Six Local Summer Camps for Children and Teens with Special Needs: 2021

Thursday, 22 April, 2021 - 1:00 pm

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Summer camp is a special experience for children and teens all over the world. Finding summer camp opportunities for children with special needs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, can be challenging. Continue reading for great summer camp options for children and teens with special needs in Washington!


Blue Compass Camps

Multiple locations including Poulsbo, Stanwood, and Port Orchard, WA

Ages 10-22

These guided adventure camps are focused on building social skills and self-confidence in children and teens, including those with Asperger’s, ADHD and high-functioning autism. Programs are designed to assist campers to utilize interpersonal skills and social interaction tools, and demonstrate to them that they can overcome physical, social and confidence issues to exceed their own expectations. Blue Compass’s motto: “Find your comfort zone and step one inch further into doubt, worry and possibly anxious moments and prove to yourself that you are stronger than you thought.” Campers participate in a wide range of outdoor experiences at overnight camps in several locations in the Puget Sound area. Activities are dependent on the camp, but may include horseback riding, kayaking, backpacking, rock climbing, high ropes courses, and arts and crafts.


Seattle Children’s PlayGarden

Ages 3-18

Seattle, WA 

Campers enjoy an urban oasis of gardens at Seattle Children’s PlayGarden, located in South Seattle. This fully inclusive, nature-based summer camp experience is designed for kids with disabilities and their typically developing peers. Participants have fun with art, science and almost anything they can dream up. Campers dig around in the gardens, meet chickens and rabbits, climb into the tree fort and play on a playground designed for people of all abilities. Camp runs four days a week and has themes like “Garden Explorers” and “Green Thumbs.”


Lions Camp Horizon

Ages 12+

Blaine, WA

Lions Camp Horizon welcomes campers with disabilities and special needs ages 12 and up. This is a fantastic opportunity for teens and adults to get involved in a summer camp experience! Lions Camp Horizon offers two camps: Base Camp and Adventure Camp. These are both five-day overnight camps. Lions Camp Horizon focuses on inclusion for all and views disability as a culture, with camp as a way to celebrate it. 


Outdoors for All

Ages 5-17

Multiple King County locations

This fittingly named non-profit foundation’s day camps ensure that youth of all abilities participate in outdoor sports and recreation. Campers try a range of sports, such as kayaking, rock climbing, cycling and swimming. In addition to athletic endeavors, campers partake in field trips to local zoos, parks, aquariums and other community excursions. Themed Outdoors for All camps and activities are held at various locations throughout King County.


Aspiring Youth Summer Camp

Ages 8-18

King County, WA 

Aspiring Youth welcomes all campers who would benefit from small-group settings and social skills support, including those with a diagnosis of autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, learning disabilities or other similar traits. Pick from age-based traditional day camps or theme-based camps with choices that include video production, habitat restoration and art. With incredible enrichment activities as a foundation, Aspiring Youth’s master’s level counselors help campers build confidence and connect to new friends. Day camps take place in Redmond, Seattle and Bellevue, with before- and after-care options; sessions are also offered in South Seattle and West Seattle during select weeks.


Camp Stand by Me

Age 7-21

Vaughn, WA

Easterseals Washington serves children and adults with disabilities at its barrier-free summer camp and respite service on the Key Peninsula. At Camp Stand By Me, children and adults of all ability levels partake in a traditional overnight summer camp experience, right down to eating s’mores around an evening campfire. The camp’s fully accessible and adaptive environment enables campers to enjoy camp activities, such as swimming, canoeing and archery. Camp Stand By Me also offers a long-weekend family camp and weekend respite camps during the school year.

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