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2013 Kansas City Summer Camps: Special Needs Camps

Posted February 22, 2013 5:06pm by kckids@revisin.com

Special needs kids and families need special places to have fun summer experiences. Sometimes, the right environment can be hard to find. We’ve pulled together a list of camps that fit a range of special needs. Hopefully one will fit what your family is looking for! And please let us know if you become aware of others we could add to this list.

Basic Listings:

  • Autism Concepts Inc. (Lenexa, KS) In the past, Autism Concepts has put together (2) 2-week day camps for kids on the autism spectrum who are vocal kindergarten through middle school students with emerging social and play skills.
  • Autism Works (Liberty, MO) Offering YEAR-ROUND support for families! Social Clubs are for children ages 5 and up and meet twice a month focusing on creating a fun environment to learn social skills. Kids Club is for children on the autism spectrum ages 5-8. Tween Club is for children on the autism spectrum ages 9-12, and Teen Club is for teens on the spectrum ages 13-18. *Yoga Classes available children on the spectrum ages 5 and up and also for mothers who care for them. *Parent Support group is for parents/caregivers of children on the spectrum. *They also offer workshops and plenty of resources.
  • Blue Valley Recreation (Overland Park, KS) – Blue Valley Rec offers many adapted and integrated leisure activities designed for individuals with disabilities. Includes swim lessons, bowling, dancing, cooking, open swim, open gym, a walking club, T-ball, softball, golf and bocce ball. Single day events include miniature golf, gardening, karaoke and much more!
  • Boy Scouts Rotary Scout Camp (Lee’s Summit, MO) offers long-term camping experience to Boy Scouts with special needs.
  • Brain Balance of Overland Park (OP, KS) – Get a Jumpstart for the Next School Year. The Brain Balance Program can improve your child’s social, academic and behavioral abilities. To find out how – Call (913) 627-9400.
  • Camp Barnabas (Purdy, MO – southwest Missouri) is a residential camp which focuses on people with all types of disabilities. Campers can be anywhere from 7 to 35, depending on their disability. Each session is directed to specific needs: developmental disabled, physically disabled, autistic/Asperger’s, blind/visually impaired, deaf/hearing impaired, amputees, chronic illnesses and others. Siblings are also welcome and have their own programming.
  • Camp Carousel (held at the Heartland Presbyterian Center, Parkville, MO) is a two day camp for families who are grieving the loss of a loved one. This retreat is hosted by Kansas City Hospice and offers relaxation and activities for family members of all ages.
  • Camp ChiMer (National Kidney Foundation of Kansas and Western Mo. and Children’s Mercy Hospital) is located east of Excelsior Springs, MO. It offers overnight outdoor experiences for children 8-18 who undergo dialysis or who have had a kidney transplant. There is on-site medical care and no fee for those whose applications are accepted.
  • Camp Encourage (held at Tall Oaks Conference Center in Linwood, KS) is tailored to children with autism, Asperger and related pervasive developmental disorders. Peer models (children without an autism spectrum disorder) will also participate in the camp.
  • Camp Erin (held at the Heartland Presbyterian Center, Parkville, MO) is a two day overnight camp for kids ages 6 to 17 who are grieving the death of someone close to them. Staffed by certified grief counselors and hosted by Kansas City Hospice, this camp is free and early application is recommended.
  • Camp Explore (Olathe, KS) Skills to Succeed’s Explore Camp is a social skills camp for grade-school age children with Autism and other developmental or clinical needs.  This pirate-themed summer camp enhances imagination and adventure encouraging children to explore the social world while developing communication skills, making friends, and solving problems
  • Camp Hickory Hill (Columbia, MO) is a summer camp for children with diabetes. They offer a supportive medically supervised environment where children with type 1 diabetes, ages 8-17 have an opportunity to discover kindred spirits, build self-confidence, learn about managing their diabetes more independently and have a whole lot of fun.
