The Creative Education Institute is hard at work preparing for their annual Academic Fun & Fitness Camp. Since 2001, this camp has been specifically designed for children ages 6 to 19 with learning differences, including Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), dyslexia, Asperger’s syndrome, and other learning disabilities. For six weeks, Lakeland Community College* becomes their home away from home as these kids enjoy all the fun that summer has to offer.
In 2014, six-year-old Michael (pictured above) attended the Academic Fun & Fitness Camp for the first time. His family chose the full day option, which included lunch for Michael. They also participated in the after camp care program twice a week. “This camp is so incredibly organized, detail-oriented, and amazing,” recalls his mother, Margie. “I can’t think of a thing to improve it.”
Morning at Camp Features Multi-Sensory Reading and Math
During the morning hours, the focus of this “un-school” camp is on academics – multi-sensory reading and math. According to camp founder Carole Richards, “Children with learning differences often become so frustrated by school experiences that they never realize learning can be lots of fun.” The Academic Fun & Fitness Camp uses Carole’s award-winning Richards Learning Systems® and Real Life Ma+h, which are both multi-sensory systematic learning approaches. Group activities make the learning more enjoyable. Carole adds, “Campers play and have fun while gaining new perspectives on learning and developing the social skills and self-esteem needed to be successful.”
An Afternoon with a Wide Variety of Social Skills Activities
After lunch, the camp is devoted to fun social skills activities – including hands-on science, theater arts, sports, music and art therapy, martial arts and much more. Each day, the campers take part in three one-hour activities that increase social skills and introduce them to new things. Campers always look forward to the two weeks of theater, when they get to create sets and costumes and act out their own play.
Michael walked out of camp with a fondness for sports. “We could never get him to play or try sports!” said his father, Brian. “Camp increased his self-confidence and pride in himself, which is huge for us! And him!” One of Margie’s favorite memories of Michael’s experience at the Academic Fun & Fitness Camp was the Parents Day celebration. “He was so proud to be one of the presenters,” she fondly recalls. “Who would have thought that a six-year-old with anxiety issues could speak at a podium to an auditorium full of people?!”
Something New Every Year
When I asked Carole what we could expect for Camp 2015, she was happy to divulge a surprise. “This summer, our older campers (ages 12 and up) will take part in simulations on how to communicate with law enforcement.” Carole is excited about the program and how it will affect the campers. “We have a fabulous curriculum that is very visual and will teach campers to positively communicate with police in a variety of situations.” She added that she is trying to involve local police officers, too.
A Supportive and Dedicated Staff of Counselors and Volunteers
But what truly makes the camp a success is its hard-working staff and volunteers. Miss Sharon has been the Academic Fun & Fitness On-Site Camp Director for seven years. Margie fondly recalls what a difference Miss Lynn and Miss Sharon made for her son. “They both worked hard to think inside and outside the box to help him be successful. We are so grateful. They’re both truly gifted and wonderful people.” She added, “I cannot say enough good things about this amazing staff.”
Apply Today for the Academic Fun & Fitness Camp!
Applications for the Academic Fun & Fitness Camp are available online at www.unschoolcamp.org, along with more camp information. Each application is individually evaluated and a deposit is required to reserve a place. Spaces for camp do fill up quickly and campers could be turned away. Guarantee a spot for your camper and apply today!
“Mike loved camp,” concludes Brian. “He felt such a sense of pride and accomplishment. He still mentions camp to us! Including that he wants to return next summer!”
On behalf of North Coast Education Services, I would like to thank Brian and Margie for sharing this adorable picture of Michael and allowing us to share the story of his adventures at camp.
*The Academic Fun & Fitness Camp is not affiliated with or sponsored by Lakeland Community College.