Summer Camp can provide children with an opportunity to build independence, new friendships, and pursue interests while providing families with much needed respite. However, finding a program that fits their child’s need can be a challenge for foster and adoptive families parenting children with emotional or developmental disabilities. To assist you in your search, we’ve collected some New York State summer camp and program resources for children with special needs and disabilities. While some programs charge significant fees, most are able to provide financial assistance with tuition and camp fees upon application. See “other resources” at the bottom for additional resources and advice on summer time activities.
Region 1 – Buffalo
- Cradle Beach Camp, Angola, NY – Residential camping programs for children ages 8-16 with disabilities and children from low-income families.
- Genesee Valley Rotary Camp, Pike, NY – Overnight camping experience for children with disabilities (ages 8-21).
- Fun 4 Kids in Buffalo – Extensive list of camps in Western NY. Site also includes information about many free summer events and activities.
Region 2 – Rochester
- Camp Haccamo (Handicapped Children’s Camp for Monroe County) , Rush NY – Residential overnight camp for individuals with disabilities 7-28 years of age.
- Camp Onseyawa, Ovid NY – Provides a camping experience for 8-16 year old children with disabilities from a 4 county area
- Camp STAR, Coopers Plains, NY – Residential camp for children residing within the school districts of sponsoring Rotary Clubs, age 7-13 with disabilities.
- Sunshine Camp, Rush NY, – Rotary Sunshine Camp serves children with physical and emotional disabilities between the ages of 7 and 21 from Monroe and surrounding counties.
Region 3 – Syracuse
- Dodge Pond Rotary Camp, Oswegatchie, NY – Co-ed residential programs for children with intellectual or other developmental disabilities sponsored by Jefferson and St Lawrence Rotary clubs.
- Exceptional Family Resources Project Explore, Syracuse, NY. Half-day summer program of recreational activities for teens and young adults with developmental disabilities.
- ARISE at the Farm – inclusive and for people of all ages and abilities
Region 4 – Albany
- Camp To Belong at Camp Chingachook, Lake George, NY- Residential camping experience hosted by Parsons Child & Family Center reuniting brothers and sisters placed in separate foster homes and other out of home care settings as mentioned in their 2016 Summer Announcement.
- Clover Patch Camp, Glenville, NY – Summer Camp and respite program for children and adults with developmental disabilities .
- Camp Spectacular, Glenville, NY – Day camp program at Clover Patch for children with autism spectrum disorders. Ages 9-16
Region 5 – Spring Valley Area
- Camp Huntington, Ulster NY – Co-ed, residential program for children and young adults with special learning and developmental needs.
- Camp Loyaltown – Summer residential, respite camp sponsored by AHRC, Nassau County serving children who have developmental and other disabilities. Located in Greene, NY
- Camp Paquatuck, Moriches, NY – Co-ed residential camp for physically & developmental challenged children in Nassau and Suffolk counties ages 6-21.
- Southampton Fresh Air Home, Southampton, NY – residential camp for physically challenged youth ages 8 to 18.
Region 6 – New York City Area Below is a very small sample of summer programs in the New York City area. See includenyc searchable camp guide for a comprehensive listing of camps serving New York City children with special needs. New York City families are encouraged to contact the includenyc resource line, 212-677-4660, for assistance in locating appropriate programs and services. Additionally, many New York City foster care agencies operate/support summer camps and programs for families served by their agency. We suggest you contact your agency to inquire about summer programs they offer.
- 92Y Camp Programs, New York City – Variety of day camps and teen travel camps, short-term sleepaway camps, specialty camps and camps for children with developmental disabilities.
- AHRC New York City Camping – Two summer camps, Isaacson Gordon Lodge and Camp Anne offer vacation opportunities to adults and children with developmental disabilities.
- Big Apple Day Program, Manhattan – 4 week summer day camp for children ages 6-13 with mild-to-moderate social-emotional difficulties.
- Camp Clio – A seriously fun place for adopted Kids
- Camp Highlight – Highlight is an week-long camp for children ages 8 to 15 who have a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender parent or parents that focuses on recreational activities, nature education, and team building. Camp is hosted at South Mountain YMCA, a camping facility located on 600 acres of a mountain in Wernersville, PA.
- Children’s Aid Society Summer Camps – During the summer months, The Children’s Aid Society offers an extensive selection of educational, recreational and cultural programs across 17 locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester and Staten Island.
- Foster Pride – New York City non-profit providing free art, video, photography, music and computer classes as well as scholarships and mentoring to children in the foster care system.
- PAL Summer Day Camp and Play Streets Programs – Police Athletic League summer programs for New York City youth with outdoor, adult-supervised recreational, educational and developmental activities in their communities during the summer months.
- New York City summer programs and internships for teens from BHSEC Opportunity Portal
- New York City Parks and Recreation – Day Camps and Registration Information
- Summertime and the Living is Easy! – purchase recording of AFFCNY Conference workshop on locating and choosing summertime programs that provide positive summer experiences for kids with disabilities
- Download Handouts of 2014 Summertime Conference Workshop
- Summer Camp Options for Children with Special Needs from About.com
- Sending Your Child With Special Needs to Camp from KidsHealth.org
- Very Special Camps – A national an online camp directory for individuals with one or more of a wide range of special needs; allowing you to locate a summer camp or program based upon your specific requirements, interests, and location.