About Beyond Akeela Teen Camp & Travel Program
- Why should I send my teen on a camp & travel program?Beyond Akeela is the best place for older teens to become more resilient and confident, gain a greater sense of independence, and experience meaningful success. There is no better way to prepare for life after high school than to live independently and away from home, with the assistance of trained advisors, in a safe and supportive community. The program pushes campers out of their comfort zone, and allows them to practice life skills while adapting to new environments.
- How long is Beyond Akeela?Beyond Akeela is a three week program. We believe that 21 days is the perfect amount of time to spend at camp and traveling with peers. While it is short enough to alleviate much of participants’ potential anxiety about being away from home, there’s enough time for teens to adjust and then thrive in their new environment, taking advantage of all that Beyond Akeela has to offer. About two weeks of that time is spent at camp, and the other week is spent on the road traveling in the Midwest.
- Where will my teen go?Please see our Trip Itinerary page for details about the destinations of our trips.
- Will you help me prepare my teen to go away this summer?We are committed to working together with parents to prepare their teenagers for a great experience with Beyond Akeela. Through our application process, we’ll get to know your child and your family really well. Once we’ve all decided that Beyond Akeela is a great fit for him or her, we will send lots of information about what to expect. We know that for most Beyond Akeela participants, this helps them feel less anxious about trying something new. We share descriptions of the itinerary and even lay out exactly how the arrival day plays out. We’ll even introduce him or her to another teenager who will be on the same trip, so they have a friend even before summer arrives!
- What kind of contact will I have with the directors?The Beyond Akeela Director, who travels with the program at all times, will be your main point of contact throughout the summer. They will keep you updated regularly on your teen’s successes and partner with you when there are questions or concerns. Of course, Debbie and Eric Sasson, Camp Akeela’s on-site directors in Vermont, are always available to speak with you should you have any questions or concerns.
- Who are the staff members that will be taking care of my teen?Kevin Trimble, the Beyond Akeela Director, is a camp professional with multiple years experience working with Akeela’s population, and is supported by a team of Beyond Akeela counselors (who we call “advisors”). Advisors have prior experience with “quirky” kids” and have received extensive training on leading trips for this specific group of teenagers. A Wisconsin licensed nurse also accompanies the team, to help with any health care concerns and to distribute medication. We maintain about a 3:1 staff to camper ratio on the trip.
- Can I talk to my teen when he/she is at camp?After your teen has had a few days to adjust to being at camp, a phone call can be scheduled through Kevin. You will also be able to send emails back and forth with your child.
- How do you handle bullying?Bullying on Beyond Akeela is not acceptable. We work very hard to help everyone on the trip feel a strong connection to their new community. Part of that connection involves respect for themselves, their shared space and each other. If anyone ever feels that they are not being treated with respect and understanding, we dedicate all of our energies towards effectively resolving that situation.
- How do you teach social skills and life skills on Beyond Akeela?Making friends, developing self-confidence, achieving independence, and treating others with kindness and compassion… these outcomes explicitly drive everything that happens on Beyond Akeela. However, we also know that teens come on the journey to have fun — not for social skills training! Luckily, traveling with peers provided endless opportunities for real-life, in-the-moment social success. We work on social skills while campers are enjoying a program designed for teens.
A focus on important life skills underlies every activity at camp. For example, meals are an opportunity for campers to develop their culinary skills, plan a menu, go grocery shopping, work within a budget and of course practice cooperation and teamwork. What really makes Beyond Akeela unique is that all activities are customized to support the specific social goals each campers.
Because we know that every camper is different, we choose not to follow one specific social skills curriculum or therapeutic approach. Instead, conversations with parents and professionals throughout the application process allow us to tailor each camper’s experience with specific goals, strategies, coaching techniques and interventions. The end result is that campers take pride in their personal growth and social success at the end of the trip.
- How will this program prepare my teen for life after high school?What better way to learn life skills than to explicitly practice them every day! Teens will cook for themselves, do their own laundry, and manage a budgeted amount of spending money. They will practice independently managing their morning and night time routines, time management skills, and other executive functioning needs. Of course, they will have the support of adult advisors throughout the trip to help them develop these skills.
Participants will also visit different college campuses and gap-year programs to get exposure to different options. Advisors will also create fun ways to assist campers reflect on employment options and practice their interview and application skills.
- What is your policy on electronics and computers at camp?Beyond Akeela teens will be allowed to bring music playing devices, such as iPods or other MP3 player, provided the device has no video or WiFi capabilities. They may also bring cell phones for use during certain portions of the trip; staff members will hold the phones when they are not being used. eReaders are permitted, but other devices that can access the internet are prohibited.
- Who will provide my teen with medical care?We have a Wisconsin licensed nurse on staff and will be responsible for dispensing all medication. Prior to opening day, the nurse orients the staff on the various medical needs of each teen, as well as nearby emergency care facilities for each destination on the trips.
- How do we apply?Apply online or call us toll free at 866-680-4744. There is no deposit or commitment required to apply and the initial application takes just a few minutes to submit. Subsequently, we will request additional application information from you, your child and the professionals who are currently involved in your child’s life. Once we have had an opportunity to review your entire application, we will contact you to follow up.