We noticed a group of campers aging out of Camp Akeela with the untapped potential to find post-secondary success. Parents shared stories of their students going off to college hoping things worked out. We knew the Akeela community could do more to prepare our campers for post-secondary success.
Thriving in college means being a good roommate, connecting with like-minded peers, advocating for oneself, navigating unstructured time, balancing social life with academic demands, staying physically and emotionally healthy, and so much more. These critical areas, when students are not in class, are often more challenging for neurodiverse teens. This is why we created Beyond Akeela.
Born Out of a Traditional Camp Program
Many college readiness and transition programs are designed by academic institutions that specialize in academics. Beyond Akeela was designed by summer camp professionals who specialize in youth development and fostering social confidence. This is why Beyond Akeela is so unique. It was designed from inception with an explicit focus on the non-academic skills students need to thrive in college. Teens join Beyond Akeela to feel the warmth of a summer camp community, while experiencing the independence they’ve earned. Further, they are entering a socially immersive college setting that emphasizes experiential learning.
A Small, Intimate Community
Our camp community is small and intimate. Everybody knows one another. Similarly, many of our campers have similar shared experiences in life prior to entering our community. This creates a powerful sense of togetherness and empowers teens to be their true selves. Teens are motivated to pursue their post-secondary goals because they are surrounded by like-minded peers with similar aspirations.
Pillars of Akeela
Camp Akeela is founded on five core pillars, which are essential parts of the Beyond Akeela community:
- FRIENDSHIP: Akeela facilitates social growth and helps campers develop meaningful, life-long friendships.
- COMMUNITY. The Akeela community accepts, values and celebrates each camper and staff member.
- GROWTH. Akeela fosters the personal growth of each camper by supplying safe and supported opportunities for choice and challenge.
- PRIDE. Akeela campers develop and experience competence and are encouraged to take pride in their accomplishments.
- FUN. Above all, Akeela provides campers with lasting memories of summers filled with spirit and FUN!