Asperger’s Teen Summer Program

At Beyond Akeela we believe in experiential learning in a socially immersive camp setting. This core philosophy is ingrained in everything we do. Our program gives high school teens organic opportunities to practice the skills needed to thrive in college, with the scaffolded support of experienced staff mentors. Every day, campers build their executive functioning, self-advocacy, and social skills — all while forging deep friendships and building lifelong memories. Our high school teen summer program is intentionally designed to support young adults with Asperger’s or a similar profile (including ASD or autism spectrum, NLD or NVLD, and ADD/ADHD) as they transition to college and beyond.

Progressive Program

There are three stages to Beyond Akeela’s high school summer program. Each stage is designed specifically to create age-appropriate experiences and opportunities for teens to engage in their post-secondary journey. As teens progress with Beyond Akeela, they are empowered with increasing levels of independence and responsibility, and challenged to to work toward and think critically about their post-secondary goals. Throughout the application process we discuss which program is best suited for your teen. Check out what a summer with Beyond Akeela will look like below!

Foundation (Grades 10-11)
Transition (Grades 11-12)
Post-Grad (Grade 12 - Gap Year)

Program Highlights

College & Job Readiness
Teens have opportunities to reflect on their college & job readiness as they begin to explore post-secondary options for college programs and careers. They are challenged to think critically about the type of support they will benefit from in a college setting and how they can advocate for and access it.

Leadership Skills & Teen Chats
Each teen is empowered to choose a Community Leadership project in which they will discover and develop their leadership potential. They engage in meaningful conversations with other teens on topics like social media, healthy living habits and relationships, and their post-secondary goals.

Philosophy

This group focuses on realizing their leadership potential and exercising their independence as they begin to explore post-secondary options. Through a mix of choice based camp activities, self-led community leadership initiatives, and opportunities to reflect on their post-secondary goals, this group lays the foundation on which they will build upon in the coming years as they approach college.

A Typical Day

Wake Up & Morning Prep
(7:30am-9:00am)
Campers set their own alarm and are responsible for getting themselves ready for breakfast. Breakfast is in the campus dining hall every day. Each dorm hall has a brief morning meeting to help everyone prep for the day!
Morning Choice 1
(9:00am-10:00am)
Choose from a selection of outdoor specialty activities facilitated by Akeela staff. Options include, Arts, Dance, Music, Strategy Games (eg. D&D), Table Top RPG, Team Sports, Tech Tent, Tennis, Wilderness Survival, Yoga/Mindfulness and more! Campers can choose two specialty activities each week.
Morning Choice 2
(10:00am-11:00am)
Choose from a selection of outdoor specialty activities facilitated by Akeela staff. Options include, Arts, Dance, Music, Strategy Games (eg. D&D), Table Top RPG, Team Sports, Tech Tent, Tennis, Wilderness Survival, Yoga/Mindfulness and more! Campers can choose two specialty activities each week.
Free Time
(11:00am-12:00pm)
Teens can hang out in the dorm or around campus with their best friends from camp.
Lunch
(12:00pm-12:45pm)
Most lunches will be in the campus dining hall, and on day trips campers typically share a picnic lunch while the group is out.
Rest Hour
(12:45pm-1:45pm)
An important time to re-energize and get ready for the afternoon program!
Community Leadership
(1:45pm-2:45pm)
Teens choose a leadership track to follow while they are at camp! Options include community service projects, creating a camp news team, or getting certified in First Aid/CPR.
Snack
(2:45pm-3:00pm)
Everyone gets together for a healthy snack as a community.
Health & Wellness
(3:00pm-4:00pm)
Teens have the chance to exercise in a way they enjoy each day! There are options to go for a walk/run, use the gym facilities, or swim.
Adventure & Teen Time
(4:00pm-5:00pm)
Some periods teens enjoy adventure based camp activities like boating and high ropes elements, and other times there are have group activities about teen topics like healthy relationships, post-secondary goals, social media, and others.
Shower Hour
(5:00pm-6:00pm)
This is a great time for teens to email back and forth with family, clean up before dinner, and hang out in the lounge with their best camp friends. More active options are also available each day, as campers can use the exercise facility and other activity areas on campus during this time.
Dinner
(6:00pm-7:00pm)
Most nights the group has dinner together in the campus dining hall.
Evening Meeting
(7:00pm-7:30pm)
Review the day, preview tomorrow, and recognize camper successes. A staple of the Akeela community!
Evening Activity
(7:30pm-9:30pm)
Evening activities range from nights out for bowling or getting dessert in town, to game nights, campfires, and talent shows.

Program Highlights

College Readiness
Teens learn more about the college application process with educational consultants and explore different post-secondary options on college visits. They are challenged to set goals for the upcoming year that will prepare them for a successful transition to college.
Madison Day Trip Part 1: Visit and explore two different college environments in Madison: The University of Wisconsin and Mansfield Hall.
Community Service & Career Services
Teens pick a service project THEY are interested in. They earn 10 service hours over the summer and walk away with something to add to their resume! Career Services deliver dynamic activities on mock interviews and resume building.

Philosophy

This group of teens sets action plans on how they are going to reach their post-secondary goals. With more flexibility in their schedule, they have more responsibility to manage their time at camp and gain opportunities to prepare meals in small groups. They enjoy a blend of exciting off-campus social experiences, field expert-led activities geared toward their post-secondary lives, and organic opportunities to hone their independent living skills on a college campus.

