Technology: A Social Tool, But With Risks

This is an email we recently sent to parents of a few Akeela campers:

Hi! We hope you are well and enjoying fall.

We wanted to let you know that two concerned parents have informed us that there is a very large group text circulating among approximately 15 Akeela campers that contains some inappropriate comments – some of which are directed at other campers. Your child’s name was mentioned as someone who is a participant. We understand that kids have a great deal of access to electronics and that it is sometimes hard to manage – especially when they are older. However, we would like to offer the following suggestions:

1.) Please remind your camper that he/she signed a behavioral contract before he/she came to camp and that we expect those boundaries to continue to be upheld throughout the year – especially when other Akeela campers are involved.

2.) Talk to your child about the dangers of inappropriate content on the internet or by text and the consequences that are often associated when a child is the disseminator of that content (i.e. suspension or expulsion from school, consequences at home, police involvement if any child feels threatened or bullied.)

3.) You may want to check your child’s phone and text history and monitor the use of electronic devices until you feel confident that your child is responsibly texting.

4.) You may want to remove your child from this “Text chain”.

Please let us know if you have any further questions. We have not read the text thread and were not given a great deal of information but wanted to share what we did know with you so you can talk to your child individually.

Debbie & Eric

There’s no question that we live in challenging times. When we were kids, our distractions were books, television and the phone (attached to a cord in the kitchen!) These days, children not only have TV, they also have screens EVERYWHERE: phones, computers, tablets … and they are all portable. Our campers are typically very “tech savvy” and are drawn to electronics. Video games are an escape of choice and campers often tell us that’s how they choose to unwind. However, just because our campers enjoy screen time and might even benefit from some of the more social games they play, it does not mean that they don’t need to be closely monitored.

Our campers often struggle with social nuances – that’s why they are choosing Akeela for their summer camp. These challenges carry over to online settings, where it can be equally hard to understand appropriate social boundaries. Unfortunately, because their comments and behaviors are online, they have more permanence and can carry more weight. More and more frequently, schools and law enforcement agencies are holding young people accountable for their online conduct. We have had many conversations about such incidents with campers after receiving calls from concerned parents. We believe it is important to discuss specific expectations with your children about the use and content of texting, social media and emails – and to regularly check phones and email accounts to monitor their use. While we know that our campers always have the best intentions in mind, sometimes they need our guidance to communicate appropriately and effectively.

Fall 2015 Newsletter

Fall 2015 Newsletter

Akeela 2015 is behind us and it was our best summer ever! This addition of the Akeela Circular, our camp newsletter, looks back on some highlights from this past summer and contains news about upcoming events. Read it all here:

Akeela Circular, Fall 2015

Social Skills Camp Boston

Spring 2015 Newsletter

The May 2015 version of our newsletter, the Akeela Circular, is available for your reading pleasure! It contains important information for new camp families and Akeela veterans, too. Enjoy!

May 2015 Akeela Circular

NY Quirky Kids Camp

Sleepovers and Summer Camp Teach Kids Important Life Skills

We just found this great article about the important role camp plays in developing resilience, grit, and other essential life skills in our campers! The author interviewed, Michael Thompson, wrote a wonderful book called Homesick and Happy that we share with many of our new families. We encourage you to give it a read, it’s very helpful for those parents sending their children away to camp for the first time!

Summer Camp Teach Kids Important Life Skills

autistic camp Maine

Winter 2015 Newsletter

The latest edition of the camp newsletter, The Akeela Circular, is here! It includes photos of the new Lodge, more details on our horseback riding program, a Winter Weekend recap, some exciting announcements about summer 2015 and lots of updates from campers and staff.

Click here to read the newsletter.

special needs family camp

Happy Holidays & Summer 2014 Slideshows!

With the holiday season upon us, we find ourselves missing all our campers and the warm summers at Camp. These slideshows help us remember all the magic of camp!

Summer 2014 Session 1 Slideshow
Summer 2014 Session 2 Slideshow

We hope you’ll recognize some of the songs in the slideshows from campfire. Speaking of songs from campfire, we just created a songbook on the website so you can see the lyrics to all your favorite camp songs! Check it out here: Camp Akeela Songbook

Wishing you all a happy holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Debbie, Eric, and Kevin

NY Area Info-Session 12/7/14

If you live in the New York area and would like to learn more about Camp Akeela, we invite you to join us at our upcoming information session:

  • Sunday, December 7 in Fort Lee, NJ

This is a casual event in which we show lots of photos of camp, talk about a typical daily schedule, and answer parents’ & children’s questions.

Please call Debbie at 866-680-4744 or email info at campakeela dot com for details.

New York Quirky kids camp

Winter Weekend & Parent Retreat: January 9-11

We are thrilled to announce two new and exciting winter program offerings. Both events will take place in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts on the weekend of January 9 – 11, 2015. Akeela campers in grades 6 – 11 are invited to join us for a weekend of reuniting with camp friends, indoor and outdoor games, and Akeela spirit. Campers will stay and play at the Winadu Lodge at Camp Winadu in Pittsfield, MA. Meanwhile, we have organized a retreat for parents at the luxurious Cranwell Resort and Spa in Lenox, MA.

Learn more here:

Winter Weekend

Parent Retreat

Asperger’s teens summer trips

Upcoming Conferences

Our assistant director, Kevin Trimble, will be representing Camp Akeela at these two upcoming conferences:

On October 25, in Boston, is AANE’s Asperger Syndrome Connections 2014. This year’s conference, titled “Practical Perspectives, Positive Lives” features speakers Simon Baron-Cohen, Winnie Dunn and Michael Forbes Wilcox.

On November 2, Kevin will be attending the ASPEN Fall Conference in Iselin, New Jersey. After morning presentations from Alex Plank (speaking on autism and the media) and Dennis Debbaudt (ASD and independence), seven afternoon sessions will address topics from dating and relationships to psychopharmacology.

If you’re planning to attend either of these conferences, make sure to stop by the Camp Akeela table to say hello to Kevin. If you weren’t planning to attend, we encourage you to take a look a these two excellent organizations: AANE and ASPEN.

family camp activities

Fall 2014 Newsletter

The latest Camp Akeela Circular is ready for your reading pleasure. It announces several exciting changes being planned for Summer 2015, a collection of Summer 2014 photos, and some big news about upcoming Akeela Winter Weekends!

Click Here to Read the Newsletter