Quest Therapeutic CampsCommunity Subscriber
Hi! Fellow San Ramon mom here. Quest Therapuetics in Danville is probably the best place for a summer Social Skills camp that you could find. They are pricey and will likely be filled up quickly but they are covered by Regional Center if your child is a client. There are also good weekly social skills groups at Therapy At Play in SR.
My son went to Quest Camp in the East Bay for 10 years, from age 8–18 (3rd through 12th grades). He did both summer camp and weekly after-school camp. I cannot speak highly enough of this organization. Dr. Field and his professional associates and counselors were great people, well screened. The activities were challenging, fun, organized, well staffed and varied. Two counselors are grouped with up to 10 kids according to age. Psychologists float from group to group. Every kid is working on specific goals. The kids learn how to critique themselves, one another, and hear criticism and feedback from their counselors and the psychologists. (They learn how to recognize when they critiquing or are being critiqued unfairly, too!) He did everything from climb rock walls, to swim, to learn how to play games, to solve problems, to gain social skills, to delay gratification to successfully visit theme parks. Like all the planned activities, the theme park trips gave the kids a chance to take risks and practice skills in an unusual environment—the type of thing that often trips up non-neurotypical kids. In this one area, over the years he went from choosing to be in a group that wanted to do "tame" rides to a group that wanted to do the wildest rides. He grew so much in this program and gained such valuable insight into himself, not to mention skills such as "turning it around" when he was stuck. On many occasions I handed his new teachers or coaches the list of phrases, such as "turn it around," that Quest uses to help kids learn how to recognize and change behaviors.
My son loved Quest and was bummed to graduate from Quest this past summer. However, he expressed an interest to go back and work as a counselor in the future and they welcomed him to apply after a year or two of college.
Sarah Jones, mother of twins
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Anyone have recent experience with Quest summer camp? All the reviews on the site are pretty old. Anon
Hello, My 7 year old son has been going to the Quest After School Camp for two sessions now and I have to say it is WONDERFUL!! They have done so much for my son and we have seen improvement in his social skills, self confidence and overall behavior. We will be continuing through the summer as well. The counselors are wonderful and Dr. Bob has my son's best interest at heart. If you would like to talk with Dr. Bob he will be at the Camp Fair in Lafayette at the United Methodist Church on Saturday April 21st from 1-5pm. He is one of 30 camps that have tables but it would provide an excellent opportunity to speak with him about the summer program. Good luck, Christy
Hello, I am considering sending my 9 year old son who struggles with social skills to either Quest Camp or the Cal Asperger's Inclusion Camp this summer. Can anyone share your experiences or recommendations regarding these camps and if one is significantly better than the other. Quest requires a much more significant commute/carpool. I think the cost is about the same for both camps but if Quest is much more beneficial, I'd be willing to try it. I would be most grateful for any feedback or additional recommendations for summer activities to build social skills. Thank you. anonymous
I sent my daughter to Quest a few years ago. They have a very clear model of behavior modification with goals, checkins and rewards. The staff seemed well qualified and the setting appropriate. The problem we ran into was that my daughter learned as many new bad behaviors from the other girls in her group as goals accomplished. Ooops! I reported it to the director, but never got a response.
I know people who are very happy with it and felt it worked for their kids but by comparison I would say they have stronger personalities and issues. I guess you have to know your child. If I recall the website outlined the process they use rather well. They have an ongoing camp during the year. Perhaps you can arrange an observation with the age group of your child and see what you think? Sympathetic Parent
Re: Quest Camp or Cal Blue Camp for Social Skills
My daughter who has ADHD, LD and social problems has gone to Quest Camp 2 years in a row. I have very mixed feelings about the camp. The counselors are great--very supportive and dedicated young people. The therapists are OK. My daughter does enjoy the camp and I feel extremely comfortable sending her there because the counselors are ready, willing and equipped to deal with her behavior and special needs. The camp has a very positive, fun and inclusive atmosphere. I need summer childcare and given my daughter's problems I would not feel secure sending her to a regular camp with counselors who might not know how to support her. With that said, I feel that the smooth and slick 'huckster' approach would be better suited to sales than to organizing a camp for kids with special needs. The group therapy is not theoretically grounded in a particular social skills approach or with any organized technique (such as Michelle Winner's method). When we met with the director to ask him more about his approach and related books we could use as a resource he was very vague saying that he had 'made it up' and that there was nothing else like it out there (which is not at all true). The camp serves the most shockingly unhealthy snacks which Dr. Field uses as a reward for good behavior. The camp is also very focused on 'store' and 'points' a monetary system where for good behavior kids get to purchase items. Numerous parents have protested the unhealthy snacks and the focus on material rewards as teaching undesirable values but Dr. Field says he needs to provide these things to motivate the kids. I am going to send my daughter to the camp again this summer for a shorter amount of time because Blue and Gold camp seems too sports oriented for her. I do plan to observe Blue and Gold camp to check it out more carefully. I wish there were more choices out there. If you don't need the childcare hours during the summer you might want to look into a social skills group that meets once a week. Also, I thought that Blue and Gold camp was very structured with a different activity each hour? best wishes
Re: East Bay camp for 7-year-old with LD and social skills defect
My son, who is now 11, attended Quest Therapeutic Services summer day camp last year, and has continued in their once- weekly afterschool program this year. He'll attend again this summer.
The summer camp is in Alamo, which is a drag for working parents this side of the tunnel, but I have to say it was absolutely worth all of the driving and schedule juggling. We have since found a family to carpool with (families come from all over the Bay Area), and the afterschool program fortunately has an Oakland site.
They require a minimum 3 week attendance, which is what we did. It's quite expensive, and no financial aid (at least as of last year), and the only way I was able to do it was with significant help from my parents. But again, if it's at all possible, it's worth every penny. My son absolutely blossomed during his time there; the transformation was quite striking. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have about the camp. My son also has social skills deficits, and suffers from depression and some ADHD symptoms. There are children there with a very wide range of issues/disabilities. Emily
My hand is waving in the air and I'm shouting pick me, pick me, I know the answer to this one!! The very best and perfect place for him to go is Quest Camp. They are absolute specialists in ADHD and NLD and social stuff. Hang the cost and the commute - what he will learn will give him such a solid foundation for the next school year too. And he will have a blast too. Plus you probably will be able to car pool. Go to www.questcamps.com to check it out. Anon