Special Needs Summer Camps

Summer Camps in SC

General/Multiple Disability

Aerie Experiences

Date: Various camps from June 1 - August 2
Where: Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee
Cost: $2400

Participants:  Children, ages 8-17, diagnosed with Neurobiological Disorders, Aspergers, Learning Disabilities, Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, High Functioning Autism, Pervasive Developmental Delays and/or ADHD.

Description: The summer camp is designed to offer wilderness and outdoor camp experiences to the “nontraditional” camper. Campers will spend eight days and seven nights exploring the southeast’s scenic wilderness.

Matthew Weneta


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Arts Access SC Summer Camp

Dates: Various dates throughout June and July
Where: Previously North Charleston, SC
Cost: Call for updated info

Participants: Middle school and high school students with disabilities, if they have had at least one session of Batik with Arianne King Cromer, Master Batik Artist

Description: ARTS ACCESS South Carolina (formerly Very Special Arts South Carolina) hosts two three week sessions to teach art to children with disabilities. Artists from different parts of the state, sometimes with disabilities themselves, are brought in to mentor the children. The camp is inclusive, so sometimes children without disabilities are brought in, as well.

Contact: Julia Brown at 803-603-4450 or jbrown@arts.sc.gov

Website: ARTS ACCESS SC Website (formerly VSA SC) or Facebook page or ARTS ACCESS SC

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Camp Adam Fisher

Date: June 13 - 20
Camp Bob Cooper, Summerton, SC
Cost: $625 (+$100 late fee)

Participants: Children with diabetes ages 6-17

Description: Camp Adam Fisher is an annual summer born in 1968 out of a father's wish for his daughter. They offer all the experiences, lessons benefits of summer camp to children with diabetes, while teaching them how to live longer and healthier lives. They do so in a safe, well-monitored 
environment where professional attention can be afforded to each camper's individual needs.

Website: Camp Adam Fisher webpage

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Camp Building Dreams

Date: Contact Laurens County DSN Board for exact dates
Laurens, SC
Cost: Free

Participants: Children ages 3-7

Description: The Laurens County Disabilities and Special Needs Board provides summer day camps for children and young adults with special needs that live in Laurens County. We offer two camps based on the age of the participant. Camp Building Dreams supports children ages 3-7, while Camp Good Times supports individuals ages 8-21. The camps are offered at no charge to the participants.  Both camps include opportunities for swimming, music, crafts, games and field trips.

Website: Laurens County DDSN Board website

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Camp Burnt Gin

Date: Early June to mid August
Where: Wedgefield, SC (Sumter County)
Cost: No charge

Participants: Four  six  day sessions for children 7 – 15 years old, two six day sessions for teenagers 16 – 20 years old, and a four day session for young adults, 21 – 25 years old.

Description: Camp Burnt Gin is a residential summer camping program. Activities include arts and crafts, nature study, drama, dance, sports, games, swimming and boating.  All activities are adapted so that every child can participate. CBG offers children who have special needs the chance to meet new friends, learn recreational skills, improve their self esteem and independence.

Camp Burnt Gin is accredited by the American Camp Association.

Contact:For more information contact the Camp Director, Marie Aimone (803-898-0784 or campburntgin@dhec.sc.gov) or go to the camp's website: www.scdhec.gov/campburntgin

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Camp 'Can Do'

Date: June 27 - July 1
MUSC, Charleston, SC
Cost: Free

Participants: Children ages 6-17 who have been treated for serious burn injuries.

Description: Camp ‘Can’ Do provides a safe, supportive, fun outdoor environment and a variety of social, recreational, and educational activities for campers. Camp activities may include fishing, swimming, boating and canoeing, games, ropes courses, arts and crafts, entertainment, a dance party, field trips, firefighter relay games, and much more. Camp ‘Can’ Do provides opportunities for personal growth, increased self-esteem, and development of leadership skills. 

Website: Camp 'Can Do' webpage

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Camp Created to Live

Date: June 15 - 18, July 20 - 23
The Big Red Barn Retreat, Blythewood, SC
Cost: $45 per day

Participants: Youth ages 12-18 with special needs or learning differences.

Description: Camp Created to Live is a camp created by Exceptional Experiences and Live2Create Center for the Arts. The purpose of the camp is to strengthen the camper's overall personal and life skills. Through the expressive arts, the camp will illuminate personal experiences and increase creative potential. Each day campers will engage in a different community-related arts themed activity. At the end of the week, campers will conclude with a final product or performance. Campers will be instructed in a variety of media and encouraged to venture outside their comfort zones, as they are educated on responsibilities and specific skills to strengthen a person's overall experience and life skills.

