While July 2023 may seem early to be thinking about summer 2024, many camps fill their registration lists months in advance—especially with well-known or specialized programs. And it’s often easier to start the planning momentum when summer activities are already on everyone’s mind.
Easter Seals Greater Houston offers three camp options of our own:
- Camp Buckaroo: Day camp for kids ages 6–15 (6–10 if non-disabled and attending with a sibling who has disabilities). One-week sessions in June and July (check waiting-list spots for 2023 July sessions).
- Camp Smiles: Overnight camp for 6–15-year-olds with cerebral palsy or similar disorders. One-week session in early July.
- Camp MOST (Miles Of Smiles for Teens): Annual weekend retreat for 14–21-year-olds with cerebral palsy or similar disorders (2023 season concluded, 2024 dates to be announced).
Additional camps are plentiful, but it can take some homework to locate the right one.
An Interview with Ingrid Monroy
One resource is Mikey’s Guide, scheduled to release its first post-pandemic edition in time for 2024 summer-camp registrations. Publisher Ingrid Monroy named the guide (and the organization Mikey’s Place, which organizes a Summer Camp & Resource Fair each February) after her son, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy due to a pediatric stroke when he was an infant. Mikey’s Guide is Houston-based and collects lists of camps as well as recreational programs, ministries, schools, and clinics.
Here, Monroy shares information on the guide along with suggestions for choosing a disability-friendly summer camp.
Q: Your last edition of Mikey’s Guide was the hard-copy book released in early 2020, just before the pandemic craziness hit. Now that most camps have reopened, what are your plans for updating this resource?
Ingrid Monroy: We are scheduled to print a new hard-copy edition in the spring of 2024, and the first online Mikey’s Guide should be ready this fall . This new platform has been in the works for quite some time. It will be highly user-friendly with many search features. It also has mapping capabilities to show families the location of a camp, school, or program in relation to where they live. Having an online guide will allow us to make updates, corrections, and additions in real time, to ensure that users are getting the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Q: How can interested parties stay updated on the online Guide’s progress?
Monroy: Our web developer is collecting emails of interested subscribers [see Launch News signup at MikeysGuide.com], and will have updates to share by August. We already know that MikeysGuide.com will be offered as an annual subscription for a nominal fee; users will create personal logins for access at any time. There is still work to do, but we anticipate a launch this fall.
Q: What tips do you have on evaluating a child’s individual needs/preferences and matching these with camp opportunities?
Monroy: Throughout our children’s lives, we parents strive to strike a balance between what is important to our children and what is important for them. Consider what activities your child likes and enjoys—make decisions together—and also inquire about the presence of trained staff who can handle medical situations. Search for a camp which satisfies both criteria [activities your children will enjoy plus effective support for their needs]. We are so fortunate in Houston to have a multitude of great organizations which both support the needs of our kids and offer a myriad of fun opportunities!
Additional Tips from Mikey’s Guide 2020
- Check the camp’s accreditations and affiliations.
- Check the staff-to-campers ratio.
- Be clear on details of inclusiveness and accommodations, especially if campers have a mixture of abilities and disabilities.
- Talk with recent campers and their parents (include your child in the conversation).
- Visit the actual camp location with your child before making the final decision.
Additional Camps and Resources
- Beloved and Beyond in Rosebud, TX. Christian camp for children with special needs.
- Camp Blessing in Brenham, TX. Another Christian camp, for children with diagnosed physical and intellectual disabilities.
- Camp for All in Burton, TX. “Where campers of all abilities come to Discover Life.” Comprises a variety of disability types and sponsor organizations.
- Camp Summit in Paradise, TX. Emphasizes “barrier-free” participation in traditional camp activities. Sliding-scale payments and financial assistance are provided.
- Children’s Association for Maximum Potential (CAMP) in Center Point, TX. Accepts children and dependent adults, ages 5–55, with all forms of disability. Non-disabled siblings ages 5–13 may also attend.
- “Sending Your Child to Camp” (NavigateLifeTexas.org).
- Texas Lions Camp (TLC) in Kerrville, TX. For children with physical disabilities, Down syndrome, or Type 1 diabetes. Family Camp sessions are scheduled in the last part of the season.