Camp Accolade: summer camp for highly reactive kids

IMG_0106“In growing up, a child should know some joy in each day and look forward to some joyous event for the morrow.”

Just Right Academy filters nearly all decisions through this simple, one-sentence credo, originally imparted by Nicholas Hobbs in laying out his Principles of Re-Education—a concept deeply rooted in the tenets of JRA’s beginnings. To me, it’s to this ideal that the school owes its success. It’s because of this conviction that students, who at the beginning of the year had to be coaxed from the car, whining, arguing, and fighting, will now, somewhat sheepishly, admit to you that they look forward to coming to school. This change in mindset enables these children to be more successful than they have ever been in other academic settings.

Kids with emotional and behavioral issues deserve to be able to enjoy their summer just as much as a neurotypical kid; in fact, they might need that time away from school even more. However, many of them are unable to succeed in a typical camp setting. Perhaps their frustration tolerances are too low, and the ensuing outbursts are too violent or frightening to the other campers. Or maybe their social skills are too undeveloped, leading to teasing and hurtful comments from others, which are disastrous to already beat down self-confidence. It could be that their inappropriate actions/reactions are deemed too disruptive and damaging. Maybe it’s a combination of many things, all of which staff are not qualified to deal with—and they shouldn’t be required to be. Those are the kids we want at Camp Accolade.

With hand-picked, well-trained, battle-tested staff, Camp Accolade offers children ages 7 through 13 struggling with emotional and behavioral issues what other camps cannot: the opportunity for fun and success at summer camp. Activities include rocket building and launching, tie-dying, rock climbing, swimming, Defy Gravity, animals, camp songs, arts and crafts, outdoor games, fort building, archery, and other activities still to be confirmed. Built into these activities are sensory and vestibular stimulation, social skills strengthening, and building of competencies. Each Friday afternoon will include a presentation and discussion to help parents link skills learned at camp with home. Held at our Erwin Road campus, camp hours are 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Cost is $1600 for three weeks; due to the week-to-week interconnectivity and scaffolding of skills, campers are expected to attend all three weeks. Our camp brochure and registration forms are on the website:

Success will be measured by dirty fingernails, sweaty shirts, friends made, and excitement over returning the next day. Joy IS possible for these kids and we hope it will be a doorway to future successes.

Eric Laures, Camp Director


Open house and staff updates

It’s hard to believe our first academic year is drawing to a close. But that doesn’t mean we’re slowing down any. We have lots of news to share.

—Our spring open house will be held Saturday, May 21, from 9:00 am to noon. You can tour our space, meet the director, learn about summer camps, and get information about our next academic year. Please join us.

—We will offer three summer camps this year:

Ancient Egypt, June 20 – 24

Ancient Greece, July 25 – 29

Puppetry, August 15 – 19

Camps are for rising first grade through middle school and will offer the same structure, consistency, and positive environment that our students enjoy throughout the year. You can use the camps to see if the school might be a good match for your child, or come just because your child loves the subject for the week. For more information, use the contact form on this website or call the school number.

—JRA will offer our first year of high school as some of our students move up to the 9th grade. We will add a grade each academic year. Ninth grade courses will include world history, English 9, math, physical science, foreign language (either Spanish or Japanese) and art.

—We welcome Jen Minnelli, SLP, to our staff for the 2011-2012 academic year. Mrs. Minnelli will work with the younger students as well as those most impacted by language difficulties for math and language arts, giving those students almost two hours of work with a speech and language pathologist each day. In the afternoons, she will work with individuals and small groups on pragmatic speech and social thinking. This is offered at no extra cost to parents.

There are even more exciting things going on at JRA. Stop by and see us and we’ll tell you all about them!

Summer Camp!

For the parent of a special needs child, camp season can be a difficult one. We want our kids to have the camp experience, but camp staff is often not well trained for quirky or special needs kids. Many of our parents have had negative experiences with camps who have great programs for more typical kids, but little understanding of our kids.

Do we have a deal for you!

Just Right Academy will be offering three summer camps for elementary and middle school children. We will offer the same structure, consistency, positive reinforcement, behavioral feedback, reduced stress, and understanding that we do during the school year. We will also include light academics, movement, art, and lots of fun. Camps include

June 20-24 —Ancient Egypt: hieroglyphics, pharaohs, mummies! Egyptian science and math along with lots of art and time on the Egypt Playmobile set.

July 25-29 — Ancient Greece: do you enjoy Greek mythology? The Greeks gave so much to our society, language, architecture and literature. Come play and learn.

August 15-19 — Puppets! This camp will feature the amazing Tarish Pipkins, puppeteer extraordinaire. Campers will make puppets with recycled materials and write and produce a puppet show.

Camps run from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, with aftercare available for an additional fee. Camps cost $300 a session. For a camp application, contact JRA administrator Claudia Kaplan at