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December 07, 2022

Where Every Family Matters

Special Needs Camps for Kids

All kinds of kids can participate in social and fun environments this summer — sign up now for camps kicking off in June.

All kinds of fun experiences make up camps for kids with special needs — many of which are registering now for this coming summer. Check out our listings and make plans for your child.

Camp Ability
2132 E. Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
615-809-2632
Special Kids Therapy and Nursing Center offers Camp Ability to children with special needs ages 6 – 25. The seven-week camp takes place in June and July in Murfreesboro. Camp Ability allows campers to participate in interactive, social and fun environments. Camp counselors focus on each child’s abilities, finding ways for everyone to participate in activities. Registration is first-come, first-serve and the camp fills quickly. Currently, pre-online registration is only available for returning campers. New camper pre-online registration will open up soon, space permitting. Scholarships are available.

Camp Conquest
3934 West West Union Road
Millington, TN 38053
901-490-7164
This Christ-centered, week-long, overnight camp is for children ages 6 – 16 with developmental disabilities including autism, PDD, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and others. An additional camp is available for ages 17 and older. Located in Millington, Tenn., participating children come from numerous southern states to experience making new friends, horseback riding, canoeing, rock climbing and more. Volunteer opportunities are available for typical kids, ages 13 – 16 interested in junior counseling. Two different camp sessions are available: Session 1 (ages 18+) is June 6 – 11; Session 2 (ages 18+) is June 13 – 18; Session 3 is June 20 – 25 (ages 7 – 17); Session 4 is June 27 – July 2 (ages 18+). Check the website for disabilities served.

Camp Discovery
400 Camp Discovery
Gainesboro, TN 38562
615-504-1727 (Chester Lowe)
Email: vicepresident@jayceecamp.org
Tennessee Jaycees provides this residential camp for ages 7 and older with mental and physical challenges. Located in Nolensville, this five-day camp sessions feature hiking, music, games, sports, swimming, campfires and more. Seven different one-week sessions are available: June 12 – 17; June 26 – July ; July 3 – 8; July 10 – 15 (ages 7 – 26 only); July 17 – 22 and July 24 – 29. Registration is open now.

Camp Forget-Me-Not
615-963-4732
Email: griefsupport@alivehospice.org
An Alive Hospice camp for kids and teens who are grieving the death of someone important in their life. Kids gather in small peer groups with grief counselors, but also get to enjoy fun activities at YMCA Camp Widjiwagan in Nashville. The 2022 camp is August 13 – 14 with a one-night stay.

Camp Horizon
Bethany Hills Campground
Kingston Springs, TN
615-952-0039
Email: info2camphorizontn.org
A camp for children who have or have had cancer; camp is free of charge to all campers. A sibling camp is available also. Apply on the website. Camp for kids who have or have had cancer is June 12 – 17; camp for siblings is June 19 – 24.

Camp Hope
Thru Vanderbilt Burn Center
615-349-5645 (Brittni Davis, RN)
This non-profit organization through Vanderbilt Burn Center provides a free week of physical and emotional healing for children ages 6 – 16 with burn injuries. The residential camp takes place July 20 – 23 at William P. Ridley 4-H Center in Columbia. Applications are available now at the website.

Camp Sign Me Up
Camp Rise and Shine
Bridges for the Deaf
and Hard of Hearing
935 Edgehill Ave.
615-248-8828
The youth programs at BridgesTN and now BridgesWEST serve deaf and hard of hearing kids from kindergarten through high school. Applications are now available for summer camps.  Camp Sign Me Up is available in six different sessions and is designed to teach hearing students American Sign Language. In-person camp at BridgesTN take place June 6 – 10, June 20 – 24, July 11 – 15 and July 18 – 22. In-person camp at BridgesWest take place June 20 – 24 and July 11 – 15.

Camp Kesem
253-736-3821
Email: hope.wooten@kesem.org (Hope Wooten)
Camp Kesem operates free summer camp for children who have been impacted by a parent’s cancer. Lead by college students from Vanderbilt University. At press time, dates for 2022 were not available. Camp takes place at Camp Sumatanga in Gallant, Alabama.

Camp Will
Through Williamson County Parks and Recreation
615-790-5719, ext. 2033
A therapeutic summer camp for children through young adults with developmental and intellectual disabilties. June 6 – July 22, Mon – Fri from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., located at Pearre Creek Elementary School in Franklin.

Deaf Camp
Bill Rice Ranch
627 Bill Rice Ranch Road
Murfreesboro, TN
800-253-RICE x125
Bill Rice Ranch is a revival ministry in Murfreesboro that offers Deaf Camp for deaf children ages 9 – 19 with one week free. The camp is offered in five different five-day sessions: June 13 – 17; June 27 – July 1; July 11 – 15. Features trail rides, gospel messages in sign language, sport competitions, swimming and more.

Empower Me Center
Day Camp Program
223 Bluegrass Circle
Lebanon, TN 37090
615-453-0005
Located in Lebanon, this camp’s for ages 5 – 21 with mild to moderate physical, developmental or mental disabilities and takes place across three weeks in June and July. Offerings include sports, music and drama, arts and crafts, water games, nature and outdoor adventures, and more. Teachers and trained staff members help campers have a fun and controlled camp experience.

Easter Seals Camp
615-292-6640
Summer day and resident camps held at YMCA Camp Widjiwagan for children with disabilities ages 7 – 16. With a 1:3 camper-to-counselor ratio, kids enjoy canoeing, archery, ropes activities, nature activities, sports, swimming and more. Easter Seals campers join regular Camp Widjiwagan campers to have the same camp experiences. There are nine five-day sessions to choose from beginning May 30. One resident camp session takes place July 3 – 9 for ages 10 – 16. Registration is now open. 

Saddle Up’s Fun on the Farm
1549 Old Hillsboro Road
Franklin, TN 37069
615-794-1150
Email: info@saddleupnashville.org
June and July. Participants receive a week at Saddle Up from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Monday through Friday. Participants must be between ages 6 and 19 and have a documented disability. 

Currey Ingram Summer Programs
6544 Murray Lane
Brentwood, TN 37027
Email: camps@curreyingram.org (Hannah McGuire)
Currey Ingram Academy offers an ADHD Summer Treatment Program for ages 8 – 12; an ASD Summer Program for grades one through five; and Camp Beech Creek for rising grades K – 6 in the morning and grades one through six in the afternoon which is also open to the public.

About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this publication and the mom of four amazing kids.