Ontario camps for disabled adults
Observations and Data Collection Five campers were observed at a seven-day residential summer camp for those with special needs.
According to the American Camp Association® (ACA), social skills encompass many aspects: self- confidence, courtesy, values, reciprocity, compassion, and empathy (Gilmour and Mc Dermott 2008). There is growing recognition that typically developing children and youth who attend a residential outdoor camp experience multidimensional growth in Positive Identity, Social Skills, Positive Values and Spiritual Growth, and Physical and Thinking Skills (Catalano et al. There is a need to develop and exercise these life skills to encourage independent living, social engagement, and community involvement. Camp can serve as a primary teaching environment to foster skills, optimism, friendships, and competence (Fine 2005; Thurber et al. To avoid marginalization and successfully overcome adversity, individuals with special needs require inclusion, support, and coaching on appropriate skills. Staff observations of camper behavior were analyzed with a series of paired t-tests. There was significant camper growth in each of the four domains assessed by the CGI-SOC: Positive Identity, Social Skills, Positive Values and Spiritual Growth, and Physical and Thinking Skills.