  • Camp Hope (Claflin, KS – about 60 miles from Kansas City) is open for children from 7-18 who are in cancer treatment or in remission from cancer. The camp  runs the third week of June and is staffed by pediatric oncologists and nurses. This is an overnight camp with all of the traditional camp activities. A day camp is offered for kids ages 4-6.
  • Camp MITIOG (Excelsior Springs, MO) is a camp for young people with spina bifida. All of the traditional camping activities are offered, with a one to one camper/counselor ratio and medical staff on-site.
  • Camp Planet D – Kansas City (Kansas City, MO) is an overnight camp for kids with diabetes, ages 7 to 14. Newly diagnosed and first time attendees receive priority admission.
  • Camp Quality is an overnight camp for children with cancer, ages 3-17.  Every child has an assigned adult “companion” and an on-site oncology specialist is available for every camper.
  • Camp Wilderness (Lawson, MO) accepts children with hemophilia and other bleeding disorders. Ages 7 to 17 welcome.
  • Cheley / Children’s Hospital Burn Camp (Estes Park, CO) hosts children ages 8 to 18 who have been hospitalized in burn units across the country for a very traditional camp experience with specially trained staff.
  • Children’s Therapy Group (Overland Park, KS) is a multi-disciplinary clinic specializing in sensory integration therapy. In the past, they offered fine motor enhancement classes for preschoolers and kindergartners, a handwriting class for ages 6-8, cursive writing for kids 7-10, Fun with Language for kids 3-9 who have problems with social, pragmatic and expressive language, sensory motor group for preschoolers, creative arts for kids 6-9 and water fun for kids with behavioral, learning and motor coordination problems.
  • CLO’s Midnight Farm Day Camp (Baldwin City, KS) Midnight Farm will hold two day camps for children with Autism. Activities include crafts, singing, animal interactions and more. Horseback riding will be available for an additional fee.  For registration information please contact bonniebruns@clokan.org or call Diane Bannerman Juracek at 785-218-9329.
  • Concerned Care, Inc. (North Kansas City, MO) hosts recreational sports, youth day camp and vocational day camp for young people with developmental disabilities. Campers must be Clay County residents (due to funding issues).
  • Express Yourself Camp (Bonner Springs, KS) To help children ages 6-14 deal with the unique feelings following a loss or life change, the YMCA of Greater Kansas City and St. Luke’s Home Health and Hospice are offering a special day camp at Camp Naish. Small group activities will include music therapy, a multi-media project, physical activities, arts and crafts, skits and a closing ceremony. Campers will learn different ways to express their feelings of loss and to remember a loved one or a life change in a celebratory way.
  • Girl Scouts Juliette Low Camp (Jackson County, MO) is held at Rotary Youth Camp at Lake Jacomo for girls with physical disabilities, ages 8-18. Campers are encouraged to invite friends without disabilities to share the camp experience with them. This is an overnight camp, lasting 6 nights.
  • The Handwriting Clinic @ Developmental Possibilities (Overland Park, KS) The handwriting clinic was created to provide intense, fun, activities to promote handwriting development.  The clinics last 2 hours and are 2 weeks in duration, Mondays-Thursdays throughout the summer and are broken down into grade level sessions.  Please contact Julie Morrow for more information at: juliemorrow9@gmail.com
  • Horizon Academy (Roeland Park, KS) sponsors summer classes for kids with average or above average intelligence who are struggling with basic skills due to learning disabilities. This summer, they offer a full summer school program, a reading clinic, a math clinic, cooking, creative dramatics and PAWS Jr. dog training.
  • Horsin’ Around at Midnight Farm Horsin’ Around is a horsemanship day camp for children ages 6-16 with or without special needs. Campers will learn riding skills, general horse knowledge and ground skills to help them become well-rounded riders. Camp will also include horse-themed crafts, games, pony parade and a horse show on the last day.  For registration information email dionnenewton@clokan.org or call 785-979-1889.
