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I'd love advice on whether to send our foster son to sleepover camp even if he doesn't want to go.
Eighteen months ago, we became foster parents to a teenaged boy we already knew. He came directly to us from his bio parents' house and we expect to be his permanent parents. He has PTSD, grief and depression. His daily behavior was highly anxious and suspicious when he first came to us. He is now 14.5 years old.
With a lot of support, patience and good therapy, he has improved quite a bit. He still has a long way to go. Last summer was really difficult--the large blocks of unstructured time made him very anxious and depressed. At that point, when he was having nightmares and was afraid of all strangers, sleepover camp was impossible and we resisted social services pressure to send him. We enrolled him in some day camps, but several were cancelled. He has no skills for entertaining himself if he doesn't have something electronic to do. He struggles with reading, and his social skills are poor. He has very few friends and clearly doesn't understand how to be a friend yet. He is very agile and enjoys ping pong and tennis, but those require a buddy. We will get him in some camps this summer, but the hours will once again stretch for him (and us).
As a foster youth, he could attend Camp Mendocino. And I can also get him into YMCA's Camp Jones Gulch, where my adult daughter works. He doesn't want to do either. He has no experience with sleepover camps and withdraws in social settings, although I'm told he does okay socially while at school.
Does anyone have experience with requiring a reluctant teen to go to camp? Our hope would be that the extended, close time with other kids in a supportive environment would build social skills, morale, and self-esteem--and that he might have fun. Our fear is that he will feel alone and scared. He's going to be aging out of camps soon, so this might be the last summer he could do it. I will be discussing this with his psychologist, but wanted a parent perspective too. want our boy to enjoy himself for a change
As a parent and as someone who has worked with foster teens, definitely not. While you seem to have the best of intentions for sending him, he will think you are trying to get rid of him.
There are so many great day camps--most will give scholarships for foster teens. It will be a bit of work to get them all set up, but you should be able to fill up his whole summer. Some have one overnight in a week or two week session--encourage him to try that out but don't push. If you find gaps that you can't fill with day camp, say he has to spend 30/hrs week volunteering. www.volunteereastbay.org is a good place to look or try your local library or perhaps he can volunteer in a camp for younger kids. best wishes
1) Researched the camp, until we were 100% comfortable with it (volunteered time with the Directors, visited it off-season, sought feedback from experienced camping families, etc.)
2) Made sure that the supervision would be provided by carefully selected, mature adults and not youngsters because many teens are not yet able to provide a) unconditional love even if they don't like a kid, and b) firm yet fair and consistent limits/ boundaries
3) Negotiated an agreement with the camp that our daughter had to stay for 4 days (out of a total of 3.5 weeks) and that, if she wanted to come home, she could after that (so she didn't feel trapped).
4) Told her that she had to go for the 4 days and that we'd come pick her up after that if she wanted us to. She never looked back, and the next Summer, went, at her request, to both 3.5 week sessions.
Should you be interested, all 3 of my kids say that they rate Plantation Farm Camp (2 hours from San Francisco) a 100 on a scale of 1 to 10!... and that they will never miss another Summer there again. All my best to you and your foster Son
Does anyone know of an outdoor or backpacking camp that lasts for a week at the beginning or the end of the summer? My daughter wants to go to Stage Door Conservancy which will take from July 5 to August 14, so we're trying to fit a week or two of outdoor camp in to balance that out. anon
My 16 year old son would like to spend a few weeks canoeing or kayaking this summer and we are looking for recommendations of programs. Thanks
I am looking a weeklong, or longer, outdoor summer adventure experience in CA for my 16 (17 year old in the summer) boy. I want him to have an experience away from Oakland this summer, and experience a different, healthy reality. He's gone white water rafting before and loved it. Can anyone recommend a reputable program that is not over-the-top expensive? Michele
His scout troop is also involved in many community service projects throughout the year. You can contact your local Boy Scouts of America council at: http://www.bsa-mdsc.org/ or http://www.sfbac.org General information can be found at http://www.scouting.org/ Scout Parent
Hi - we're looking for a summer camp for our son, who'd like to do the following: archery, target practice (I know, this will send shudders throughout many households), rock climbing, swimming, river rafting. Our son is a good athlete and pretty outdoorsy, but not at all macho and not highly competitive. He is not into arts and crafts. He's been to a couple of camps (Ravencliff, Tawonga, Newman) and has enjoyed himself, but no camp experience has seemed worth repeating to him. He does not need a lot of exposure to nature, does not need a ''Touch the Earth'' or ''Sarah's Science'' kind of place - He's thirteen, a very smart cookie, makes friends easily, and is happy to go away from home for a few weeks if it's the right kind of camp. Perhaps Boy Scouts? We have no experience with a scouts camp, although he was a scout many years ago. We're open to places around state, not just in the Bay Area. Thanks for your ideas
Another program that might appeal to your son is Adventure Treks. They offer outdoor adventures for teens, with an emphasis on community and outdoor skills. The kids backpack, river raft, climb mountains and do all kinds of cool stuff for 2-3 weeks. It's expensive, but it's exceptionally well-run, and the kids have a real sense of accomplishment at the end.