Website: Register for Camp Created to Live

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Camp Discovery

Date: Four one-week programs from June through July
Where: Blythewood, SC
Cost: $185 per one week camp

Participants: Children with  emotional and self perception issues, mental or physical challenges,or learning differences

Description: Camp Discovery is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing therapeutic recreation and experiential learning programs in a natural setting.  Situated among 100 acres of trails, woodlands, pastures, and creeks in Blythewood, SC, our programs take full advantage of this beautiful landscape and provide a safe, accepting emotional environment where children, youth and young adults can learn, heal and grow.

Camp Discovery is offering four one-week camps as part of its Earth Keepers summer camp program.

Website: Camp Discovery Earth Keepers information page

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Camp Good Times

Date: Contact Laurens County DSN Board for specific dates
Where: Laurens, SC

Participants: Children ages 8-21

Description: The Laurens County Disabilities and Special Needs Board provides summer day camps for children and young adults with special needs that live in Laurens County. We offer two camps based on the age of the participant. Camp Building Dreams supports children ages 3-7, while Camp Good Times supports individuals ages 8-21. The camps are offered at no charge to the participants.  Both camps include opportunities for swimming, music, crafts, games and field trips.

Website: Laurens County DDSN board website

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Camp Hope

Date: Four sessions (three one-week camps, one two-week camp) throughout the summer, each accepting a different age group. The one-week camps begin June 15, June 22, and June 29, and the two-week camp is from July 13-25. See Clemson Outdoor Lab Dates and Rates page for more details.

Where: Clemson Outdoor Lab, 415 Charlie White Trail, Pendleton, SC

Cost: See Dates and Rates page for more details, as prices change.

Participants: Individuals age 8 and over with developmental disabilities

Description: Jaycee Camp Hope is a statewide residential camp for mentally challenged citizens. Its purposes are to give the camper helpful experiences in an outdoor environment, develop the ability to work and play as a group, and provide new experiences unique to a camp setting. The SC Junior Chamber of Commerce has provided financial support for every camper attending Jaycee Camp Hope since 1969. Individuals participating in Camp Hope are ages 8 and older. Campers are grouped according to age, level of functioning, and previous camp and social experience.

Contact: Camp Hope website

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Camp Porcupine

Date: June (check site)
Where: Self Regional Healthcare, Greenwood, SC
Cost: Free

Participants: Cchildren with diabetes.

Description: Specially-trained counselors teach children living with diabetes how to successfully manage their disease. Camp activities teach kids life-saving information such as: meal planning, Insulin administration, blood glucose monitoring, medication maintenance and the life skills necessary to deal with diabetes. 

Contact: rwise@selfregional.org

Website: Diabetes Camps Listing (search for Porcupine)

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Camp Rise Above

Date: July 13-31
Where: James Island County Park, Charleston , SC
Cost: Free

Participants: Children between the ages of 6 and 17 years old who have heart or kidney disease, sickle cell anemia, brain tumors, or other medical conditions (see website).

Description: Camp Rise Above believes that all children deserve the chance to have life-changing camp experiences regardless of their medical condition. Six summer camp sessions are held each July at James Island County Park and are staffed with nurses, doctors, and one-on-one volunteers to ensure a safe and memorable camp experience. Camp sessions are two days long and include a variety of activities such as swimming, rock climbing, fishing, boating, archery, arts and crafts, and much more. All camp programs are free to families.

Website: www.campriseabove.org

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Camp Spearhead

Date: Various 5 day camps through June and July
Where: Pleasant Ridge Camp & Retreat Center, Marietta, SC
Cost: Rates vary by county of residence. See application on camp website.

Participants: Ages 8 years old & up; Children & adults with disabilities; Camp Spearhead reserves the right to determine eligibility of potential campers. Eligibility is determined through application forms and, if necessary, through interviews with potential camper and parent, guardian, or caregiver.

Description: Camp Spearhead, founded in 1968 and located in the foothills of upstate SC, is a residential special needs camp for children (8 and up) and adults with special needs. Each summer Spearhead serves nearly 600 campers over the course of the eight week season. During the school-year Spearhead offers continued social and recreational opportunities through the popular Weekend Program.

