Beyond Akeela College Transition Program FAQ
- Why should I send my teen to a college transition 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 in a college setting. 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. For many teens wither Asperger’s, ASD, and NLD, the social transition to college and maintaining healthy habits is the biggest challenge for them, not academics. We focus our support of Beyond Akeela teens on their social-emotional readiness for college.
- How long is Beyond Akeela?Beyond Akeela is just under a three week program. 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 Lawrence University, and the other week is spent on the road traveling in the Midwest.
- Where do campers live?Beyond Akeela teens live in Sage Hall at Lawrence University. We are the only summer group in our dormitory. All rooms are double-occupancy, and the dorm hall has shared bathrooms on each floor. Staff live on the floor in separate rooms from the campers. Floors are separated by gender identity.
- How do you select roommates?Through the camper application process, we get to know campers very well and do our best to match campers who share common interests and experiences. We also send a roommate survey to all teens in the spring to assist us in finding the best roommate match for everyone.
- Where do campers live?Beyond Akeela teens live in Sage Hall at Lawrence University. We are the only summer group in our dormitory.
- Where does a typical day at Beyond Akeela look like?Please see our Program Details 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 teen 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 program and even lay out exactly how the arrival day plays out. We’ll introduce him or her to another teenager who will be on the same trip, so they have a friend even before summer arrives! We encourage you to look through the rest of our website with your teen to help him or her develop a good understanding of what to expect from the summer. We are here to help, so please send us any questions you or your teen have!
- What kind of contact will I have with the directors?The Beyond Akeela Directors and a Head Advisor will be your main points 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.
- Who are the staff members that will be taking care of my teen?Kevin and Kristin Trimble, the Beyond Akeela Directors, are camp professionals with 10+ years experience working with Akeela’s population. They are supported by a team of Beyond Akeela counselors (who we call “advisors”). Advisors have prior experience with teens with Asperger’s, ASD, and NLD, 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.
- 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 and Kristin. 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 at 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 program.
- How will this program prepare my teen for life after high school?What better way to learn prepare for college than to live on a college campus! Teens will cook for themselves, do their own laundry, and manage a budgeted amount of spending money. They will independently manage their morning and night time routines and time management skills. Of course, they will have the support of advisors throughout the program to help them develop these skills.
Participants will also visit different college campuses and transition programs to get exposure to different post-secondary education options. Advisors 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 are allowed to bring music playing devices provided the device has no video or WiFi capabilities. Similarly, e-readers are permitted as long as they do not have internet connectivity. Beyond Akeela teens do not have access to their cell phones at camp, and the directors will hold camper phones safely in the office for the duration of camp. These policies are in place to allow the Beyond Akeela team to focus on building as socially connected community and supporting each individual’s goals for the summer.
- 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 does payment work?After a deposit of $500 upon enrollment, payment is typically broken up between two payments on March 15 and May 15. Separate payment plans can be arranged upon request. We accept personal checks and most major debit/credit cards (we do not accept AMEX).
- Are there scholarships?Scholarships are available for families, please reach out to our office to discuss any questions you have about scholarships.
- 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.