ASWS provides information but it does not constitute medical or legal information. Referrals provided are suggestions to organizations that might help, but do not constitute a recommendation. ASWS cannot be held responsible for consequences that arise from individual dealings with a professional or organization. ASWS provides an I&R service but individuals must assume personal responsibility for what they do with the information provided. Inclusion of any organization does not imply endorsement, and omission does not imply disapproval.

Camps and Recreation

Michigan Camps for Individuals with Special Needs

The Autism Society of West Shore does not promote or endorse any of the listed organizations.

For more information on a specific camp you will want to contact them by phone or by their website. Many of these camps have wonderful websites. A few websites that we found that may be helpful in finding a camp/program of a specific interest are www.kidscamps.com, www.ymca.net & www.camppage.com

CAMP NAME: Indian Trails Camp
ADDRESS: 0-1859 Lake Michigan Drive Grand Rapids 49534
PHONE: 616-677-5251
WEBSITE: www.indiantrailscamp.org
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: This camp welcomes campers aged 7 yrs on up with a wide range of disabilities. They offer a barrier-free camp setting in which those with disabilities can participate in all manner of activities. It is a place filled with fun, recreation and friendship. This camp also provides several Spring Respite days. Please visit their website for more information. Applications for Summer 2012 camps are now online.

CAMP NAME: Camp Sunshine
ADDRESS: PMB 200 430 E. 8th Street Holland 49423
PHONE: 616-994-9897
WEBSITE: www.campsunshine.info
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: This camp is for individuals with developmental disabilities aged 12-50. Each camper is paired with a volunteer counselor for 4 days/3 nights. Campers get the individual attention that he/she desires and an opportunity to participate in many activities. This camp also hosts a Registration for camp fills up quickly so register early. Applications go online in February.

CAMP NAME: Camp Zip 
5840 N. Canton Center Suite 290 
Canton, MI 48187 
WEBSITE: Camp Zip 
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Camp Zip provides opportunities for young adults (16 and above) to continue focusing on daily living, communication skills, socialization, and job readiness skills. Camp Zip is designed to serve the needs of families and young adults, 16 years and older, with Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, ADHD and other physical, emotional and developmental disabilities.

CAMP NAME: Camp Horizon/Pioneer Trails Day Camp
ADDRESS: 1145 E. Wesley Ave. Muskegon 49942
PHONE: 231-773-5355
WEBSITE: www.pioneertrails.net click on camps-click on Camp Horizonbor Day Camps
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Camp Horizon offers transition students, ages 16-26, a safe, fun and educational environment in which to test their skills for living independently. Students enjoy a wide range of traditional camp activities while learning budgeting, communication and self advocacy.  Pioneer Trails Day Camp is designed to serve children and young adults with a developmental disability to provide respite for families caring for children with special needs. Campers must be between the ages of 6 and 26 and still attending school. Each session of camps lasts three weeks and is in session Monday – Thursday.

CAMP NAME: St. Francis Camp
ADDRESS: 10120 Murrey Jerome 49249
PHONE: 517-688-9212
WEBSITE: www.saintfranciscamp.org
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: St. Francis Camp on the Lake provides a personalized summer camp experiences and respite care for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Programs are designed to foster independence, improve physical health, and increase social function. The main objectives of camp are met through careful planning of sessions and modifying activities to meet the campers' needs, skills, interests and ages. Careful consideration is given to placement of each camper with the most suitable groups and activities. Campers are encouraged to partake in a wide array of activities which may include: Boating; Arts & Crafts; Fishing; Hiking; Sing-a-Longs; Aquatic Games; Dances; Campfires; Volleyball; Basketball: plus much, much more! Each activity is taught with a hands-on approach, allowing for a heightened awareness of all senses. This stimulation helps accelerate learning and makes it FUN!

CAMP NAME: Bay Cliff Health Camp

ADDRESS: P.O. Box 310 Big Bay 49808
PHONE: 906-345-9314
WEBSITE: www.baycliff.org
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Bay Cliff is a year round, non-profit, nondenominational summer therapy camp for children. The primary mission of Bay Cliff is to serve children and adults with physical disabilities. The priority program is a two month therapy session serving children with orthopedic, speech, hearing, and vision disabilities. Through an intensive program of daily therapy and traditional camp activities children learn to become more independent and are inspired to believe in themselves and their full potential.