Website: Camp Spearhead website

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Camp Sunshine

Date: Two sessions in June and July
Where: Denny Terrace Community Center, 6429 Bishop Ave., Columbia, SC
Cost: $300 per session or $550 for both

Participants: Children and young adults with disabilities

Description: Camp Sunshine is available in two, three–week sessions every weekday during the summer. Activities provided by the staff of the Richland County Recreation Commission’s Adaptive Recreation Department include arts and crafts, drama, basketball, soccer, and usually a weekly field trip.

Contact: Camp Sunshine page

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Camp Sun Fun

Dates: June 29 - July 10
Where: Kershaw County Recreation Department Gym, 1042 W. DeKalb St., Kershaw, SC
Cost: $40 per camper

Participants: Ages 6-21 with developmental disabilities

Description: Each year the Recreation Department and the United Way of Kershaw County sponsors a day-camp for the developmentally disabled ages 6 to 21. Activities include arts and crafts, nature study, active and passive games, swimming, dance and rhythm, field trips and more. Free lunches are provided by the United Way and the USDA Summer Food Program. Anyone interested in participating, call the Recreation Department for more details. 

Contact: Kershaw County Recreation Department Summer Camps webpage

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Camp Treasure Chest - Beaufort and Bluffton

Dates: Two sessions in June and July
Where: Beaufort, Bluffton, and Hilton Head
Cost: Contact for details

Session 1: Special needs children ages 6-12
Session 2: Special needs teens and young adults ages 13-21

Description: Camp Treasure Chest offers music therapy, safety awareness, arts and crafts, bowling, swimming, sports, games, and much more for children with special needs. Lunch and healthy snacks provided. Applicants are accepted on a first come first serve basis and the applicant must be DDSN eligible. Check the SC DDSN page to find out if a child or young adult is eligible.

Contact: ABLE Foundation page for Camp Treasure Chest; Erin Womack, camp director - (843)255-6292

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Challenge Camp

Dates: June 15 - July 31
Where: Island Recreation Center, Hilton Head, SC
Cost: $50 per week

Participants: Children in the Hilton Head area ages 4-13 with special motor, social, or cognitive needs

Description: The Challenge Camp at the Hilton Head Island Recreation Center is a special needs service incorporated into the Center's primary Summer Camp. The Summer Camp's daily activities include arts & crafts, swimming and games, theatrical activities including skits, improvisation, karaoke, charades, storytelling, puppetry, and more. There are also weekly theme-based field trips. Campers must provide their own lunch, swimsuit and towel. Two snacks are provided throughout the day.

Contact: Island Recreation Center Summer Camp webpage

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EQUIP Summer Series

Dates: Every Tuesday, July 7 - August 11
Where: Able South Carolina, Columbia and Greenville offices
Cost: Free

Participants: Individuals ages 14-25 with any disability

Description: Equip is a program FOR young adults with disabilities led BY young adults with disabilities. The Equip Summer Series will allow participants to understand disability rights, accomplish goals, participate in community activism, and plan for the future, make friends, and have fun, and learn how to make a difference in the community.

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iCan Bike

Dates: August 3-7
Where: Taylors First Baptists Church, Taylors, SC
Cost: Contact camp for prices

Participants: Children 8 years or older with a disability and the following requirements:

  • Able to walk without assistive device
  • Willing and able to wear a properly fitted bike helmet
  • Able to sidestep to both sides
  • Minimum inseam of 20”
  • Maximum weight 220 lbs.
  • Able to attend camp all 5 days

Description: iCan Bike uses a fleet of adapted bicycles, a specialized instructional program and a trained staff to teach individuals with disabilities how to ride a bike.  Riders attend the same 75-minute session each day for five consecutive days (M – F) whereby they are physically assisted and encouraged by two volunteer “spotters”. Over the course of the 5-day camp the adapted bike is adjusted to gradually introduce more instability in an effort to challenge riders at their own individual pace. The week is concluded with an award ceremony.

Website: iCan Shine program site
E-mail: icanbikegreenvillesc@gmail.com

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Irmo/Chapin Recreation Commission Activities

The Irmo/Chaping Recreation Commission has many events and throughout the summer for special needs individuals. Some are listed here. You can find the full list on the Irmo/Chapin Therapeutic Recreation Guide. They have an Activity Guide which contains a full list of programs offered.

