Where Do Our Campers Live the Rest of the Year?

You may be wondering where our campers reside when not living it up at camp. The answer involves personal preference and level of support needed for each camper. One of the best parts of camp is celebrating the strengths and weaknesses of one another. Someone may be scared to go fishing or try the zipline, while others need a little encouragement to sit next to someone new or sleep in a cabin for the first time.

Providing support is the foundation for everything we do at camp. This can be seen in how we create the schedule, pick our locations and train our volunteers. Our hope is that our “home away from home” is a safe place for campers to grow socially and emotionally.

Often, campers' “actual” homes are also tailored to their specific needs and strengths.

When not at camp, our Camp Blue Skies campers typically live in a group home, at a post-secondary boarding school, with family members, or independently (with family members or on their own with support).

Group Homes are “small, residential facilities located within a community and designed to serve children or adults with chronic disabilities. These homes usually have six or fewer occupants and are staffed 24 hours a day by trained caregivers” according to the encyclopedia of Mental Disorders website.  Camp Blue Skies has created partnerships with InReach located in Charlotte, NC and Annandale Village based near Atlanta, GA to send campers. These organizations also send professional staff that works beside our community volunteers in supporting the campers.

Post-Secondary Schools are designed to teach life and living skills to students who have complex learning differences. These programs provide support in money management, job training and social skills needed to live independently. The Bridges program through Philips Academy in Charlotte, NC and The Horizons School  in Birmingham, AL have sent students, staff and alumni to our camps. The goal of these programs is to promote independent lifestyles for their graduates.

Independent campers can either live at home with a parent or guardian or live on their own. Independent campers often come alone and for some have never been away from home. This quote sums up one experience for a 2010 North Carolina camper (and his Mom). Morgan is 24 years old. Camp Blue Skies was his first overnight camp experience. It truly was worth the wait... Everything and everybody exceeded our expectations. Morgan's first phone message home said “mom having great time, I love this, I'll stay 31 more days.”  Alice Grier, parent."

We love blending campers with different abilities and backgrounds and strongly believe that providing the opportunity for a person to find similarities in someone who is different from themselves is one of the most important parts of camp. We hope to continue to create communities where everyone involved feels like they have found a second (or third) home.