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Monday, April 23, 2012

Summer Activities...How Are You Keeping Your Kids Occupied?

With all of this fantastic weather we’ve been having here in the Rogue Valley this week, it got me thinking about summer plans.  I hate to break it to you if you haven’t already come to this realization but school is over in six weeks.  SIX WEEKS!  How are you going to keep your kids occupied?

As part of a parent group I belong to, I compiled a list of summer ideas for kids of all different abilities the other day.  Most of these are local to Southern Oregon but some are not and if you’re not a Rogue Valley resident, maybe it will give some good ideas to look for these activities in your area:

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL: Offered by various churches in the community, these are usually free or very low cost.  My sons participated in four different ones last summer which usually ran from about 9:00 AM to 12:00PM four or five days of the week.  I found speaking to the coordinator about any supports your child may need is the best way to determine if the VBS is a good match for your kid.  If you’ve never enrolled your child who experiences disability in a non-disability specific program, you may be pleasantly surprised at how accommodating regular programs can be.  Check with churches in the area to get more information (it may be a little early yet to get definitive information—June is usually when I start seeing information on VBS).

CITY PARKS AND RECREATION: The City of Medford offers a ton of programs from sports, to crafts, to fitness classes, art classes, tours…etc.  These programs vary in cost but are less for residents of the city.  They are usually pretty economical and cover a wide variety of interests.  Again, these are not specifically tailored to persons who experience disability but the Parks and Rec program is very accommodating and welcoming to all interested people.  Give them a call and ask to speak to the person in charge of the class or program you’re interested in.  You can discuss what kind of supports would be best for your child.  541-774-2400

EASTER SEALS CAMP: Easter Seals Of Southern Oregon offers summer day camp programs for children ages 5-21.  The camps last one week and are divided by age group (ages 5-12 have three weeks available and ages 13-21 have three weeks available).  This camp is extremely accommodating to disabilities of all types.  Their volunteers and staff are FANTASTIC in working with children and the campers get to participate in crafts, swimming, playground activities and other camp fun.  The cost for this camp is $125 per session (1 week) but if cost is an issue they have some scholarships available.  Also, if your child is a client of DDS (Developmental Disability Services) you can talk to your case worker about possibly using family support funds for this activity.

YMCA: YMCA also offers some day camps and summer activities.  Their programs also vary in cost and there’s discounts if you’re already a member. 541-772-6295

ABK: America’s Best Kids offers day camps and summer classes in karate, gymnastics, cheer, swimming and more.  Prices vary by program.  541-245-0432

THINK TANK KIDS: Think Tank offers fun Nerf Nights, Lego Workshops, Robot Building Workshops and more.  The staff at Think Tank Kids have experience with children who have disabilities and they are open to accommodating all children.  Contact them for more information.;

OREGON CONSERVATORY OF PERFORMING ARTS: This summer the OCPA has two Magic of Theatre camps for children ages 7-12.  The children will be learning the entire process of putting on a play with a final culmination of performing in front of a live audience. This summer’s plays are the Trial of the Big Bad Wolf (a musical), June 18th – July 6th (M-F 8:30-12:30); and Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Kids (a musical), July 30th – Aug 17th (M-F 8:30-12:30).  The cost for either of these programs is $375 but they also offer some scholarships.  Contact them for details regarding necessary supports for your child and see what they have to say.  Cainan participated in their Spring Break Intensive Camp and his disability was never an issue—the play was fantastic and great experience for all the kids involved!  541-776-9118
I’m also excited to share about summer camps I’ve located but this entry is already long enough.  I will just have to write another one to share all the great information I’ve found on those.  I’m sure there are more great summer programs and ideas out there so if you hear of any more than what I’ve listed, definitely let me know in the comments.  Good luck!

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