Camp YOUniversity

Dates: July 28-30
Age: Adults
Price: $74
Location: See description
Description: This camp gives young adults with special needs opportunities to socialize through lunch and a small town tour each day. Campers will visit the Lexington County Museum/Harbor Inn, Batesburg Leesville Peach Tree Rock/Shealy’s BBQ, Newberry’s Wells Japanese Garden/Zaxby’s and North Augusta’s Brick Yard Park/McDonalds.  

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MDA Summer Camps

Date, Time, Location: Contact the local MDA for details, as it varies by state
Cost: Free

Participants: Children with muscular dystrophy.

Description: Since 1955, MDA has built bridges and knocked down barriers for youngsters with muscular dystrophy and related diseases by providing a week-long summer camp. MDA supports nearly 80 summer camps across the country. MDA camps is offer a wide range of activities specially designed for young people who have limited mobility or use wheelchairs. Although structured, camp programs are conducted in a relaxed  atmosphere that gives campers an unmatched opportunity to develop lifelong friendships, share interests and build self-confidence. 

Website: MDA Summer Camp website

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Pattison’s Academy Summer Day Camp

Date: June 29 - July 4
Where: 2014 Bees Ferry Road, North Charleston, SC (Grace on the Ashley Baptist Church)
Cost: $50 per week

Participants: Children ages 1-16 years old who have multiple and\or severe disabilities (Physical impairments, visual, hearing, cognitive impairments). Note: They cannot accept children whose primary diagnosis is autism or behavioral disorders because they will not have the staffing to provided the constant one on one supervision that many of these children deserve.

Description: Pattison's Academy Summer Camp provides therapy, enrichment and FUN for the children and a nice break for the care givers of these children. In 2012, over 50 children from around the Lowcountry participated in very active days of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and field trips.

Contact: Patterson's Academy Summer Day Camp website or 843-849-6707

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SOAR Camps

Dates: Various camps from late May to mid-August
Where: SOAR North Carolina Base Camp, Balsam, NC
Cost: Varies by program.

Participants: Youth to adults with LD/ADHD. Varies by program. See SOAR Summer Course Availability for details.

Description: Success Oriented Achievement Realized features success-oriented, high adventure program for preteens, teens and adults with Learning Disabilities (LD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder (AD/HD). Emphasis is placed on developing self-confidence, social skills, problem-solving techniques, a willingness to attempt new challenges and the motivation which comes through successful goal orientation.

Contact: SOAR website

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Summer Music Groups

Date: June - August
Where: 1931 Bull Street, Suite D, Columbia, SC
Cost: $135 for 8 weeks or $18 for individual group

Participants: Children of all needs from toddlers to age 10 (depending on group)

Description: The Key Changes Music Therapy summer music groups are will focus on positive group music making, social skills, musicianship, songwriting, and self expression. Participants will learn not only about music, but themselves and their peers. Social opportunities will include group drumming, songwriting, and a variety of musical activites designed to enable learning of and practice of social skills.

Contact: Key Changes Music Summer Music Groups page

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Summer PAALS

Date: June 22-26, July 13-17, July 20-24
Where: Big Red Barn Retreat and Lonnie B. Nelson Elementary School, Columbia, SC
Cost: $275

Participants: Ages 11-14 years old (11- 19 for youth with disabilities)

Description: Learn the basics of service dog training, how to help people in the community, and work side by side with other youth and individuals with disabilites, all while pairing up to train a service dog candidate.

Contact: Jen Rogers at (803)788-7063

Website: PAALS website

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Super Summer Camp

Date: Various sessions throughout June, July, and August
Where: Irmo, with trips to Greenville, Florence, Charleston, and Charlotte
Cost: $125 (refundable) / $143 (non-refundable) per week

Participants: Children with special needs between the ages of 8 and 21 who are moderately independent in all activites of daily living.

Description: The camp consists of indoor and outdoor activities such as crafts, games, canoeing, and field trips. There will be two field trips per week and a visit to a local park every Friday for a picnic. Camp includes two field trips per week and a picnic at a local park every Friday. Bring a bag lunch each day. Morning and afternoon snacks are provided. Staff to child ratio is 1:5. If closer supervision is needed for your child, a personal assistant will need to be provided for attendance.

