Summer Camp Inclusivity Training for Directors & Staff | KIT

Ready, Set, Summer is Here!

The summer camp staff training program that takes less than 3 hours to enable memories that last a lifetime.

Have you heard about Ready, Set, Summer yet? It’s our on-demand webinar series featuring facilitator guides and action plans created especially for camp leaders looking to advance their inclusivity this summer. 

What makes that so exciting?

Summer camp holds a special place in our childhood memories, and many KIT trainers have held the esteemed role of camp director or camp counselor, too. From when we were kids and counselors, many new programs have emerged to welcome youths with diverse needs.

With Ready, Set, Summer, you can be part of advancing a legacy of inclusion to embrace kids with disabilities.

When Did Summer Camps Start?

It feels like day camps and sleepaway camps have been a well-loved part of the summer spirit forever. Photo of young boy with down syndrome wearing a lifejacket while on a boat in the water

They really took off in the 1880s when the industrial revolution meant more time in urban environments and less time enjoying the great outdoors for most families. Parents still put a premium on the experiences and skills associated with a rugged rural lifestyle, though, so recreational camps were designed to reacquaint youth with the splendor of life outside the city.

Fears about unilateral development – like too much time around urban crime, too much interaction with domestic life, or not enough exposure to positive religious influences – encouraged campers to step beyond their everyday environment to experience fresh air and new activities.

Though summer camps have been around since the 19th century, the 1920s saw the earnest emergence of summer programs catered to the special needs of minorities and troubled youth. Still later on the timeline, the American Camp Association (ACA) created the Committee on Specialized Camping Services for children with medical needs in 1943. 

Since then, summer camps have continued to expand, including more children in the undeniable enchantment of sun-soaked recreation. 

Why Summer Camps are Important for Kids – and Parents

Fast forward to today and you’ll see that the mindset around the value of summer camp is still deeply rooted in the concept’s Children in a field playing with a rainbow parachute gamecreation all those years ago. Social media and extensive screen time have their uses in a child’s modern development. However, there is still a special something tethered to the in-person, often-outdoor experience of a summer spent at camp with one’s peers.

We’ve seen it in classrooms throughout the world as a result of COVID-19 protocols. As classes went online, the effectiveness of instruction declined, according to a McKinsey study. Likewise, Forbes reports social challenges for kids re-entering school settings following stay-at-home orders including social anxiety and overstimulation. These recent disruptions only reflect what we were already seeing in kids growing up surrounded by screens: too much screen time, and not enough exercise or time outside, can have negative effects on cognition, memory, and mental health.

That’s why summer camps are so critical, especially right now.

The American Camp Association reports that about 20 million kids attend summer camps annually, and we’re not surprised to see that number climb! Off-and-on school closures throughout the past couple of academic years have added to the age-old struggle that working parents encounter every summer: How do I keep my kids enriched when school is not in session?

Delivering a program that’s accessible and enjoyable for more kids is a glorious accomplishment we see camp directors strive for each year. Now, with more children experiencing social challenges, it’s a goal that can’t wait. Camps need to answer the call and become environments that celebrate differences – and teach kids to do the same even after summer is over.

And parents will be grateful for the extra oomph you put into making your camp inclusive.

As caregivers scour the web for the summer program that will best accommodate their child’s complex needs and avid hunger for summer fun, you can make your program stand out from the crowd with a summer-ready certificate from KIT

How do you earn the certificate?

With Ready, Set, Summer, of course!

Inclusivity Training for Summer Camp Directors, Leaders, & Staff

Ready, Set, Summer bridges the gap between after school programming and the rigors of providing a full-scale summerA photo of a group of children and two adults getting ready to play an outdoor game with a rope in a green grass field camp experience. With longer days, potential overnight stays, and the abundant stimuli associated with a full schedule of new experiences, summer camp is emotionally demanding for youths and camp staff alike. 

That stress, overstimulation, and excitement can manifest in challenging ways throughout the season. With Ready, Set, Summer, the uncertainty surrounding how to handle challenging behavior dissolves into clear action plans that help you and your campers enjoy the season together.

We’ve spent more than 25 years training camp directors and staff on how to create barrier-free experiences for more happy campers, and Ready, Set, Summer is the culmination of everything we’ve learned along the way. It’s for: 

  • Leaders
  • Counselors
  • Directors
  • Volunteers
  • and anyone responsible for making your summer camp season a success!

With webinars designed to slot directly into your summer camp staff orientation, Ready, Set, Summer is the no-brainer way to move your inclusion goals forward. 

The course starts with a director-level webinar – Prep for Success: Superior Camp Environments. It puts you in the summertime mindset you’ll need to cultivate the ultimate summer camp experience with thoughtfully crafted accommodations, activities, and strategies.

After that, there are three more webinars for you to share with your staff:

  • Camp Inclusion 101
  • Teaching Youth to Respect Differences
  • How to Respond to Challenging Behavior

We include facilitator guides including activities and discussion questions that spark meaningful conversations about how to enhance your camp. Our action plan templates give you a chance to outline the concrete steps you’ll take to apply the wisdom from all four webinars, too. 

Everyone Wins When You’re Ready for Summer

Advancing the fun legacy of summer camp festivities with a KIT twist is incredibly important to us, and we’re thrilled to be delivering a program that does just that!

While the program was created for facilitators and staff, Ready, Set, Summer directly benefits all of your campers, too. Not only are you creating a more welcoming environment for campers with disabilities, but you’re opening a season full of positive memories they can share with their peers.

When you add Ready, Set, Summer to your pre-camp curriculum, you level up your summer experience to include:

  • Easy-to-use strategies to support inclusion at camp and beyond
  • Techniques for modeling respect that your campers will carry with them forever
  • Activities that teach lasting lessons on appreciating diversity and inclusion
  • Valuable insights on decoding the behaviors of campers and actioning appropriate responses
  • Skills that enable the achievement of every camper’s dream summer

Summer camp is an experience that kids look forward to all year long and remember for a lifetime. We believe it should be a resoundingly joyous time for everyone. 

Ready Set Summer helps you ensure that. 

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Need more info? Check out this video to learn more details about the course.