December 22, 2020
Camp Akeela is a traditional New England coed overnight (sleepaway) camp in Vermont that is designed specifically for “quirky” kids. Within a well-rounded, traditional camp program, Akeela is a small, supportive community that helps campers improve their social skills.
Akeela is home to approximately 120 campers per session, along with a dedicated team of close to 100 staff members. Part of what makes the Camp Akeela experience so special is that each camper is an active, valued member of a close-knit, family-like camp community. Everyone knows one another and each camper has a role and a voice in shaping the camp from summer to summer. This is an incredibly powerful component in helping campers feel confident, competent, and connected.
Akeela campers are bright, creative boys and girls ages 9 – 17 who have experienced some difficulty connecting with their peers. Many campers have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, NVLD (also called NLD), or have a similar neurodiverse profile. Others are undiagnosed but are described as “quirky” and share some characteristics with those with a Level I ASD diagnosis.
Akeela campers report that camp is the place where they can truly be themselves. Most are in mainstreamed academic settings where they have to work very hard to fit in socially. Camp Akeela provides an opportunity to live in a community filled with people who appreciate them for who they are. They thrive at camp because they are surrounded by peers with similar experiences and a staff who understands and embraces them. Enjoying a peer group and a program designed specifically for them allows them to be more open to feedback from staff and friends, which in turn leads to profound growth and connection.
Making friends, developing self-confidence, achieving independence, and treating others with kindness and compassion are outcomes that explicitly drive everything that happens at Camp Akeela. A focus on important life skills underlies every activity at camp. For example, campers in a painting class are working on art skills and creativity as well as practicing cooperation and teamwork. What really makes Camp Akeela unique, however, is that this same art activity is carefully customized to support the specific social goals of the campers in that particular group. Yet, with all that happening behind the scenes, the camp staff never loses sight of the fact that children come to camp to have fun!
The mission at Camp Akeela is no less than to provide campers with the most incredible, life-changing summer experience on the planet. In particular, they believe in…