CAMP NAME: Camp Grace Bentley
ADDRESS: 211 Eileen Dr. Bloomfield Township 48302
PHONE: 313-962-8242
WEBSITE: www.campgracebentley.org
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Established in 1928. Camp Grace Bentley hosts campers with a range of mental and physical challenges aged 7-16. Sessions are nine days and run late June through mid August. It’s a place where kids can create a lifetime of memories, develop a greater sense of independence, have great adventures and work with others.

CAMP NAME: The Fowler Center

ADDRESS: 2315 Harmon Lake Road Maryville 48744
PHONE: 989-673-2050
WEBSITE: www.thefowlercenter.org
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: The Fowler Center has several programs for children, teenagers and adults. They work with persons who have many kinds of developmental disabilities including mental impairment, autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome and others. Their programs and facilities are specifically design to meet the special physical, social, intellectual, emotional and motivational needs of participants. They offer a nine week residential summer camp, several Spring and Fall adult camps, monthly weekend respite camps and others. Please visit their website for more information on all their programs.

CAMP NAME: Cran Hill Ranch- Friendship Camp
ADDRESS: 14444 17 mile Rd Rodney 49342
PHONE: 231-796-7669
WEBSITE: www.cranhillranch.com scroll over Summer Camps and clickon Special Needs Camp
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: This is a Christian based camp. Special Needs (Friendship) Camp is a 5 day/4 night summer camp opportunity for mentally impaired campers aged 15 and older. Staff to camper ratio is 1 to 3. Cran-Hill is a place with a lot of hills, gravel roads and steps therefore campers should be independently mobile and have reasonable balance. 

CAMP NAME: Compassionate Heart Ministries
ADDRESS: 100 S.Pine, Suite 150 Zeeland, MI 49464
PHONE: 616-748-6011
WEBSITE: www.compassionateheart.org
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Compassionate Heart Ministries is for individuals who are aged 14 – 26 with physical or cognitive disabilities. They offer an after school program twice a week which provides: crafts, recreation, games and devotions.  Compassionate Heart Ministries also has a program called Summer Serve which is a five day project that will help individuals serve others and have fun too. This work project takes place in the Holland/Zeeland Community and is tailored to the ability of the individual participants. All participants are matched up with a peer mentor and together they work, worship, learn, play and have fun. Registration is through May 01 and it is recommended that you register early as this camp fills up quickly. See the website for more details.

CAMP NAME: Able Abe’s Summer Camp
ADDRESS: 2075 E. West Maple Road Suite B.-204 West Bloomfield, MI 48322
PHONE: 248-926-0909
WEBSITE: they do not have a website, but you can Google it for more info
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: This is a half day camp for children aged 4-10. This is a summer program designed for children with acquired and congenital delays in development. Campers participate in fun, educational, and therapeutic activities that focus on communication, socialization, and gross and fine motor skills development. Camp is created and run by a team of occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech/language pathologists.

CAMP NAME: The Adventure Learning Center at Eagle Village
ADDRESS: 5044 175th Avenue Hershey, MI 49639
PHONE: 1-231-832-1424
WEBSITE: www.eaglevillage.org
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Services children aged 5-16 with social, emotional, behavioral, and/or mild physical impairments. Please see their website for more details regarding this camp.

CAMP NAME: Bloomfield Scamp
ADDRESS: 2601 Lone Pine Road West Bloomfield, MI 48323
PHONE: 1-248-433-0885
WEBSITE: www.bloomfieldscamp.com
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: SCAMP provides a quality summer program for individuals with disabilities ages 3-26 in Metro Detroit. Therapeutic recreation is the core of our program where campers enjoy age and skill appropriate activities from a caring staff that look forward to working with your child/consumer.  Swimming in Walnut Lake, arts & crafts, music therapy, social skill development, and language activities are embedded into each day centered on a weekly academic theme. We strive to make each summer the best for our participants and endeavor to build partnerships with parents, teachers, community agencies, and other school personnel to help each individual have the most successful summer at SCAMP.

