It’s All About the Kids!
The summer therapy camp program is the heart of what we do here at Bay Cliff. We are planning for our 85th consecutive summer!
Each summer approximately 170 children come through the gate at Bay Cliff for a summer filled of therapy and camping fun. They come with the dreams of walking, talking, playing, and taking care of themselves just like any other child. Helping them in this pursuit is a staff of dedicated camp counselors and therapists, instructors and nurses, and support personnel numbering 130. They provide the children with supervision & love, therapy & classes, activities & meals, and all the services to keep camp in good running order. During the seven week long camp session, progress towards goals of greater independence is incredible.
The teen campers have been on their way to pursuing their dreams for many summers. Others, like the preschoolers, are just beginning. Several campers increase their strength to go longer distances using a walker. One leaves her wheelchair to walk with crutches. Others learn ways to independently brush teeth, style hair, or put on a shirt. One performs a wet exit from an adapted kayak for the very first time. Some stand through the flag ceremony with the aid of one crutch instead of two. Another learns more than 30 new vocabulary words in sign language. A boy learns to feed himself with a special spoon; a girl tells jokes with a computer that speaks for her. Many fashion crafts with their hands that they have never made before. They play new games and enjoy fun twists on old games. They learn to care for the environment around them and the curious critters in it. Everyone advances in those old-fashioned values of manners, sharing, helping each other, and taking turns!
Surrounded in an environment that is steeped in acceptance, rich with therapy, and profound in loving encouragement, every child has a beautiful opportunity to become aware of their dreams and to make those dreams come true.
Bay Cliff provides a 7 week summer camp for children, ages 3–17 who demonstrate proven need for therapy services (habilitation or rehabilitation) to address a physical disability/impairment and can be successful in our setting. Historically Bay Cliff has served only children from the Upper Peninsula and these children from rural areas are still the primary recipients of our services. However Children from the lower peninsula and beyond are also welcome. Bay Cliff campers reside at camp for seven weeks to participate in an intensive therapy program that provides: physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, instruction for the visually impaired, instruction for the hearing impaired, recreation therapy and music therapy services. Campers are given fun-filled camping experiences as well, as they work on their therapy goals.
We have created an eligibility guidelines sheet to help understand what abilities and behaviors are necessary for the success of campers in each of our 5 Units.
Waiting for the camping trip!
The Referral and Application process starts shortly after the new year begins. If a child meets the eligibility guidelines, a referral is the next step in the camper application process. New candidates, as well as returning campers, go through the same referral process. A Bay Cliff Referral Form is used for this purpose. In January each year, these forms are sent out to school and hospital therapists, health departments, and physicians across the U.P. Parents can request a Referral Form from a therapist currently working with their child or from their family doctor. For families residing outside of the Upper Peninsula, the form can be obtained by calling our office (906-345-9314). Therapists and physicians may download a Referral Form as well.
Parents and therapists complete the form and mail it to Bay Cliff. A signed Referral Form gives Bay Cliff permission to contact the family to learn more about their child and to further determine if the child is eligible for the program. It also allows Bay Cliff administrators to obtain IEP and medical records from schools, clinics, doctor offices, hospitals and other agencies. (Bay Cliff keeps this information confidential.) If it appears that a child is a potential candidate for the program, the parents are then sent an application. Parts of the application are also sent to the therapists and classroom teacher currently working with the child.
The application is lengthy and will take a bit of time to complete, but it provides Bay Cliff with valuable information about each child. The medical information pages of the application require a health physical to be done by the family physician and proof that the child does not have tuberculosis or a communicable disease. Once the completed application has been returned to Bay Cliff, the final determination of acceptance is made by the camp administrators. Parents are informed by phone call and letter if their child is accepted. The acceptance letter includes information on when to bring their child to camp, what Bay Cliff will provide, and what the parents need to bring.