Updates - Kids Like Me Summer Camps: Q & A with Director Nicole Webb

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Director Nicole Webb with two campers at last summer’s Teen Travel Camp in San Francisco

As the school year draws to a close, many families are thinking about summer camp. The Help Group’s Kids Like Me Director Nicole Webb took a few minutes to answer some common questions from parents.

Q: I see that Kids Like Me has several different camps. How do I know which camp is right for my child?

A: We are offering three different day camps this summer for young people with autism and other special needs. Village Glen Day Camp and Teens on the Go, which includes our Teen Travel Camps, offer a specialized social skills program for young people with language, attention, social and/or sensory challenges. Village Glen Camp serves children ages 3 to 13, and Teens on the Go is for teens ages 13 to 18.  Camp Sunshine is designed for children ages 3 to 21 with moderate to severe developmental disabilities.  We’re also enrolling for Camp Discovery, a weeklong outdoor adventure camp for children ages 4 to 13 with mild to moderate special needs. Through our application and intake process, we work with parents to determine which of our camps will be the best fit for your child and ensure an appropriate peer group for learning and fun.

Q: I live in West Los Angeles. Do you have camps near me?

A: Yes!  Kids Like Me now offers all of our camps at The Help Group’s Culver City Campus. This exciting expansion allows us to meet the ever-growing needs of families on the Westside without having to bus kids over to the Valley. In addition, Camp Discovery is held at the Westside’s well-known Tumbleweed Camp, located in the Santa Monica Mountains near Bel Air.

Q: Does my child need to be enrolled at one of The Help Group’s schools to come to Kids Like Me Camp?

A: No, in fact many of our campers attend public and private schools throughout the Los Angeles area.

Q: I’m worried that camp will feel like school or therapy for my child. Will he have fun?

A: At Kids Like Me, we believe that all children need opportunities to have fun, make friends, learn new skills, connect with others and enjoy a sense of belonging. Our campers will participate in daily camp activities like field trips, art projects, sensory play, outside games, special events, animal-assisted activities, and much more. This summer we have exciting weekly themes planned like space, carnival, Wild West and superheroes. Each week there are themed days and special activities related to the overall theme of the week. Our highly trained camp staff oversee a creative and enriching program for everyone.

Q: Can you tell me more about your staff? Who will be with my child all day?

A: We have a great team of experienced therapists, counselors and returning staff who work at our summer, winter and spring break camps. All new camp staff receive extensive training on working with children with autism and related special need so that they can incorporate evidence-based practices into the daily schedule of activities. At Kids Like Me, we pride ourselves on a small camper: staff ratio to maximize individual attention as needed. At Camp Sunshine our ratio is 3:1, and at Village Glen and Teens on the Go our ratio is 4:1.

Q: My child works really hard during the school year. Shouldn’t I give him a break and let him hang out on the couch this summer?

A: Specialized summer camps offer young people with autism and other special needs a fun way to practice social, communication, cognitive, behavior and sensory skills in a safe, enriching environment.  Research has shown that children with special needs can actually regress during breaks. Camp can help maintain skills and prevent a “summer slide.”

Q: How can I find out more about camp?

A: Visit our website to check out camp schedules (www.kidslikemela.org) or contact me at nwebb@thehelpgroup.org or 818.778.7136. In order to keep our effective staff: camper ratios, space is limited, so don’t wait to sign up!