CAMP NAME: Camp Blue Sky
ADDRESS: P.O. Box 25 Milford, MI 48381
PHONE: 1-810-545-8181
WEBSITE: www.blueskycamp.net
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: For the first time, under the direct care of qualified, professional and experienced para-educators and staff, special needs children can experience all the joys of outdoor summer camp; zip lining, canoeing, swimming, rock wall climbing, archery, spirit building, and more.  Many people with special needs have never been to a general recreational day camp, and even more never thought they’d be able to participate in the fun of being away from home in a camp setting. Camp Blue Sky was designed to bring that experience to the special needs population.  Now, your child with special needs can feel the exhilaration of daily outdoor adventures, making new friends and trying things never attempted. In small groups and with professional, caring and customized supervision, your special child can have all of the same experiences available in a traditional camp setting.

CAMP NAME: Camp Civitan

ADDRESS: P.O. Box 21023 Lansing, MI 48909
PHONE: 1-517-394-0212
WEBSITE: www.pioneercivitan.org/camp_civitan.php
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Camp Civitan is a camp for developmentally challenged individuals from ages 13 and up. The goals of the camp include helping each camper learn or improve self-care skills in dressing, personal hygiene, to increase self-confidence, and to appreciate nature and develop a responsible attitude toward our environment.

CAMP NAME: Camp Tall Tree
10407 North Fenton Rd. Fenton, MI 48430
: 734-657-0057
Camp Tall Tree is an overnight camp for kids with autism and siblings of people with special needs. We run all three of our programs simultaneously, so families can have a week of true respite.  Check out the website for all our programs.

CAMP NAME: Children’s Hospital of Michigan Autism Center
ADDRESS: 41935 W. 12 mile Rd. Novi, MI 48377
PHONE: 1-248-305-6172
WEBSITE: www.childrensdmc.org (look under services tab for camp)
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Offers programs for children with Autism and their siblings (ages 5-10). Highly qualified special education teachers are teamed with highly specialized behavior interventionists to provide a ratio of 3 to 1.

CAMP NAME: The Conditioned Caterpillar Camp
ADDRESS: 3285 Martin Road, Suite 104 Walled Lake, MI 48390
18300 West 12 Mile Rd. Southfield, MI 48076
PHONE: 1-248-559-5820      1-248-669-1230
WEBSITE: www.earlyinterventioncenter.org
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: An 8-week, ½ day structured summer program that provides group therapy using the ABA principles and techniques. The main focus is learning how to learn in a group environment. Other skills targeted include: attending to instructor, following directions, academic skills, increasing socialization, following classroom routines, appropriate classroom behavior, and appropriate play with others.

CAMP NAME: Clarkston Scamp
ADDRESS: 6389 Clarkston Rd. Clarkston, MI 48346
PHONE: 1-248-620-1882 or 1-248-623-4314
WEBSITE: www.clarkstoncamp.com
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: SCAMP is a five-week program developed and designed for children and young adults with special needs. The camp is more than just an exciting place for the SCAMPers; this program provides a growing and learning opportunity for both the young adults hired to be aides for the SCAMPers, as well as the volunteers. It provides the parents of the SCAMPers the calming effect of knowing that their child is in a safe haven and having a good time that they might not be able to experience any other way. 

CAMP NAME: Comprehensive Summer Therapy Fun

ADDRESS: 2505 Ardmore SE Grand Rapids, MI 48346
PHONE: 1-616-559-1054
WEBSITE: www.therapycenter.org
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Offer therapy sessions to children ages 1 to 12. Sessions are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9am to noon. Sessions in Holland and Grand Rapids.

CAMP NAME: Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding
ADDRESS: 3777 Rector NE Rockford, MI 49341
PHONE: 1-616-866-3066
WEBSITE: www.equestcenter.org
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Riding lessons, horse care, crafts and games for those ages 8 and up with various disabilities, call for more information.

ADDRESS: P.O. Box 700739 Plymouth, MI 48170
PHONE: 1-734-459-7003
WEBSITE: www.ourcampinc.org
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: For ages 3-11 and that qualify for special education in their home school district and their siblings. Located in Northville, Michigan (only minutes west of Detroit), O.U.R. Camp is a specialized summer day camp for young children with developmental needs. Its purpose is to provide continuity with school year programs and to stimulate the development of cognitive and social skills during the summer months.  Activities are designed to promote improved self-images and group interaction skills.

