Frequently Asked Questions
We've gotten many questions over the years and put some of them below for you. If you have another question, please contact us.
Where is the camp located?
Special Camp is located off of Ortega Hwy and the 5 Freeway in beautiful San Juan Capistrano, California. The program is hosted on the campus of St. Margaret’s Episcopal School.
Is Special Camp a day camp or overnight camp, and what are the hours?
Special Camp is a day camp, and the hours are generally 9am-4pm. Wednesdays and Thursdays typically start at 8am to accommodate for more fun at the San Diego Zoo and Knott’s Berry Farm!
Can Campers and Counselors participate in more than one session of Special Camp?
While we can’t guarantee placement, Camper and Counselor Applicants may request more than one session of Special Camp. Should space become available, we can accommodate these requests on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Does Special Camp offer scholarships or financial assistance?
Yes! Thanks to the Stefanie Canright Scholarship Fund, Special Camp is able to provide need-based financial assistance.
If you are interested in applying for a Scholarship, please contact Lindsay Eres at Lindsay.Eres@specialcamp.org.
How much is the Camper Tuition?
One session of Special Camp costs $575, and includes activities, transportation (to and from the activities), lunch on 3 days, and camp t-shirt!
How old does my child need to be to participate in Special Camp?
Campers range in age from 6-21 years old.
Can my child attend Special Camp with their aide or parent?
Special Camp’s program is to foster peer relationships and build friendships without the feeling like it is school or therapy, so we kindly ask that aides and parents not be present. However, if your child’s aide has important suggestions for the Counselor, we certainly encourage a phone call between the two! As a parent, you will also have the opportunity to speak with your child’s Counselor before the start of camp.
How do you select and train your Counselors?
Counselors submit an application, provide a reference, a must successfully complete an interview with a Special Camp Staff Member. Once selected for the volunteer opportunity, Counselors must participate in a full day-long training in June. Our Counselor Training Seminars offer role playing scenarios; presentations by past Camper Families and volunteer Counselors; a review of important medical information from our Camp Nurse; and a comprehensive review of: Counselor expectations, re-direction techniques and suggestions, and understanding disabilities with compassion training.
What is a House Visit?
If you are a new Camper Applicant, two Staff Members will come to your home to meet you and your son/daughter in May or early June. This visit allows our Staff to get to know your child before camp begins, which aids us in making our Camper/Counselor pairs for the summer. The House Visit is also a great opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about the Special Camp experience!
How much is the Counselor Tuiton?
Counselors pay $125 to help partially cover the cost of the program’s activities, transportation (to and from the activities), lunch on 3 days, and camp t-shirt!
How old do I have to be to volunteer?
Counselors must be entering 9th grade or above to volunteer at Special Camp.
I'm unable to commit to a full session. Can I still volunteer as a Counselor?
Counselors are required to complete the entire session of Special Camp in order to volunteer.
If your schedule does not allow you to volunteer for the entire session, we encourage you to help at the Geraldine Parent Family Picnics and Awards Ceremonies on Fridays of camp! For more information, please contact Lindsay Eres at Lindsay.Eres@specialcamp.org.
What is the Counselor Training Seminar, when are they offered, and are they required?
The successful completion of one Counselor Training Seminar is mandatory for all new Counselor volunteers. Our Counselor Training Seminars offer role playing scenarios; presentations by past Camper Families and volunteer Counselors; a review of important medical information from our Camp Nurse; and a comprehensive review of: Counselor expectations, re-direction techniques and suggestions, and understanding disabilities with compassion training.
The 2020 Counselor Training Seminars dates will be announced in January.
How can I donate to Special Camp?
Thank you for your interest in donating to Special Camp! Your contribution will directly impact our participants!Donations can be made online by clicking on the following link: https://www.smes.org/page/special-camp-giving
If you prefer to mail a check, please make it out to Special Camp and mail it to: Special Camp – 31641 La Novia, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675).
You may also specify how you would like the funds to be used: Stefanie Canright Scholarship Endowment Fund; Geraldine Parent Family Picnic and Awards Ceremony Fund; General Operation Fund.
Nothing from April 9, 2020 to May 9, 2020.
More information on some of the disabilities welcomed at Special Camp.
Children with Disabilities
Become A Donor
It takes over $75,000 of fundraising to make the dream of Special Camp a reality each year.
In Special Camp’s 25+ year history, we’ve never turned a camper away due to financial reasons. Our tuition revenue only provides around 50% of our annual operating costs. And as our camper base increases, so do our needs. The only way Special Camp can continue to grow and flourish is through the support of our community through camper and counselor tuition, foundational grants, and private donations.