Camp Altitude Sleepaway Camp
Camp Altitude’s sleepaway program is designed for students entering the 6th through 12th grades and builds upon the foundational skills discussed in our Day Camp section.
Some of our sleepaway campers are at the stage where their foundational social skills are still emerging, while other sleepaway campers may have already mastered many of the skills described. Frequently, we have campers with an uneven profile who have mastered some of these skills, yet have more difficulty with others. Often, our campers benefit from support to help them generalize what they have learned to new settings, activities, people, and situations.
Given our comprehensive intake process, we are privileged to have the opportunity to learn in depth about each of our campers, which allows us to take into consideration their level of skill development and assist each child to grow and build upon those skills that they have mastered. In general, the goal is for our campers to start off receiving the level of support that they require and over time – whether that is during a single summer or over a number of years – to gradually pull back that level of support from direct prompts and cues, to modeling and intermittent reminders, eventually eliminating it altogether.
In addition to the basic skills that are addressed at Camp Altitude Day Camp, Sleepaway campers focus on further advancement of skills in the areas of socialization, executive functioning, coping, and independent living.
Social Skills addressed at this level include:
- Fine-tuning of conversational skills
- Developing and maintaining reciprocal friendships
- Identifying behaviors that are exhibited by a true friend
- Recognizing nonverbal cues, sarcasm, and idioms
- Learning to understand others’ perspectives
- Working collaboratively as a team or within a group
- Social problem solving and conflict resolution
- Increasing self awareness
- For our older campers – should the issue surface at camp – assisting with the navigation of romantic thoughts and interests that often emerge during this developmental phase
- Self advocacy and polite assertiveness with peers and adults
At this stage we focus on the development and application of more advanced executive functioning and coping skills, such as:
- Following more complex directions or game rules
- Organization of belongings
- Planning individually and as a group to meet particular goals, by learning to consider the steps necessary to achieve the goal
- Time and schedule management
- Increasing flexibility and learning to adjust expectations in various situations, including those that involve peers
- Further development of appropriate expression and regulation of positive and negative feelings
- Continued development of coping strategies that can be utilized in any situation
Sleepaway camp also provides our campers with a wonderful opportunity to practice being away from home, family, and school in a supportive and caring environment. Learning to live in a group setting is empowering and helps to prepare our campers for their potential transition to college and adult living.
Independent living skills that are addressed include:
- Following daily self care routines
- Keeping a clean and neat living area
- Making healthy choices during meals and rest times
- Self advocacy
Our aim is for all of our campers to increase their level of responsibility and independence over their time at Camp Altitude. This is best exemplified by the encouragement and mentoring that we provide to our most advanced campers by allowing them to take on leadership roles that involve assisting our staff according to their strengths and interests.
Leadership opportunities are arranged on an individual basis, but may include scheduled times to support staff in preparing for activities, helping to lead activities, or assisting with the younger campers. These opportunities allow our most advanced campers to have a fun summer experience while continuing to build confidence and skills. This also helps them to attain experience in roles that will further prepare them for adulthood.
Sleepaway Camp Director: Nicole Kristal
Nicole Kristal, M.S., OT/L obtained her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from San Jose State University. She is currently working for the Center for Developing Minds in Los Gatos, California. She has many years of experience working with children with autism spectrum disorders, including several years spent as an Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapist, working in sensory integration clinics, in public schools, non-public schools for children with autism, and in home-based early intervention settings. She has training in the use of the DIR/Floortime model for relationship development, sensory integration training, Wilbarger Brushing protocol, and the Therapeutic Listening Program for children with auditory integration difficulties. Her professional passions include: helping children development social skills, motor skills, and self-worth, social-emotional skill development, building leadership skills, building life skills and executive functioning skills, and working with families on managing challenging behavioral issues. In her free time, she enjoys performing with her improvisational comedy troop!