CAMP NAME: Pine Ridge Bible Camp- Freddy’s Friends
ADDRESS: 8415 17 Mile Rd. Cedar Springs, MI 49319
PHONE: 1-616-696-8675
WEBSITE: www.pineridgecamp.com (look under Summer Camps)
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: This is one of the few Christian camping programs in Michigan that ministers specifically to the mentally challenged. Campers attending Freddy's Friends at Pine Ridge may be challenged with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, and other medical diagnoses. Physical ages run from youth on up through adults. The campers will participate in fun activities that are geared for their abilities, making it possible for everyone to be encouraged as they get in on the action.

CAMP NAME: Skyline Camp and Retreat Center

ADDRESS: 1669 W.Maple Rd. Birmingham, MI 48009
PHONE: 1-248-644-2043
WEBSITE: www.campskyline.org
BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Offers several special needs camps for individuals aged 6 on up. Please look at their website for more information on all the camps offered. Look under programs and events, summer camps, Camp Joy, Camp for Us, Camp for Me or Camp Far Away

CAMP NAME:SpringHill Camp
BRIEF DESCRIPTION:Locations in both Michigan and Indiana.  Spring Hill offers options for traditional summer camp with 1 on 1 buddies for individuals with developmental disabilities

The offer options for traditional summer camp with 1-on-1 buddies for kids with developmental disabilities

Some other summer activities to consider:

Story Times 
Many community libraries and local bookstores often have book readings and short plays for children.  These events are opportunities to practice attending, following directions, maintaining personal space, and asking and responding to questions in a group setting.  It is important to plan for how long the event is since you will want your child to be successful.  You may want to start by attending shorter events in the beginning of the summer and gradually increase the length of time.  You may call ahead and ask for how long the event is and what the schedule of activities might be.  This can help you to determine how long your stay will be for each event you and your child attend.

Local libraries in our area include, but are not limited to:

Spring Lake District Library
123 E. Exchange St.
Spring Lake, MI 49456

Loutit Library
407 Columbus Ave
Grand Haven, MI 49417

Herrick District Library
300 S. River Ave.
Holland, MI 49423

North Side Branch
155 Riley St. 
Holland, MI 49424

Grand Rapids Public Library
111 Library Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Local Parks, Playgrounds and Beaches

Playgrounds, parks, and beaches offer up a wonderful place to learn about and practice conflict resolution, problem solving, and communication skills.  Your child can practice asking to join an activity, helping peers, and working with friends to create and resolve game rules.  Your child can practice patience while waiting for the swing or the slide.  This is also a great destination site for play dates as well! Getting the family outdoors can help with developing a healthy lifestyle during any season.  

Community Parks and Recreation Centers
Community parks and recreation centers often have summer baseball, soccer, or basketball teams.  For our children with ASD team sports are great opportunities learning good sportsmanship, meeting with children their own age, and learning how to follow rules and regulations associated with a sport/activity.  Community and recreation centers also offer art, science, and other camps that teach fun skills while providing social interactions.  This is a great opportunity for your child to learn to work collaboratively with children their own age on projects or share materials in order to complete an activity.

North Ottawa Recreation Authority (NORA)
1415 Beechtree St.
Grand Haven, MI 49417

Spring Lake Community Fitness & Aquatic Center
16140 148th Ave.
Spring Lake, MI 49456

Holland Community Aquatic Center
550 Maple Ave.
Holland, MI 49423

Tri Cities Family YMCA
1 Y Drive
Grand Haven, MI 49417

Smallenberg Park
16th St. and Fairbanks Holland, MI 49422

Frog Hollow Playground
2050 Metro Court Wyoming, MI

Outdoor Discovery Center

Bubble Backyard Play/Bubbles Bounce

Crazy Bounce

Critter Barn

Deanna’s Playhouse

Degraaf Nature Center

Neil’s Dutch Village

Windmill Island

Other Area Attractions
Millenium Park

John Ball Zoo

Fredrick Meijer Gardens

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

Grand Rapids Public Museum