If he's looking for local day camp activities and is really into archery, I recommend the Shake, Rattle & Roll camp (I have no idea why it has that name) offered by Oakland Parks & Rec. It's for ages 12-15. The kids make their own bows and arrows, and learn a lot about outdoor survival skills. Mom of Boys
I'm looking for a great sleep away camp (preferably in California) for 2 middleschool boys entering 8th grade in the fall. Both are very popular at school, seem to just like to hang out and socialize, not really into sports, (more into the creative arts) and aren't too thrilled about the idea of going to a sleep away camp. However, we think it would be really good for them and that they would have a great time!
Hi, My children go to a great summer camp called Habonim Dror Camp Gilboa ...
I have a son who has just turned 14 yrs old, and is in 8th grade. He is totally addicted to computer games and other screen forms of entertainment (TV, gameboy, etc.) and is not doing very well in school,(says it is very boring). I would like to find a summer program or camp where he could learn good values,discipline and get support and help with anger management, caring about his school work, and learn to appreciate and get involved in outdoor activities and/ or sports. We live in Berkeley and I am only interested in residential programs that are in Northern California, or non-residential programs in the East Bay.
(See Camp Winnarainbow for the rest of this review).
I would like to find a summer experience for my high school sophomore daughter that would help develop her in a number of ways. Top 2 are self reliance and larger perspective outside of the high school ''fitting in'' microcosm. She's a good student and makes friends easily but I think she needs to develop her self confidence and get a stronger sense of who she is. Some experiences with boys are giving me cause for concern. Her interests include animals, esp.horses/ veterinary work (she has volunteered for a vet), and adults or children with disabilities and musical theater. I am open to many possibilities. I have looked at girl scout destinations - national or international trips or camp counseling. I question whether having an away from home experience might foster this as opposed to having another summer of volunteering at the vet and a school for adults with disabilities. I already know these resources.
Perhaps I ask a tall order, but as a community many of you
have probably grappled with the same concerns and have had
some experiences to share.
Given that your daughter really likes animals, Plantation may be just the place.
I have not been to this camp personally, but it is highly recommended by my very own summer camp friends and is where they send their kids. (our camp, Camp Beaverbrook, closed in 1985, so it was not an option) Since our camp was so amazing and produced such an incredible experience, we are all quite particular when it comes to recommendations such as this.
Another choice by former Beaverbrook kids is Copper Creek. www.plantationcamp.com www.coppercreek.com Good luck!! KT Pleasanton
It is ''a unique residential summer program for high school girls (entering 10th and 11th grade) located on Mills College campus. The program is designed to promote a young woman’s sense of purpose and make a difference in the world. The hands-on, project-based curriculum integrates art, science and service learning around the theme of nature and understanding one's place in the web of life.''
Summer 2007 Sessions Session One: June 17-30 Session Two: July 1-14 Contact: Kristen Brookes, Director of SASS Julia Morgan School for Girls 510.632.6340 x115 kbrookes[at]juliamorganschool.org
Does anyone know of a good summer 1-2 week program in the US for teens, involving outdoor wildernness adventure/skills/training--eg backpacking, hiking, ocean, kayaking, whitewater, etc.? There are so many programs; it's hard to know which are quality and safe. We're looking for outdoor adventure/skills, but not dangerous, good supervision, for two competent boys ages 14&15. Thank you! anon
I'm looking for a 3-to-4-week outdoor adventure for my 14 year old daughter this summer. I have explored Outward Bound but would like some suggestions from parents who have had good experiences with other outfits. There are many listed on the web, but I would like a more personal referral. Thanks whitney
Tawonga is a Jewish Camp, but kids do not have to be Jewish to go either to the Camp or on the Teen Quests. The trips do have some Jewish ritual incorporated, like making kosher meals and celebrating Shabbat. But it is pretty low key, especially since not all the kids and/or counsellors are Jewish. We are culturally Jewish but non-practicing, and basically atheist. The ritual part of Tawonga was no problem for us.
Check out www.Tawonga.org Big Tawonga Fan
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