Tourette Syndrome Camp USA (www.tourettecamp.com)
Type of Camp (Overnight/day): Overnight 7 days
Location: YMCA Camp Duncan
Tell us a little about your camp?
We are one of just a few camps that specifically service Children with Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. We are the longest running camp like our in the world as we go into our 25th year in 2018. We get camper from around the United States an occasionally internationally. Our camp program is also a place many of our campers will meet other children with Tourette Syndrome/OCD for the first time. We are an all-volunteer organization.
What are some things that unique to your camp?
We have the best of inclusion but immersion as well. We do most of our programming with Camp Duncan but we do a few of our own programs at camp. We have our own community with the Camp Duncan Camp but also get have fun with and alongside the traditional campers. Our campers get to interact with other children like them as well as campers who don’t have Tourette in fun, safe and positive experience. During the off season who have held program with our staff in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. We have also run a Children's program at the National Tourette Association Conference in Washington DC for 10 years. Most of our staff were former campers who now give back to the program.
What is a typical day like for a camper?
Our kids and staff go from 7am till probable 10pm. Our kids usually need more time to get ready for meals and activities than most traditional campers. Before each meal and bedtime we have to make sure our many campers who take meds visit our health center In the morning our kids will have elective skill periods and in the afternoon they rotate between the pool, boating on the lake and the camp store. The evening we have all camp activities. All of these skill periods, the rotation and evening activities are the same as the rest of Camp Duncan campers.
How many staff and campers do you host in the summer?
We have 20-25 staff and 30-45 kids during our session. We try to maintain no more than a 3 to 1 ratio of campers to staff.
What is the philosophy of your camp?
We want our campers to have a fun, safe and positive camp experience where they don’t need to be concerned about their Tourette Syndrome. So you may walk past one of our cabin groups of say 10 campers and 4 staff where they are having motor or vocal tics but nobody cares or notices or worried about what others may say.
What are growing challenges of your camp?
Fundraising of course. We also have challenges in reaching out to the community we service to make them aware of our program due to our limited budget. Retaining and finding good volunteers to keep our program running.
What are some things your camp does really well?
We have never turned away family due to financial need. We also are able to develop our own staff or find excellent volunteers. We have developed into a program that is able to handle most of the camper issues that come with our children thanks to a great group of professional volunteers
How long has the camp been with ACA Illinois?
Got involved in ACA back in 2002
How long has your camp been accredited?
Why do you choose accreditation?
Helps ensure we run a quality program and challenges us to do better every year.