Website: Irmo/Chapin Recreation Commission Therapeutic Recreation schedule

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Teen Buddies

Date: June 22 - 26
R.L. Jones Center, 391 Egypt Road, Mt. Pleasant, SC
Cost: $155 resident/$185 non-resident

Participants: Middle and high school students with and without disabilities

Description: TEEN BUDDIES will be offered as a summer camp focusing on teens with differing abilities and handicapping conditions. Teens requiring one-on-one assistance will be required to provide his/her own helper to assist them this year (helper must pay his/her own way). We also welcome teens without disabilities to join us. Swimming, games, daily field trips, and friendships will encircle all teens involved. Teens need to bring a bag lunch, change of clothing, swimsuit, and towel daily.

Website: Mt. Pleasant Recreation Department website

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Trident Academy Enrichment Program

Date: June 8 - July 3
Trident Academy in Mt. Pleasant
Cost: $850 for first class, see site for details

Participants: Children ages 6 - 12 with learning differences

Description: The Summer Enrichment program provides a short, intensive program of remediation through small group instruction. Classes are designed to remediate deficiencies as well as provide further development in reading comprehension, written expression, spelling & vocabulary, and mathematics using multi-sensory techniques.

Website: Trident Academy website

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Camp Breathe Easy

May 16 - Charleston
June 27 - Midlands
Charleston - Burke High School at the Rhett Building, 244 President Street
Midlands - 1041 Harbor Drive, West Columbia
Cost: Free

Participants: Children ages 7 to 14 with asthma and their parents

Description: Children will attend an educational session, during which they learn asthma management techniques. Parents will also attend the American Lung Association’s Asthma 101 program. Asthma experts will be on hand to answer any questions about asthma, and parents will also take home an Asthma 101 Resource booklet. There will also be fun activities for children and adults.

Brittany Greer
American Lung Association in South Carolina

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Autism Spectrum Disorder

Camp Good Times

Date: Two different weeks in June
Where: Hunley Park Elementary School, Charleston, SC
Cost: Price varies by age and condition. See camp application for details

Participants: Campers with autism and friends ages 3-19

Description: Camp Good Times provides the only camp in the Lowcountry devoted exclusively to children with autism and their friends. Our counselors are trained in the field and design programs to promote socialization, opportunities for children to explore their community during planned outings, and for two weeks a year - just be kids. 

Typical camp activities include swimming, field trips, sports, arts and crafts, dancing, singing, playing instruments and talent shows. A recreation specialist is on staff to plan outdoor activities. Each year Camp Good Times offers a "sensory room" equipped with a platform swing, body sox, beanbags, a bounce pillow, ball pit, tactile walking path, and other soothing items for campers to enjoy. All programs are specially designed to promote socialization and to explore interaction within the community. 

Contact: Camp Good Times website

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Camp Lakey Gap

Date: Five week-long camps for children of varying ages (and one week for adults 18+).
Where: Christmount Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina
Cost: $1,775 for one camper.

Participants: Children with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder or a related communication disorder. Must also have manageable behavior and health care needs, to the level of the staff's training. Guardians must live, be vacationing, or have an emergency contact in an 8 hour radius of Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Description: During a week at Camp Lakey Gap (with 1:1 and 1:2 staff support),  people with autism develop strong social skills and self esteem by experiencing success with peers, being empowered to take leadership roles, successfully trying new things, and being supported in a positive and loving environment.

Contact: Camp Lakey Gap website

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Camp Puzzle Palooza

Date: June 8th to August 14th
Where: Family Y of Aiken County
Cost: $80 for children of YMCA members and $110 for non-members

Participants: Individuals with physical and/or developmental disabilities ages 5 - 21

Description: Puzzle Palooza is a week long summer camp program for children with physical and/or developmental disabilities. Campers will be integrated with their typical peers in activities like sports, games, swimming, arts and crafts, and equine education. Campers will be paired with a Puzzle Palooza Pal to assist them as much or as little as they need. Alternate or modified activities will also be available when the typical activities are not physically or developmentally appropriate.

Contact: Familiy Y Website (Camp Aiken)

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Camp T.A.L.K.

Date: Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 23rd - July 23rd
Where: Willow Ridge Church, Lexington, SC
Cost: $200 per session

Participants: Children ages 10 and up primarily with a diagnosis of Asperger's or PDD-NOS, but diagnoses other than an Autism Spectrum Disorder such as ADHD are admissable.

Description: Camp Teaching Advocacy and Life-skills to Kids (TALK) is an inclusive social skills day camp for kids. One day each week is designated as a field trip day for going out into the community to try new things and practice social skills. The other day each week focuses on guest speakers from around the community, social learning, and team building activities. The staff includes teachers, therapists, and parents of children from across the spectrum. We also have a large junior staff who act as peer mentors/junior counselors from area high schools.

