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Get ready to connect socially and grow personally at your “home away from home” at The Woodlands. Participants enjoy traditional summer camp activities such as swimming, music, arts and crafts, nature activities, golf, archery, cooking and more. But, unique to The Woodlands, our staff facilitates games and activities to practice communication and self-efficacy while reinforcing goal-setting, team-building and enhanced socialization. Reinforcement of routine helps each participant engage in independent activities of daily living within our safe campus and lodging accommodations.
There is nothing like camp to help make memories and foster new friendships that will last a lifetime. Our team will help jumpstart each participant’s road to understanding their true abilities and potential. The Woodlands offers day and overnight camps to accommodate all ages and all abilities.

We strongly believe in the therapeutic benefits associated with living a full and active lifestyle. Sports Camps are all about physical activity programming as well as the emotional lift of competing and being part of a team. These active, engaging and hands-on camps teach valuable lessons about winning and losing, and how to challenge yourself. Our instructors are trained to work with people of all abilities and have vast knowledge of adapted equipment and adapted teaching methods for: bowling, hand cycles, volleyball, baseball, volleyball and more!

Participants can expect to gain confidence, fitness and independence. Sports camps also help with refinement of motor skills, healthy life mentoring through nutrition and exercise and goal setting. Come out to play!

Camp Woodlands is a chance for children, teens and young adults to get the “ultimate summer camp experience” through a wide offering of our specialized and adapted summer camp activities. This camp is designed to introduce participants to as many recreational and hands-on activities as possible. We want to open minds and expand personal expectations through new experiences and increased confidence.

Adaptive sports, creative arts, nature programming and recreation all help to guide our time at camp. Participants improve peer relationships, benefit from increased communication skills, and feel more confident and self-reliant. We encourage increased independence and celebrate successes for everyone!

Participants are assigned a unit that sleeps seven others within their same age group with similar needs, interests and abilities, as well as one Woodlands staff member. We have qualified counselors and health staff members who connect individually with participants and help them get the most out of the camp experience. We share all meals family-style in the dining hall to support socialization and a sense of community.

Camp Woodlands Jr. is an introductory day camp program suggested for ages of 6 to 12. Participants will interact with campers attending Camp Woodlands, held during the same week. This camp serves to prevent summer social learning loss while maintaining physical activity and social experiences. Each day, camp provides our youngest participants with an opportunity to explore a variety of activities, while developing lasting friendships with peers. Adapted recreational activities concentrate on music, nature, group dynamics and creative arts. With some separation from parent or caregiver, benefits of the experience lead to self-perception as child and family transition into a meaningful program routine that creates a positive experience for all.

The camp’s professionally trained counselors are knowledgeable in techniques for facilitating positive socialization that helps achieve individual goals.

The Notes from the Heart Music Program began when a group of musical artists and music lovers in the Pittsburgh area came together with a desire to create a summer program that would bring the joy of music to children and adults with disabilities and chronic illness. Performance, education, appreciation, creativity, and enjoyment are our five hallmarks that bring fulfillment to those attending these camps. Participating in The Woodlands’ Notes from the Heart programs allows participants to find their voice and channel choice to engage in self-expression.

Ages 14-25

Participants are provided with a comprehensive experience that enables them to explore the universal expression of music, find joy in making music, and the accomplishment of participating in a musical performance. The hallmark of the Notes from the Heart Music Program for teens is the spectacular “Bringing out the Stars”* concert, which culminates the weeklong summer camp, and celebrates accomplishments with family, friends, and members from the community. The Notes from the Heart Music Camps are one-of a-kind experience and a destination for teens with disability and a strong interest in music.

What to expect:

  • Group cohesion in facilitated music making with peers.
  • New friendships!
  • Enhance social skills through instrument playing, vocal work, and creative performances.
  • Build self-esteem through rehearsal and performance opportunities.
  • Expand cognitive development through understanding, recognition, and application of music theory.

Ages 26 & older

Participants continue to nurture their musical interests as they engage in composition, small ensemble performances, solo performance, and concentrated instrumental study. Participants do not need to have attended the youth & teen camp in order to join the camp for Adults. This week at camp encourages participants to find strengths, passions and skills to achieve their personal and musical goals. Hard work of participants is showcased in the final performance, “The Starlight Serenade.”*

*All participants must be willing, able and available to attend the concert in order to be accepted into the Notes from the Heart music camp.

Participant’s Musical and Social Enrichment Goals:

  • Learning in the three concentrated areas of study: vocal training in a choral setting, music appreciation, and an instrument ensemble.
  • Music making from a collaborative perspective in a group setting.
  • Development of understanding of music theory, vocal and instrumental technique (dependent on participant’s interest).
  • Ability to follow instructional directions and exercise creativity.
  • Increase opportunities for self-expression through music interventions.

Camp INSPIRE is one of the few camps in the United States that is specifically designed for children and teens who are ventilator-dependent. This is a six-day, five-night residential experience that will create personal growth and memories for a lifetime.

Camp INSPIRE is a place where youth with tracheostomies, ventilators, and BiPAP machines can be themselves with all barriers removed – and just be a kid! In addition to having a memorable weeklong adventure packed with joy, this experience provides participants with the chance to interact with other children with similar situations while establishing lasting social skills.

Due to the medical fragility of this population, Camp INSPIRE’s staff-to-participant ratio is 4:1, comprised of respiratory therapists, nurses, physicians and other medical professionals from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC who volunteer their time and are on-site 24 hours a day for the duration of camp.

Participants get to enjoy all that The Woodlands has to offer including swimming/water exploration in a controlled environment; golf, archery, zip-lining, gardening, music and drum circles, arts and crafts, camp fire sing-a-longs, social/conversational games, a carnival, and therapy dog demonstrations. Due to the need to house the medical staff as well as the participants, Camp INSPIRE is limited to 22 participants.

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

The Woodlands BLOOM Transition Program is a weeklong, overnight summer camp, or year-round transition day program. BLOOM operates as a transitional bridge between school programs and the experiences of adult life. In collaboration with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, The Woodlands launched BLOOM to help support post-school outcomes in the areas of education, employment, independent living, and health and wellness.

Reverse inclusion connects adolescents with special needs and typically developing peers to interact in natural, engaging and enriching ways. These peer couplings partake in recreational activities and role modeling which helps participants with special needs improve communication and social skills. The typically developing peers learn to combat stereotypes, embrace diversity and respect those who have challenges outside of their own experiences. It’s a true win-win!

Whereas Club BLOOM is a bi-weekly gathering during the academic year, Camp Bloom is a one-week residential experience. Choose from different themes focusing on leadership, empowerment, health and wellness, and self-efficacy. Participants have the chance 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.

Participants can expect to:

  • Acquire social skills: develop social skills necessary to nurture relationships through inclusive recreation opportunities.
  • Improve attitudes: Joint participation in activities foster positive attitudes about diverse circumstances.
  • Develop life-long skills: hands-on, functional recreation and life skills are exercised.
  • Enhanced self-image: confidence is boosted through inclusive participation vs. segregated participation.
  • Increase understanding – greater appreciation for and acceptance of individuals of varying backgrounds and abilities.

Special activities for this camp:

  • Creating team t-shirts
  • Team building
  • Guest speakers on empowerment and self-advocacy
  • Dance and movement games
  • Pittsburgh scavenger hunt*

*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.

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

  • Able to make choices independently
  • Able to occupy oneself with an independent activity 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, and additional assistance when needed
  • 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, age, address, parents’ names, phone number, etc.