Building Lifestyles for Ongoing Opportunities & Movement (Ages 13-21)

The Woodlands BLOOM Transition Program is a week-long, overnight summer camp, that also operates as a year-round transition day program.

What is BLOOM?

In partnership with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, BLOOM’s mission is to create a reverse inclusion program for adolescents with and
without disabilities, focusing on transition skills, social skills, communication skills and peer interaction through sports, recreation, nutrition and leadership activities. The program focuses on the development of transition skills and healthy lifestyles designed to develop the self-determination, empowerment, overall health and leadership for adolescents in transition.

How does it work?

Adolescents with disabilities are each paired with a peer without a disability and together they cultivate friendships, work on social skills, foster positive attitudes, develop life-long skills and enhance their understanding and acceptance of individuals with varying backgrounds and abilities.

BLOOM Peers apply here.

Camp BLOOM (Summer Camp)bloom logo 2

Camp BLOOM stands for Building Lifestyles of Ongoing Opportunity and Movement.  This program is a six day, five night reverse inclusion summer camp designed specifically for adolescents (ages 13-21) with and without disabilities transitioning though high school and into young adulthood.  The letter “M” in BLOOM stands for movement, representing the action packed activities that will foster independence from the moment our participants step on campus.  The “M” also stands for movement throughout life.  BLOOM is a transition program focusing on leadership, empowerment, health and wellness and self-efficacy.  It provides valuable opportunities to practice social skills, communication and peer interaction through team building, adapted physical activity, recreation, nutrition activities and community integration.

How it works:

All campers will be paired up with typical peers who are participating in each and every activity as well.  This camp uses a reverse inclusion model that brings typical teenagers seeking a camp experience focusing on leadership, empowerment, teamwork and independence into The Woodlands’ barrier free environment.  Each day’s activities are designed to focus on the four core areas of leadership empowerment, health and wellness and self-efficacy.  On the fifth day, the camp takes a group trip into Pittsburgh, where they embark on a citywide scavenger hunt using the skills they learned during the week, accomplishing each task as a team.

The following criteria will enable participants to be successful in the BLOOM program:

  • Follow multi-step directions
  • Make choices
  • Occupy themselves by doing an independent activity of interest for 30 minutes
  • Engage appropriately in conversations with adults and peers*
  • Communicate expressively and receptively in a classroom type setting*
  •   Self-advocate need for further instructions, clarification, additional assistance when needed most of the time*
  •  Independently care for own personal needs such as toileting, hygiene and self-feeding
  • Behave appropriately in community settings
  • Be independently mobile
  • Communicate personal information such as name, address, parents’ names, age, phone number etc….*
  • Communicate verbally or with a communication device or communication aid

*All participants must be willing, able and available to attend the Pittsburgh scavenger hunt safely, as determined by The Woodlands program management, in order to be accepted into the BLOOM summer camp program. 

Camp BLOOM adapted activities include:

  • Creating team t-shirts
  • Goal setting
  • Team building
  • Social and conversational games
  • Music and drum circles
  • Camp fires and sing-a-longs
  • Nature walks and tent camping
  • Swimming and aquatics activities
  • Volleyball
  • Golfing
  • Archery
  • Zip lining
  • Healthy cooking and nutrition guidance
  • Arts and crafts
  • Yoga and guided imagery
  • Sports and fitness
  • Special performances
  • Guest speakers on empowerment and self-advocacy
  • Health and wellness games
  • Talents shows
  • Dance and movement games
  • Pittsburgh scavenger hunt

Camp BLOOM emphasizes:

  • Cultivating friendships – Real friendships can be developed with other participants.
  • Acquiring social skills – Individuals with disabilities are more likely to develop social skills necessary to develop relationships when participating in inclusive recreation opportunities.
  • Improving attitudes – People often develop positive attitudes about diverse individuals as a result of joint participation in activities.
  • Developing life-long skills – Through the presence of appropriate inclusive recreation options, the development of life-long functional recreation skills will be promoted.
  • Enhancing image – The image of a person with disabilities is higher with inclusive participation as opposed to segregated participation.
  • Increasing understanding – Exposure to inclusive leisure services that result in a greater understanding and acceptance of individuals of varying backgrounds and abilities.

Spring & Fall BLOOM Club

The BLOOM Program is held year-round.  During Spring and Fall retreat seasons, the BLOOM program takes place two Saturdays each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Each month represents a different theme focusing on leadership, empowerment, health and wellness, and self-efficacy.  Much of the day is developed around the opportunities to practice social skills, communication and peer interaction through team building, adapted physical activity, recreation and nutrition.  Many activities are also designed for participants to lead or instruct the weekend retreat activities or host events.  Each season, the BLOOM group also participates in a community integration activity or community outing.