Contact: Camp TALK site

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Spectrum Family Camp

Date: Two weekends in May and October
Where: YMCA Camp Greenville, Cedar Mountain, NC
Cost: $310 (includes 4 people)

Participants: Children with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder.

Description: Spectrum Family Camp offers families with children on the autism spectrum a fun and safe environment, with well-trained staff that truly understand kids on the spectrum. Traditional camp activities include: archery, hiking, crafts, riflery, canoeing (May, August), swimming (August), fishing, songs and campfires. Each family will have a private bathroom (option to share for a reduced price) and sleeping area in a heated cabin. The camp will t ake care of the details like sensory friendly activities, picture charts for easier transitions, and menus designed to accommodate diets (GF/CF or Feingold? Covered!) upon advanced request.

Contact: Spectrum Family Camp website

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Talisman Summer Camps

Date: Numerous programs throughout the Summer. Check site for details.
Where: 140 acre outdoor campus in Zirconia, NC
Cost: Varies by program

Participants: Depending on program, children and young adults with  learning disabilities, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, or high functioning autism.

Description: Talisman Programs offer summer camp, school, and an independent living program for young people with learning disabilities, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, and high functioning autism. Talisman has been offering summer camp experiences for children ages 8 to 22 since 1980 and is ACA accredited. Talisman’s summer camps provide parents with unique alternatives to ordinary summer camps and offer children with special needs a summer full of fun, adventure, and new learning experiences.

Contact: Talisman Summer Camps

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Vision and/or Hearing Impairment

Camp Leo

Date: Contact for current dates
Where: Hilton Head, SC
Cost: Free

Participants: Children ages 7-16 who are legally blind

Description: Camp Leo provides a camping experience where participants live and play together in a dormitory setting. It provides the children an opportunity for recreational activities not available at home as well as learning experiences (crafts, nature walks, dances, etc.). The camp is sponsosred by the Hilton Head and Sun City Lion's Clubs of Scouth Carolina and many local businesses and individuals.

Contact: Camp Leo overview and contact info

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Camp Lion's Den

Date: July 6 - 12
Where: Clemson Outdoor Lab, 415 Charlie White Trail, Pendleton, SC
Cost: Free

Participants: Children with visual impairments, ages 7 - 17

Description: Serving the visually handicapped children of South Carolina, this program is sponsored by the Mid-Day Lions Club of Anderson, SC and the South Carolina Lions, Inc. Any child with a visual impairment between the ages of 7 and 17 may attend. Because of the dedication and support of SC Lions Clubs, there is no fee for attendance.

Contact: cuolcamps-L@clemson.edu

Website: Clemson Outdoor Lab website

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Camp Sertoma

Date: June 14 - July 25
Where: Clemson Outdoor Lab, Clemson, SC
Cost: Free, but chosen and sponsored by Sertoma Club members

Participants: Ages 7 – 13 years old who are underprivileged or have speech/hearing impairments

Description: Sponsored by the Sertoma clubs of South Carolina, this program serves children between the ages of 7-13 who are either underprivileged or who have speech/hearing impairments. Children are placed in groups with seven other children according to age and previous camp experience with two counselors. The program offers opportunities for fun, skills development and education in an outdoor environment. Because of the support of Sertoma Clubs across the state, there is no fee to attend.

Application: Children are first selected from various schools by the Sertoma Clubs spread across the state. Applicants to the camp are put on a list. If there are cancellations or openings after this selection, then those on the list are offered the chance to attend.

Contact: Camp Sertoma website

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Camp Wonderhands

Date: July 19 - 24
Where: Camp Kinard, Batesburg-Leesville, SC
Cost: Free (thanks to scholarships)

Participants: Ages 7 – 15 years old who are deaf or hard of hearing

Description: Camp Wonder Hands is a six-day, overnight camp located at Camp Kinard Lutheran Conference Center in the Batesburg-Leesville community of Lexington County South Carolina. This camp offers enriching activities and interaction with positive deaf and hard-of-hearing adult and college aged role models from our community. The Camp Wonder Hands summer camp is unique in that it is the first, and at present, the only opportunity of its kind for deaf and hard-of-hearing children in the Midlands

Contact: Camp Wonderhands website

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SC School for the Deaf and Blind Outreach Services

While not a summer camp, the School for the Deaf and Blind does offer special programs during the summer for children who are sensory disabled. You can find more details and contact information on the SCSDB Outreach Services page.

