McMaster Camps: March Break & Summer

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Special Needs & One-on-One Support

We strive to provide a fun and inclusive experience for all of our campers and work with families to help them achieve their goals while providing an integrated, enjoyable camp experience.

Keep reading for more information on our One-on-One program or contact Maggie Cockburn, Camps Coordinator at cockbumk@mcmaster.ca or 905-525-9140 x26639, for assistance. 

Tell us about your camper!

During registration, families are asked to share additional information on their camper's needs and goals so that we can better support them at camp. Please esnure you allot yourself enough time to complete a Needs Assessment Form. Questions about what to expect on the form, prior to registering? Contact Maggie Cockburn at cockbumk@mcmaster.ca or 905 525 9140 x26639

One-on-One Shadow Program

One-on-one support is offered in all of our Mini-U and SFS sessions at no additional cost - check session dates and details on their main camp pages:

Supporting Camper Needs: Commitment & Limits

Our staff are dedicated to supporting campers with a wide range of needs and abilities, whether managing a chronic medical condition like diabetes, a return-to-play plan post-injury, or offering one-on-one support for a child needing extra care. While we are experienced and able to support a wide variety of exceptionalities, our coaches and counsellors are hired based on experience, and not qualified training (i.e. staff consist of university students and teachers. They are not typically EAs, child & youth workers, OTs etc.). All campers must have control of bowel and bladder, as our facilities and staff are not equipped to care for campers who require regular support in these areas.

Registering for One-on-One Support

Be sure to register for the right session! Be careful to select the sessions labeled 'One-on-One Support' when registering and beware the general camp sessions available for the same date, time and fee.

  • If your child requires support in an educational setting, we recommend one-on-one support at Sport Fitness School and Mini-University. If you are unsure if your child will require support, please call Maggie Cockburn, Camps Coordinator at 905-525-9140 x26639.
  • If your child is transitioning out of the one-on-one support program at camp, be sure to call or email to explain how the needs of the child have been changed.
  • Registration Opens, ONE (Mini-U) / TWO (SFS) Sessions Per Camper : Starting January 27th each season, individual campers may register for ONE(Mini-U) / TWO (SFS) of our One-on-One Support sessions. Our software will allow you to register for more than one session prior to February 25, but the people behind the system won't! Please respect your fellow camp families and adhere to our process.
  • February 25, Open Registration Begins - No Limit: Campers are welcome to register for any remaining camp sessions, without limit.

Considerations of One-on-One Support

Sport Fitness School

  • Sport Fitness School strives to provide integrated sport for athletes who identify with an exceptionality. Our One-on-One Coordinator and Occupational Therapists provide tools for athletes to be successful in large and small group settings.
  • Sport Fitness School is a large camp with over 300 campers each session and locations can require 5-10 minutes of travel time. There are some sports that have higher stimulus environments as well. As we do our best to accommodate for all needs and accessibility, please be sure to call the office prior to camp to ensure that all tools and support at in place prior to arriving at camp.
  • Coaches are supported and trained volunteers by our Sport Fitness School One-on-One Camps Coordinator. Our one-on-one program is an extension of our program and therefore is based around the model of integration.
  • Athletes registered in the program will cycle through 6 coaches in one day. Athletes will have a consistent coach for each sport they are registered in, as well as their home counsellor group. However, coaches will vary for transition periods (Swim and Lunch) each day.
  • Athletes taking transportation to and from camp will not have access to one-on-one support. There are coaches on the bus supervising, however there is not one coach with the athlete.
  • The more information given and communication with our coordinator, the more successful the child's experience will be. Be sure to connect daily via phone or email with the coordinator.

Mini-University

  • Mini-University strives to provide integrated activities for campers who identify with an exceptionality. Our One-on-One Coordinator and Occupational Therapists provide tools for campers to be successful in large and small group settings.
  • Mini-University is a medium-sized camp with over 150 campers each session and locations can require 10+ minutes of travel time. There are some activities that have higher stimulus environments as well. As we do our best to accommodate for all needs and accessibility, please be sure to call the office prior to camp to ensure that all tools and support at in place prior to arriving at camp.
  • Counsellors are supported and trained volunteers by our Mini-University One-on-One Camps Coordinator. Our one-on-one program is an extension of our program and therefore is based around the model of integration. It is important for guardians to understand that our camp, as well as our counsellors do face some reasonable limitations. As a result of this, we strongly encourage guardians of those considering the One-on-One program to take the time to review the programming of camp itself.
  • One-on-One campers will be encouraged by their counsellors to participate in the camp to the best of their ability. Meaning, if the programming itself at camp is appearing to be a great barrier for the potential camper, perhaps a better fit elsewhere should be considered.
  • Campers registered in the program will work closely with 2 coaches in one day. Campers will have a consistent counsellor throughout the morning, and will transition for the afternoon.
  • Campers taking transportation to and from camp will not have access to one-on-one support. There are counsellors on the bus supervising, however there is not one counsellor with the camper.
  • The more information given and communication with our coordinator, the more successful the child's experience will be. Be sure to connect daily via phone or email with the coordinator.

Frequently Asked Questions: One-on-One Program

  • Which camps offer one-on-one support? One-on-one support is offered in our two biggest and summer-long camps, Mini-University and Sport Fitness School.
  • Will my camper be with the same staff person all session? How do I know how their day has gone? A small group of staff work in rotation to support each camper, both to ensure staff have time for breaks and to support our camper's development of social skills. A daily log book is shared between staff and with families at home to mark accomplishments, share tips and opportunities for development, and to ensure consistency across staff during a camper's time at camp.
  • How do camp age limits apply to children and youth in the One-on-One program? Campers in our One-on-One program are welcome 2 years beyond our regular camp age limits:
    • Sport Fitness School: Age 6-16 years
    • Mini-University: Age 8-16 years
  • How do I share information about my child's needs and goals? Families registered in the One-on-One program must complete a Needs Assessment Form during registration. Program staff are also available to follow-up starting in May.
  • Are campers enrolled in the One-on-One program integrated with the rest of camp? Absolutely! Programs are fully integrated, though having one-on-one support allows campers to step out of regular programming as their needs demand.
  • Are there any guidelines when it comes to selecting sports for Sport Fitness School? With special thanks to our Student Occupational Therapists, we offer a Sport Selection Parent Guide (PDF) that helps make recommendations based on your athlete's needs and goals.
  • Does one-on-one support continue on camp buses and at extended care? Our one-on-one staff are in place for the regular camp day, and are not always the same staff assigned to supervise before and after-camp programming. While one-on-one support is not available through these times, our staff will be there to support all campers, especially those with special needs. Many campers enrolled in our One-on-One program have had a very positive experience riding our buses and attending extended care.

Partnership with Occupational Therapy Program

We’ve partnered with the Occupational Therapy (OT) Program at the School of Rehabilitation Science, a Master level professional program at McMaster University. Student OT’s are integrated into some of our camp programs to provide an educational opportunity to staff and students alike as they work on a consultative basis to promote inclusion and provide recommendations for ensuring that all campers are getting the most out of their camp experience. The student OTs will be working under the supervision of an off-site registered OT. They will be accessing registration information and observing campers and may contact parents/guardians for permission to conduct further assessments and interventions with individual campers. They are not, however, responsible for camper supervision. 

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy is a regulated health profession; OTs provide specialized services to individuals using a holistic lens. OTs consider all aspects of the person and the environment in assessments and interventions - cognitive, cultural, physical, social, psychological, emotional, etc.