  • Johnson County Park and Recreation District offers 39 summer camp programs for ages 3-18.  They have programming available for special populations, as well (SEE “NEW HORIZONS CAMP” BELOW).  Dates, locations and fees vary.
  • Joint Adventures (Missouri) is a five-night overnight camp for children with rheumatic diseases.  For more information, contact the Department of Rheumatology at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
  • Joshua Center Summer Camp (Kansas City, MO) is sponsoring a summer overnight camp at Lake Jacomo (Rotary Youth Club Camp) for 5 days/4 nights in June. The camp is for 3rd to 8th graders with Tourette Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
  • KidsTLC Camp Connection is a social skills camp for children grades K-8 with Asperger’s Syndrome, high-functioning autism and related social challenges. The camp will be held at the KidsTLC Kelly Family Foundation Center, 620 South Rogers Road, Olathe, KS 66062 the weeks of June 10th, June 17th, July 15th and July 22nd, 2013.  Please call (913) 324-3628 for more information.  http://kidstlc.org/what-we-do/autism/
  • Lake Doniphan offers Christian youth camps, camps for kids with spina bifida and kidney disease, family camps, and a karate camp.  12856 Doniphan Lake Road, Excelsior Springs, MO 64024
  • Midwest Brachial Plexus Network, Inc. and Rotary Youth Organization (Lee’s Summit, MO) offer a three day overnight camp for children with brachial plexus birth injuries.
  • Missouri Children’s Burn Camp (Lake of the Ozarks, MO) is held at Camp Sabra, a residential camp. This is a program for children ages 6 to 17 with burn injuries and offers traditional camp activities. There is no charge for the camp.
  • Muscular Dystrophy Camp is a one-week residential camp for anyone ages 6 to 21 with a neuromuscular disease. Contact the local MDA office for details – 913-859-0632
  • Sertoma Fantasy Sports Camp (Overland Park, KS) sponsored a three day camp for children with speech and hearing disorders last summer. Baseball and lacrosse instruction were provided. Interpreters were on-site to help with instruction.
  • Sertoma-Schiefelbusch Communication Camp (Lawrence, KS) is a collaborative effort between the Lawrence Sertoma Club and the Shiefelbusch Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at KU. The camp is open to children ages 4 to 10 with and without communication challenges.
  • Sky’s The Limit Studios (Lawrence, KCK and Overland Park, KS) – STL offers specialized art therapy groups for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other special needs.  Check the website for details or call.
  • Spofford Scamps Summer Day Camp (south Kansas City, MO) holds day camps at their campus near Oakwood Country Club. An unbelievably good resource for Kansas City, Spofford works with children with behavioral issues related to abuse, neglect and mental health disorders. Day camp is offered for children, ages 6-13. Camp goals are related to social skills development, peer interaction, self-confidence and conflict resolution.
  • Camp Kidz Rock sponsored by Successful Sounds (Overland Park, KS) – for vocal children ages 4-10 with immature or delayed social and play skills, Asperger’s, High-Functioning Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Sensory Integration Dysfunction and related play/social delays.
  • Sugar Creek Equinapy (Pleasant Hill, MO) offers summer therapeutic riding programs for special needs children.
  • Superkids Summer Asthma Camp (Asthma & Allergy Foundation of Greater Kansas City.) For asthmatic children who have completed grades 2-6.  Children will learn about asthma management through crafts, games and outdoor activities, including swimming. Medical professionals are always on hand. An inspiring and empowering week for children (and lots of FUN!)
  • Wonderland Camp (Lake of the Ozarks) is a residential camp for children with developmental and physical challenges. All of the traditional camp activities are offered. There are also special weeks for children with Prader Willi Syndrome and brain injuries. Plus a wheelchair accessible treehouse!
  • YMCA (20 locations in the metro) offers camps for 5-11 year olds and run June – early August.  Bonus:  before and after-camp care is available, as is financial assistance.

Please feel free to let us know about any other great camp out there for Kansas City kids with special needs!


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