Camp Sequoia is an overnight summer camp for boys ages 7-17 to experience social skills success in a dynamic and nurturing environment. Many of our campers are diagnosed with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Located on the beautiful campus of The Perkiomen School in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania (1 hour northwest of Philadelphia) our innovative program integrates building Frustration Tolerance with Social Learning theory to help campers develop their social skills through a FUN active, traditional camp program.
Camp Sequoia is designed for children and teenagers with ADHD and other similar diagnoses who do not need the level of support offered at special needs overnight camps yet need a different experience than a traditional overnight camp can offer. Our 2:5 staffing ratio allows our campers to have fun and grow in a safe and supportive camp experience.
The majority of our campers are diagnosed with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Our camper population also includes boys who present with social anxiety, learning differences which effect social skills development or may not have a formal diagnosis yet present with social learning needs.
All campers present with average to above average cognitive ability. The majority of our campers attend public schools where they are in mainstream education for all or a majority of the day. Some attend parochial schools, Jewish day schools or private schools for students with learning differences. Our campers come from across the U.S.A. and internationally to be with us in the summer.
Parents choose Camp Sequoia because the experience we provide is much more than a summer camp. It is truly an investment in their child's future success. The mission of Camp Sequoia is to help our campers have a great time while developing their social cognition (how to think in a social context and apply socially related skills). Without strong social cognition it is difficult to be successful in life.
Through integrating the social cognitive and frustration tolerance concepts and language into all aspects of camp life we create a full immersion into a fun, active social learning experience. Camp Sequoia is the first overnight summer camp designed specifically for boys diagnosed with ADHD who need help developing their social skills.
The Camp Sequoia Approach
Camp Sequoia's holistic approach to working with campers who have social skill needs involves several key factors which work together in the camp setting. These include:
Creating The Fun And Safety That Facilitates Social Growth:
Our philosophy as well as our experience is that children are most receptive to learning when they feel safe, are engaged intellectually and are having fun. Camp Sequoia is presented to our campers as a place to make new friends, have fun and learn some new things. "Learning social" as we call it at camp is just part of our camp day.
Utilizing the basic concepts & language of the Social Cognition and Frustration Tolerance:
Through integrating these basic concepts and language into every camp activity and utilizing every "teachable moment", we help campers develop their social cognitive and frustration tolerance skills experientially. Additionally, all campers participate in a twice-weekly Social Skills group with campers who share a similar social-communication profile.
An overnight camp for kids who would not fit in at a special needs camps yet need more support than traditional overnight camps can offer:
Our campers are a unique group of boys who need the structure, consistency and social learning support we provide yet would not fit in with the population found at special needs overnight camps. Camp Sequoia is proud to fill an under-served need for our camper population.
A Same-Age Peer Relationship Centered Approach:
Camp Sequoia is divided up into five age groups called "Divisions". The Freshman division are campers ages 7-9, Juniors are campers age 10-11, Inters are campers ages 12-13, Seniors are campers ages 14-15 and the L.I.T.s (Leaders- in-Training) are campers ages 16-17. Campers live with and participate in all activities with their division.
Many of our campers gravitate towards younger children (who they find easier to relate with) or adults who find our campers to be engaging and charming. Many adults (including professionals) have difficulty understanding how a child who presents so well to them has trouble connecting with their same age peers. We want our campers to be able to engage with same-age peers and develop their social thinking skills in order to learn how to make and retain friends and become social successful.
Consistency and Routine:
Our highly structured schedule has minimal changes from week to week and campers are provided with visual aids such as their own schedules and checklists to help them know what to expect. Most Sequoia campers come to camp for our full, 6-week season, others come for one of our 3 week sessions. This consistency allows our campers to become fully immersed in the social learning environment we create and gives them ample time to form relationships with same-age peers.
Small Group Instruction:
Activities are conducted in small groups in order for campers to receive individualized attention and to help them focus on the activity at hand. Our staff to camper ratio is 2:5.
During the summer parents are able to view pictures of camp each day on our website and will receive weekly updates as to what is happening at camp. Camp Sequoia parents receive a detailed camper evaluation in the fall that includes feedback from our staff pertaining to their child's experience at camp. We also provide parents with information about the lessons covered in their child's Social Thinking group so you can know what your child worked on during group time.
Making fun and safety priority for our campers:
Summer is a time for fun, and our extensive experience working with children who have social skill needs has taught us that children develop their social thinking skills most effectively when they are having fun and engaged. We are a summer camp that provides campers with the fun, structure, support and safety to help our campers take advantage of the social learning opportunities we provide each day.
What is Frustration Tolerance and Social Cognition?
Frustration Tolerance for our population is a framework designed to help our young men better cope with situations that frustrate them by adding tools to their toolbox to help them make socially appropriate decisions both in the moment and longitudinally. Based upon research Director Lux has presented at multiple domestic and international conferences, most recently the World Conference on Gifted Education, this methodology is infused the the fabric of Camp Sequoia. Social Cognitive elements of appropriate verbal, non-verbal and para-verbal communication additionally help our campers have success in reading sub-textual conversational cues. We engage in highly intentional programming (so that activities feel natural and fluid for our campers) with a great deal of success. Many campers and families appreciate this inquiry-based, multi-modal approach and report positive outcomes after camp both in and outside of the classroom.
Many campers, through individual or small group sessions continue their skills development through Social Thinking activities as developed by Michele Garcia Winner throughout the academic year.