Summer is a time to break out of the usual routine and have some fun. That’s true for everyone, including people who have disabilities. For many, it may be their first time to be away from home. For others, going to summer camp has become their once-a-year vacation. For everyone, it represents summer activities like horseback riding, swimming and paddle boating.
That’s why campers have been coming back to SOAR365 year after year – ever since we offered our first summer camp program back in 1956. That’s why families continue to depend on us for a summertime break from the never-ending responsibilities and routines that are required to care for someone with a disability.
SOAR365’s ten, weeklong summer sessions are held at its 22-acre Camp Baker facility in Chesterfield County between June and August:
• Seven weeklong sessions are for adults ages 18 and over
• Two weeklong sessions are for children 6-17
• Overnight and day options are available during all 10 sessions
SOAR365’s Summer Camp is fully accredited by the American Camp Association, which assures that our current practices reflect the most up-to-date, research-based standards in the industry.
It’s a camp! So, yes, our campers get to experience swimming, horseback riding, paddle boating, arts and crafts, sports and recreation, nature, music, talent shows, cook outs, pool parties, and even camping in a tent.
Many of our campers have physical and medical problems in addition to intellectual disabilities, so recruiting mature, well-trained staff is important to us.
• We have an onsite RN to manage medications and health-related issues.
• Many of our camp counselors have training in a disability-related field.
• Our counselors come from around the world, giving our campers exposure to a broad range of cultures and backgrounds.
In 2018, 436 youth and adults attended the program.
Why we need your help: Our expenses for summer camp are more than double what we charge. That means we lose about $900 a week, per camper. We will always need to depend on donations, grants and other resources to help close the gap.
7600 Beach Rd Chesterfield Virginia 23838
Primary Population Served
Children and Adults with Disabilities
“I’m Billy’s biggest advocate,” says his sister Cookie. Billy, 53, has been attending Camp Baker overnight in the summer for more than a decade. “I think it helps him open up and experience new things. Seeing his peers do things that he’s afraid of inspires him to think, ‘if that person can do it, I can do it,’ ‘’she says. It took Billy about five years at Camp Baker to participate in horseback riding, canoeing, and paddle boating, but when he did, “he loved it! Once he tries something, he’s ecstatic,” she added. While Billy is on vacation, Cookie has a vacation, too. “At Camp Baker, they look forward to seeing him, and he looks forward to seeing them. Gives me a little downtime.” “SOAR365 has been marvelous,” she said, explaining families can be comfortable that their loved ones are safe and happy. “That little bit of time gets you refreshed.”