HOLLY — Now entering its second year as southeast Michigan’s only outdoor summer day camp for special needs kids, Camp Blue Sky is accepting applications for summer 2011 and invites parents to attend an open house on April 16 from 12-3 p.m.
Camp Blue Sky is located on the grounds of YMCA Camp Ohiyesa, 7300 Hickory Ridge Rd. in Holly. Daily transportation from Birmingham and Brighton is available during camp sessions.
Unlike other special education camps, which take place primarily in school settings, Camp Blue Sky provides the full spectrum of recreational camp activities for those with special needs ages 8 to adult. Under the direct care of qualified and experienced adult professionals, kids enjoy authentic summer camp — horseback riding, canoeing, a 100- foot water slide, zip line, crafts, outdoor cooking, low ropes course, a climbing wall and more, in a challenging, fun and nurturing environment.
Since Camp Blue Sky runs concurrently with the established YMCA Camp Ohiyesa day camp, non-special needs siblings also can attend at the same location.
Camp Ohiyesa is located on 300 picturesque acres on the shores of Fish Lake, conveniently situated between Oakland, Genesee and Livingston counties.
“Our aim is to provide a true, memorable and enriching summer camp experience for the special needs community,” says Camp Blue Sky codirector Barry Feldman.
Campers benefit from a staff-tocamper ratio of 1 to 5. Programs are modified to fit individual needs, with a “challenge by choice” emphasis: children are encouraged but never forced to try the various activities offered.
The application process involves a phone or in-person interview and a review of the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), if applicable, and/or other information in order to ensure a quality experience.
“Last summer —- our first year — was remarkable,” said Camp Blue Sky co-director Darlene Garrison. “Our kids left with a new sense of independence and belonging. Many are planning to return, and to make some unforgettable memories.”
Due to a successful first season and increased demand, camp sessions have been expanded from four to five days weekly, from July 11 through Aug. 19. The discounted weekly rate is $299 for those who register by April 30.
Financial aid opportunities are available. Camp hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Before-and after-care are available, as is daily transportation from locations in Birmingham and Brighton.