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Summer Teen Program

Date: Contact for dates
Where: SC Commission for the Blind, Columbia, SC
Cost: Contact for details

Participants: Teens 16years old with sever visual impairments

Description: The Summer Teen Program is designed to provide meaningful work experience and vocational exploration to teens. It also reinforces and expands adjustments to blindness skills and facilitates positive attitudes toward blindness while providing recreational, leisure and cultural experiences.

Contact: SC Commission for the Blind Summer Teen Program webpage

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Cancer and Blood Disorders

Camp Courage

Date: Various weekends through the summer; contact Camp Courage for more info
Pleasant Ridge Camp and Retreat Center, 4232 Highway 11, Marietta, SC
Cost: Free

Participants: Children and teens with cancer or blood disorders

Description: At Camp Courage, campers are free to play, laugh, explore, and grow in a normal developmentally appropriate way. Trained counselors and volunteers help to nurture the campers' self-confidence and provide therapeutic opportunities for individual development. The camp provides a number of traditional outdoor activities such as swimming, canoeing, wall climbing, and more. Staff of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Center, a facility of the Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center's Children's Hospital, provides 24 hour medical supervision while children are at camp.

Website: Camp Courage webpage

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Camp Debbie Lou

Date: Two sessions - July 16 - 19 and July 23 - 26
Beulah Land Plantation in Latta, SC
Cost: Free

Participants: Families with children diagnosed with cancer between ages 4-14.


Description: Camp Debbie Lou is nestled in the scenic eastern coastal region of South Carolina. The low-country ranch sits on 150 acres in Latta, South Carolina and serves as a retreat for families needing to kick up their heels, share some laughter, and relax by a lakeside gazebo. Kids and parents can spin their wheels on the custom-designed go-cart track, splash around in bumper boats, or take a relaxing walk on the nature trails. There's something for everyone to enjoy including archery, horseshoes, crafts, and games.

Website: Camp Debbie Lou webpage

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Camp Happy Days

Date: June 27 - July 4
Camp Bob Cooper, Summerton, SC
Cost: Free

Participants: Children with cancer and siblings who are between the ages of 4-16 or age 17 if they have never attended Camp Happy Days in the past.

Description: Camp Happy Days is an action-packed week filled with more head-spinning, heart-pounding fun than a child could ever imagine. Each day children have access to waterfront activities like parasailing, swimming, boating, tubing, and fishing, as well as special program areas like woodworking, arts and crafts, painting, sewing, baking, ceramics, a giant climbing wall, high ropes adventure course and team building challenges. At night they will take part in theme dances, a talent show, professional entertainment, and classic camp experiences.

Website: Camp Happy Days webpage

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Camp Kemo

Date: June 8 - 13
River Oaks Retreat Center, Honea Path, SC
Cost: Free

Participants: Children who have or have had cancer between the ages of 5 and 18 years and siblings of children with cancer between the ages of 7 and 16 years, who receive their therapy at the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders of Children’s Hospital

Description: Camp Kemo is a weeklong summer camp for patients with cancer, ages 5–18, and their siblings. Staffed by physicians, nurses and volunteers, Camp Kemo allows campers to swim, boat, hike, and simply be children. The fun times at Camp Kemo lay important groundwork for future treatment as participants learn to trust, respect and relate to one another.

Website: Camp Kemo webpage

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Mental Health

Camp Arc

Date: Week-long sessions throughout the Summer
Where: Boyd Hill Recreation Center, Rock Hill, SC
Cost: Contact for current price

Participants: Children and adults with mental disabilities

Description: Camp Arc is a week‐long day camp predominately for children and adults with special needs.  Sessions run throughout the summer.  This is a mainstreamed camp where children with and without disabilities will enjoy a variety of activities.  Sessions include:  Children’s Camp, Children with Multiple Handicaps and Adult Camp.  Registration is first‐come, first-served.  A special event and a t‐shirt are included in the cost.   

Contact: Rock Hill Tourism webpage on Camp Arc

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Summer Camps outside of South Carolina

Extra Special People (ESP) Summer Camp

Date: Eight week-long camps from June 1 - July 31
Where: Watkinsville, GA
Cost: Bast cost of $225, but prices vary with different camps. See website.

Participants: All individuals with a diagnosed developmental disability, starting at age 4.

