The expected and unexpected results of building a summer camp

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 in Occupational Therapy

At Spring OT we are very passionate about getting creative with interventions and building programs for clients. This summer, we were ecstatic to build a brand new summer camp, from the ground up. Along with our SLP partners, Cochrane Speech Language Therapy Centre, we made a plan of what we expected and how we were going to make it happen. However, as with many experiences, there were some unexpected results that surprised us along the way.

Therapeutic summer camp

Get Ready…

Preparing for summer camp was an ongoing process that took place over many months. This phase was all about setting goals, treatment planning, scheduling activities, and incorporating evidence based practice  into our approach. Our aim was to design a program that was meaningful to early learners and young school aged children. This meant relating to current interests and engaging a variety of fine motor, gross motor, sensory processing, social, and play skills, as well as speech and language development. It also meant building in room to adapt each activity in order to create a just-right challenge for each child.

Get Set…

Just like any newly planned event, there is always a small part that wonders if your plan will actually unfold as expected. Especially, when working with children! Thanks to our experienced staff, dedicated families, and attention to start up, we are happy to report that our therapeutic summer camp was a success, with one parent saying “I really appreciate the amount of planning it took to construct a camp like this, and the hard work showed.”

We had small child to staff ratios which enabled us to create a summer camp feel where the children could learn and play together while also receiving the appropriate supports they needed to be successful. The summer camp program was delivered and adapted as needed to accommodate each child’s interests and diverse learning needs. We were also very fortunate to have such an experienced team who were able to read and follow each child’s lead in order to optimize their experience.


By the time each week of camp came to an end, we were thrilled at the growth that each child demonstrated, whether it was improvements in their skills, confidence, or their excitement as they told their parents about the games they played with their new friends. As another parent wrote to us “I felt like my son got the intensive therapy environment he needed, but the fun interactions he desired. I have noticed a greater confidence in his ability to self-regulate during big body play as well as a increased inclination to use his hands to manipulate objects like pens and scissors. “ In our opinion, the key to this growth can be summed up by two words: connection and relationship.

The original expectation of this therapeutic summer camp was to equip children with the skills they need in order to be successful. An unexpected and welcome surprise was just how much we learned from each of our campers and their families. Sign up for our blog, to keep informed on this year’s camp development and new programs happening at our clinic.