Asperger’s Teen Summer Program

At Beyond Akeela we believe in experiential learning in a fun camp setting. This core philosophy is ingrained in everything we do. Our program gives high school teens opportunities to practice post-secondary life skills alongside a true peer group, with experienced staff mentors. Every day, campers improve their executive functioning, self-advocacy, social skills, and independence — 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.

Beyond Akeela’s progressive curriculum adapts to meet the needs of each age group: from the end of 10th grade through a post-graduate “gap year”. More importantly, we work with each family to place their teen in the program level that best meets their specific developmental goals.

Check out what a summer with Beyond Akeela will look like below!

The Beyond Akeela Program

* Grade levels refer to year completed by the Beyond Akeela summer.

Sophomores
Juniors
Seniors

Program Highlights – Click headers to expand

College & Job Readiness
Teens will have opportunities to reflect on their college & job readiness as they begin to explore post-secondary options for college programs and careers.
Leadership Skills
Each teen will choose a Community Leadership project of their choice to discover and develop their leadership skills.
Health & Wellness
Beyond Akeela Sophomores will establish a daily exercise routine and have meaningful small group conversations about healthy eating habits, exercise, and maintaining healthy relationships.
Choice-Based Programming
Each day is filled with choice, giving Beyond Akeela Sophomores the space to self-advocate and make the most of their experience. See the typical day schedule below for activity options!
Life Skills
Campers are given structured opportunities to do their own laundry and are given the support needed to be independent in managing their daily routines.
Outdoor Adventure
There will be ample opportunities for exploring the outdoors on hikes, an overnight trip, boating on open water, and ropes course activities. Staff follow a challenge by choice system at Beyond Akeela, and campers have a supportive peer group and staff community to cheer them on!

Goals & Outcomes

Beyond Akeela Sophomores focus on realizing their leadership potential, developing their independence, and begin their exploration of post-secondary opportunities. Outdoor adventure based activities will help teens realize what they are capable of, step out of their comfort zone, and gain self-awareness. Sophomores also focus on developing healthy living habits to maintain at home, including exercise, nutrition and relationships.

A Typical Day with Beyond Akeela Sophomores

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)
Sophomores 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)
Campers get get together for a healthy snack as a community.
Health & Wellness
(3:00pm-4:00pm)
Campers 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
(4:00pm-5:00pm)
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.

Trips

Aspergers Outdoor Adventure

Sophomore Overnight Camping Trip (1 night) – A bonding experience like no other! Sophomores will also enjoy scenic and rewarding hikes, and of course s’mores!

Sophomore Day Trips – Get to know the local community around campus and enjoy opportunities for day hikes and other nature exploration!

Sophomore Excursion – The last few days together will be shared on the road! The Sophomore Big Trip gives teens opportunities for outdoor adventure and independently exploring new cities.

Program Highlights – Click headers to expand

College & Job Readiness
Teens will learn more about the college application process with educational consultants and explore different post-secondary options on college visits. Their community service work will help reinforce workplace expectations, and mock interviews and resume workshops with the career center will set them up for future success!
Madison Day Trip Part 1: Visit and explore two different college environments in Madison: The University of Wisconsin and Mansfield Hall.
Community Service
Beyond Akeela Juniors pick a service project THEY are interested in. Teens earn 8 service hours this summer and walk away with something to add to their resume!
Health & Wellness
Teens will develop a healthy exercise routine, practice mindfulness, and engage in group conversations about maintaining these habits independently.
Social Outings
Campers have opportunities to independently explore the local community’s many offerings, including an awesome local farmer’s market and history museum.
Life Skills
Juniors will enjoy a cooking class from the head chef of campus dining services, and put their skills to practice in their cooking group. Campers will manage their laundry with limited support from staff.
Outdoor Adventure
The group will go on an overnight camping trip complete with white water rafting, in addition to local hikes and opportunities to fly high on the zip line!

Goals & Outcomes

Campers will continue fostering friendships and with old and new friends and gain more independence as they explore the surrounding community on social outings. Beyond Akeela Juniors hone in on appropriate post-secondary opportunities for themselves and set plans for how to get there, and put their job skills into practice through community service. The schedule maintains a sense of structure while providing more flexibility, allowing campers to practice their organizational skills in a college-like environment.

A Sample Day with Beyond Akeela Juniors

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 above for more activities Juniors experience.
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 above for more activities Juniors experience.
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 at a local arcade or a minor league baseball game, to menu planning and money management exercises lead by Beyond Akeela staff.

Trips

Junior/Senior 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! Campers will also have a chance to go on a white water rafting trip and will share this trip with the Beyond Akeela Seniors.

Aspergers Teen Program Travel

Junior Day Trips – Explore the culture and cities around campus with lots of opportunities for navigating smaller cities independently. There will be opportunities to go on college visits to learn more about different college options!

Junior Big City Journey – The last few days together will be shared in a nearby big city to take in the sites and sounds! After several weeks on campus, the Big City Journey is an exciting shared travel experience that promotes cultural awareness, opportunities to practice independent living in a metropolitan setting, and provides a sense of closure for each teen.

Program Highlights – Click headers to expand

College & Job Readiness
Beyond Akeela Seniors gain experience in a college classroom environment and hold an on-campus internship to maintain at camp. Teens are given the space and support needed to manage their schedules independently.
Internship Experience
Each Beyond Akeela Senior will hold an on-campus internship that they are responsible for getting to and from each day.
Health & Wellness
Teens get the chance to develop a healthy exercise routine, practice mindfulness, and engage in group conversations about maintaining these habits independently.
Social Outings
Teens will assist the staff in planning out day trips and local outings and take control of their social experience at camp!
Life Skills
Seniors enjoy a cooking class from the head chef of campus dining services, and put their skills to practice with their cooking group. They are also fully responsible for their laundry.

Outdoor Adventure
Campers will lead an overnight camping trip and help the staff prepare for the trip, from directions to menus to activities around camp, the Seniors’ hands are all over this trip. In addition, teens have options to participate in white water rafting, hikes, and thrilling challenge courses.

Goals & Outcomes

For Beyond Akeela Seniors, the focus turns quite literally to “What’s next?”. For all Seniors, their next steps in life require more self-advocacy and independent decision making. Beyond Akeela Seniors gain real life experiences in college classrooms and work environments, and are given the tools to navigate their daily schedule independently.

A Sample Day with Beyond Akeela Seniors

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 above for more activities Seniors experience.
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 Seniors, or time out on a hike near campus. Check out the program highlights above for more activities Seniors experience.
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.

Trips

Junior/Senior Overnight Camping Trip (1 night) – Seniors will help staff plan the overnight camping trip, including setting the menu for cooking over the fire and grocery shopping. Of course there is time to have some s’mores too! Seniors will also have a chance to go on a white water rafting trip and will share this trip with the Beyond Akeela Juniors.

Aspergers Teen Program Group

Senior Day Trips – Beyond Akeela Seniors will share the responsibility of planning the itineraries for these outings as they explore the culture of the surrounding community.

Senior Big City Journey – The last few days together will be shared in a nearby big city, and Seniors are given opportunities to explore the city the way they want to! Beyond Akeela Seniors spend time on campus planning the in’s and out’s of this trip and get a chance to practice navigating the city independently.