of a child with any sort of disability or neurodivergence and have ideas or feedback, we welcome and appreciate that conversation! You can email us at Pam@HeritageCamps.org.
We’re looking forward to another fun and impactful summer with Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families, where all campers feel a true sense of belonging.