A Sample Day

Wake Up & Morning Prep
(8:00am-9:30am)
Campers are responsible for getting themselves to the campus dining hall on time for a group breakfast and morning meeting. After breakfast, they head back to the dorm to prep for their day of camp.
AM Activity
(9:30am-12:00pm)
A sample morning may include community service work, or time for health & wellness followed by a morning at the local farmer’s market. Check out the program highlights below for more planned activities.
Lunch
(12:00pm-1:00pm)
Pending the day, lunches are a mix of pre-packed lunches to eat out of camp picnic-style, lunches in the campus dining hall, and an occasional lunch out at a local restaurant.
PM Activity
(1:00pm-4:30pm)
A sample afternoon may include a trip to a high ropes course, or mock interviews with the campus career center followed by time to explore downtown independently with other campers. Check out the program highlights below for more planned activities.
Freetime
(4:30pm-6:00pm)
This is a great time for teens to email back and forth with family back home, get some rest, or hang out in the lounge with their best camp friends. More active options are also available each day, as campers can use the exercise facility and other areas on campus at during this time.
Dinner
(6:00pm-7:00pm)
Each camper has a chance to prepare two meals with a small group of camp friends. They plan the menu, budget for the grocery store trip, and prep the meal as a team with as needed support from the staff. Dinner on other nights are at the campus dining hall or out at a local restaurant.
Evening Meeting
(7:00pm-7:30pm)
Review the day, preview tomorrow, and recognize camper successes. A staple of the Akeela community!
Evening Activity
(7:30pm-9:30pm)
Evening activities range from nights out at a local arcade or a minor league baseball game, to menu planning and money management exercises lead by Beyond Akeela staff.

Program Highlights – Click headers to expand

Work Study
Each teen holds an on-campus internship during which they develop relationships with and receive meaningful feedback from their supervisors. They also gain exposure to a college classroom environment, led by collegiate faculty, and develop a strong understanding of the differences in learning expectations between high school and college.
Travel Planning
Teens are actively engaged in setting itineraries and making plans for various group outings, including overnight and day trips.


Philosophy

The focus for Post-Grads turns quite literally to “What’s next?”. Their next steps in life require more self-advocacy and independent decision making, and they are provided opportunities to practice those skills in a safe environment. Post-Grads gain real experiences in college classrooms and work environments, and are given the tools to navigate their daily schedule independently.

A Sample Day

Wake Up & Morning Prep
(8:00am-9:30am)
Campers are responsible for getting themselves to the campus dining hall on time for a group breakfast and morning meeting. After breakfast, they head back to the dorm to prep for their day of camp.
AM Activity
(9:30am-12:00pm)
A sample morning may be spent at a camper’s internship location, or at a cooking lesson from the head chef on campus followed by time in their cooking groups to plan out meals to prepare. Check out the program highlights below for more planned activities
Lunch
(12:00pm-1:00pm)
Pending the day, lunches are a mix of pre-packed lunches to eat out of camp picnic-style, lunches in the campus dining hall, and an occasional lunch out at a local restaurant.
PM Activity
(1:00pm-4:30pm)
A sample afternoon may include a college level course designed for Beyond Akeela campers, or time out on a hike near campus. Check out the program highlights below for more planned activities.
Freetime
(4:30pm-6:00pm)
This is a great time for teens to email back and forth with family back home, get some rest, or hang out in the lounge with their best camp friends. More active options are also available each day, as campers can use the exercise facility and other areas on campus at during this time.
Dinner
(6:00pm-7:00pm)
Each camper will have a chance to prepare two meals with a small group of camp friends. They plan the menu, budget for the grocery store trip, and prep the meal as a team with as needed support from the staff. Dinner on other nights are at the campus dining hall or out at a local restaurant.
Evening Meeting
(7:00pm-7:30pm)
Review the day, preview tomorrow, and recognize camper successes. A staple of the Akeela community!
Evening Activity
(7:30pm-9:30pm)
Evening activities range from nights out for bowling or a minor league baseball game, to engaging activities related to job searching and money management lead by Beyond Akeela staff.

Activity Highlights

  • Outdoor Adventure: Day hikes, white water rafting, challenge courses
  • Health & Wellness: Exercise opportunities, swimming, yoga/mindfulness
  • Camp Activities: Choice-based activities in the arts, boating, sports, and strategy games (D&D) [Foundation Program Only]
  • Group Outings: Bowling, farmer’s markets, mini-golf, minor league baseball games, museums
  • Community Fun: Talent shows, campfires, game nights, movie nights

Teen Trips

Travel opportunities are essential to the social experience of our high school teen program. Each teen will have the opportunity to participate in the trips below:

Overnight Camping Trip (1 night) – There is nothing quite like sitting by the fire under the stars surrounded by camp friends, and of course having some s’mores too!

Day Trips – Groups have opportunities to explore local towns independently, and experience the culture of their surrounding communities.

Big City Trip – The last few days together will be shared on a 3 night trip to a major city, with chances to see its main attractions, museums, and explore the parts of the city teens want to.


Are you looking for a high school summer program for your teen with NVLD or Asperger’s? We’d love to chat and see how we can help!

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