Description: An eight week program that provides continuous learning as well as social and recreational opportunities for young people with disabilities.  Camp runs 9:00am- 3:00pm. Before/after care can be arranged with individual staff for extra charges. Day camp is split into 4 units by age: Youngest, Younger-Middle, Older-Middle, and Oldest units.

Contact: Extra Special People Summer Camp website

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Camp Caglewood

Date: Various weekend camps starting May going through November
Where: Flowery Branch, GA
Cost: $250

Participants: Children and adults diagnosed with developmental disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder, PDD, Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy.

Description: Caglewood is a Special Needs Camping Program that serves individuals with developmental disabilities through active programming that provides enhanced life experiences, personal development, and respite opportunities. They offer several weekend camps in addition to special events.

Contact: Camp Caglewood website

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Bay Cliff Summer Therapy Camp

Date: Seven weeks starting June 20
Where: Big Bay, MI
Cost: E-mail Bay Cliff for price as it changes every year

Participants: Children, age 3-17, who move, speak, hear and/or see in a way that is different from their peers, due to a physical impairment, health issue or communication impairment.

Description: Bay Cliff provides a therapy-rich environment for children with physical impairments. Each camper receives an individualized plan, based on their needs, of one or more of the therapies listed below:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Theraphy
  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Music Therapy
  • Recreation Therapy

Contact: Bay Cliff Summer Therapy Camp website

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Camp To Be Independent

Date: July 26 - 31
Where: Camp Twin Lakes, Rutledge, GA
Cost: Free

Participants: Children and adults ages 8 – 21 with traumatic brain injury. The camp usually hosts between 35 and 40 kids.

Description: Camp TBI offers parents/caregivers a respite while their children enjoy the fully accessible facilities at Camp Twin Lakes. Children will enjoy fishing, archery, arts and crafts, a zip line, bicycling, swimming, dancing, karaoke and talent nights in the care of counselors provided by the Medical College of Georgia Occupational Therapy School.

Contact: Camp To Be Indpendent website

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Camp Chatterbox

Date: August 16 - 22
Where: Oakhurst, NJ
Cost: Different fees based on type of attendance. See website for details.

Participants: Individuals age 5-22 who are nonspeaking or severely speech impaired and functionally use synthesized Augmentative & Alternative Communication devices

Description: Camp Chatterbox, founded by Joan Bruno in 1992, is composed of two programs to aid those who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices and their family. The first, the Family Program, is for children ages 5 - 15. The second program, the Independence and Self-Advocacy Program, is for teens and adults ages 15 - 22. Both groups enjoy swimming, nature activities, campfires, and outdoor sport along with their therapy.

Contact: Camp Chatterbox website

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Camp Communicate

Date: August 19 - 23
Where: Pine Tree Camp, Bath, ME
Cost: Contact Linda Bonnar-Ivery for the current Camp Communicate price

Participants: Ages 8-20; use a high tech communication device; be accompanied by a caregiver. There are two programs, one for ages 8-14 and another for ages 15-20. Each program has a limit of 10 participants.

Description: Camp Communicate is an innovative weekend designed specifically for non-verbal children who use computerized devices, known as augmentative communication, to communicate. Each camper attends Camp Communicate along with a parent/caregiver. Parents will have the opportunity to attend workshops and share information and strategies in a supportive environment. Learning opportunities for parents will support more effective augmentative communication device use at home and will foster more proficient use in school.

Contact: Camp Communicate website

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Camps of Courage and Friendship

Date: Various sessions throughout the summer, as listed in brochure on website
Where: Maple Lake, MN
Cost: Varies. Camp offers scholarships for campers who need financial assistance. Qualified applicants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Participants: Varies depending on camp; See website for more information

Description: Friendship Ventures and Courage Center Camps have rich histories of providing exceptional and much-needed services. Camp Courage was established in 1955 to serve individuals with physical disabilities. Friendship Ventures was established in 1964, serving participants with developmental disabilities and special needs. Between the two organizations, there are five lakeside camps in Minnesota that offer safe, accessible, natural environments where children and adults with physical disabilities, sensory and language impairments, and other disabilities or illnesses discover abilities they never knew they had or they thought they had lost. Campers make new friends, and are often introduced to sports or hobbies they develop further at home or at school.

Contact: Courage Camps website

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To search for more special needs camps, you can try this site:

Very Special Camps - http://www.veryspecialcamps.com/

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