Summer Camps for ADHD Kids
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Hi, My son is almost 15. He has ADHD, depression, anxiety and who knows what else. We were lucky to receive a scholarship for him to attend a summer camp for kids with ADHD. I am waiting for a list with approved camps, but I think one of them is SOAR, Sucess Oriented Achievement Realized. They are based in North Carolina but have summer programs in CA. Does anyone have any experience with this camp? Was it good or not? Any other camps I should research? Camps to stay away from? I would appreciate any information. Thank you very, very much. Grateful Mom
My son went to Soar twice and I think that both times were very good for him. He loved it the first year. He didn't enjoy it as much the second time because he was less interested in the activities. So I would highly recommend the camp if you can find a session that is a good match for his interests. Ann
Hi, I have a client who went to SOAR and loved it so much he asked to stay the next semester. His parents are thrilled with the changes he has made and how happy he has become. S.
Does anyone have a recommendations for a highly structured summer camp for an ADHD 6 year old boy in Oakland? I am worried because most camps seem to be run by 20 year olds with limited experience and have a lot of unstructured outdoor time. Recess and lunch are the most challenging parts of the school day for my son. He does best in a really structured environment where there are really clear rewards and consequences for behavior. He also needs to have a camp that is segregated by age and where he can get a lot of one on one attention, and where the camp counselors keep the kids engaged throughout the day. Thanks for any tips! Wishing for year round school
My son does not have ADHD but also really struggles with unstructured time. Cal's Explorer Camp was GREAT for him last summer. He loved it and was very successful there. The staff spoke with me in advance of camp about my concerns and made a point of placing my kid in a group with an additional counselor. The high level of structure and activity worked well for him, and he will definitely be back this summer. Loved Explorer Camp
I highly recommend the Cal Berkeley Youth Camps for your ADHD child. My son, now 11, has ADD Inattentive Type. We tried several summer camps starting when he was 5 before we figured out that structure was essential. At the less structured camps, he would space out and forget to eat lunch, or not go swimming because he forgot his swimsuit was in his backpack, or wander off and not participate in activities. He would have an OK time, but it was frustrating for me that the staff didn't seem to notice that he wasn't participating and wasn't eating lunch.
The Cal Youth Camps start with Explorer Camp for 5-6 year olds and continue to age 13 with Blue Camp and many specialized camps. These camps are well-organized and very structured, but in a child-friendly way. Camps are sports-oriented, but kids can choose which activities they want, including non-sporty ones like chess, hip-hop dance, frisbee, martial arts, and card tricks. There is no pressure on kids to throw themselves into a frenzy of activity -- while they are encouraged to participate in each chosen activity, reluctant kids are not required to. The camp's main goal is to make sure kids have fun, and they'll find an alternate approach for kids who need it. This has been really important for my shy, inattentive kid. He is not that in to sports, but he has fun at Blue Camp, and has been willing to try a big variety of activities.
Blue Camp staff have been great at letting me know when there's a problem. For example, my son has always enjoyed swim lessons at camp and had progressed to be a pretty good swimmer after five summers at Cal. But last summer he had a different reason every day for why he couldn't change in to his swimsuit. Was he too shy in the locker room? Was there a scratch on his arm that hurt when it got wet? Was he now afraid of the water? What??!! The aquatic director phoned me every afternoon to tell me what had happened in swim class that day, and to suggest a variety of strategies to help him feel more comfortable. For such a large camp, this level of personal attention impressed me.
A key reason why this is such a good camp is the counselors, who are mostly in their late teens and early 20s, who return to camp year after year (and often attended as kids themselves). They are uniformly friendly and enthusiastic, and often play the sports themselves that the teach. Each counselor is in charge of a small group of kids, and they really get to know them and look out for them. There are also lots of friendly high school aged CITs helping out, so there is a great staff-to-kid ratio. The camp does a great job selecting and training their counselors, and I think this is a reflection of the bigger picture - a well-run, well-organized camp. Ginger