Camp Lilac is an open and affirming community that is committed to making the summer camp experience more enjoyable for all gender diverse people. Although we are not a disability-centered camp, we acknowledge the large overlap between gender diversity, neurodiversity, and disability and seek to make camp more widely accessible each year.
Prospective staff and campers with learning, mental health, and/or physical disabilities have the same rights to attend summer camp as their non-disabled peers, and cannot be denied admission due to their disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that summer camps must provide reasonable modifications of policies, practices, and procedures when necessary to enable individuals with disabilities to participate fully in camp programs. You may see this referred to as “reasonable” or “readily achievable” accommodations throughout the application process. Parents cannot be required to pay the cost of reasonable modifications necessary for their child to participate. Staff are also not expected to cover the cost of readily available accommodations.
Please note that while our hope and goal is to accommodate all youth, Camp Lilac remains a small nonprofit. Limiting factors, such as host camp facilities, financial resources, or available medical support may practically limit our ability to accommodate all potential campers or staff members.
In planning for the accessibility needs of your camper or yourself, please find below our accessibility-minded policies and procedures, a non-exhaustive list of readily available accommodations offered upon request, and a list of what we are unable to provide at this time. If your needs extend beyond the accommodations listed below, or you have any questions, we encourage you to contact us so that we can learn more about you or your camper's needs and discuss if Camp Lilac can provide a positive and safe camp experience.
Accessibility-Minded Policies & Procedures
The following are notable features of our program that were designed with accessibility in mind to eliminate many barriers commonly encountered by neurodivergent and/or disabled community members in the summer camp setting.
Transparency & Self-Selection of Activities: Most activities are self-selected the same day they take place, allowing for campers to take into account their present state of being (e.g., fatigue, pain level, sensory threshold). The venues and extent of physical activity required by each activity are also stated upfront to ensure informed decision making.
Alternate Activities: Activities that are not self-selected will have an alternate option intended to be sensory-friendly and accessible, with reduced noise and accessibility tools readily available. A designated quiet-space is maintained throughout the week.
Flexibility: Due to privacy and safety concerns, there is limited opportunity for campers and staff to see the site prior to arrival. We recognize that needs may change after gaining first-hand experience, and are prepared to update accommodations accordingly.
Accessibility Coordinator: a dedicated year-round staff member and planning committee for addressing accessibility concerns, making camp more accessible, and handling summer accommodations. The accessibility coordinator is also on-site to implement accommodations and address changing needs.
Accommodations Request Form: attendees will have the opportunity to fill out a form requesting specific accommodations and/or providing relevant disability information prior to camp.
Mental Health Professionals: we have at least one mental health professional on call at all times to provide short-term, solution-based support to campers, or to collaborate with the camper and caregivers on a plan to address more significant needs. We are not a therapy camp, thus are unable to provide any diagnosis or treatment. Staff may also access our onsite professionals as needed and available.
Vaccination Policy: Camp Lilac requires all attendees to have received all vaccines required by the Ohio Department of Health for school attendance. Camp Lilac also requires attendees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and may require COVID-19 testing prior to arrival in order to protect immunocompromised individuals.
Readily Achievable Accommodations
Canes & Crutches: limited canes & crutches available for use during the week(s) of camp on a first come first serve basis.
See also: joint braces, mobility carts, preferential placement, shower chairs
Communication Cards/Sheets: alternatives to speech for nonverbal communication of basic needs and wants. Available in limited quantities as booklets of cards on a first-come-first-serve basis and more widely available as sheets of paper. Every indoor area has sheets available, and staff are encouraged to keep sheets on hand.
See also: earplugs, noise reduction earmuffs, quiet spaces
Earplugs: foam ear inserts offered frequently at loud events, also available upon request all other times.
See also: communication cards/sheets, noise reduction earmuffs, quiet spaces
Extension Cords: devices may be charged indoors, but sleeping areas do not have outlets or power. Outdoor extension cords may be run to cabins as needed, such as for a CPAP device. Advanced notice is needed prior to arriving at camp in order to ensure the assigned cabin is within extension cord distance. If absolutely necessary, staff may be moved to an indoor sleeping area. We are not able to provide indoor sleeping accommodations to campers.
See also: preferential placement
Fans: Campers will stay in open air cabins that have a foundation, roof, and bunk beds, with canvas walls that are rolled up in good weather for an open air experience. There is no climate control in the cabin. Some battery powered fans will be available for use in cabins and can be requested by those with temperature regulation needs.
See also: flashlights, nightlights
Flashlights: camp is located in the woods and is very dark at night. Flashlights and lanterns are provided to attendees, with headlamps as our most accessible option to those using mobility aids.
See also: fans, nightlights
Joint Braces: not stocked, but easily acquirable. Occasional store trips are made throughout the week, and specific braces may be requested as pain arises.
See also: canes & crutches, mobility carts, preferential placement, shower chairs
Medication: Campers may access their PRN medications upon request. Common over-the-counter medications are available according to caregiver approval, including pain relief. Staff are able to access their own medications at their discretion and may self-administer.
Menu Modifications: most dietary needs can be accommodated as requested, but must be communicated well in advance of camp to ensure proper purchasing of food. Alternative or modified meals are provided in these cases. Meals generally consist of a main option, supplemented by special meals such as vegetarian options (as informed by dietary requests), as well as a common safe food such as buttered noodles. Gluten-free and other allergy friendly foods are kept separate to avoid cross-contamination. In cases of a very limited diet, staff or campers may request permission to bring a selection of foods from home, to be stored in our kitchen.
Mobility Carts: golf carts used for the transportation of staff & campers with mobility restrictions. Available upon request throughout the day. Cart drivers make rounds during transition periods (e.g., release from an activity to the next block). Wait times vary based on time of day and amount of pick-ups, but are generally anywhere between 2 to 15 minutes. Please note that wheelchair accessibility is very limited on camp terrain and carts are generally only able to transport folding walkers and wheelchairs.
See also: canes & crutches, joint braces, preferential placement, shower chairs
MP3 Players: camper phones are collected upon arrival and kept safe throughout the week, however, campers are permitted to bring basic MP3 players with wired headphones for music, as long as the device cannot text, access the internet, or take photos. MP3 players are not provided by Camp Lilac. Staff may use their phones for this purpose.
Preferential Placement: campers and staff are generally assigned to cabins based on age groups, staffing needs, and availability of beds. Individuals with disabilities may be relocated upon review or request if terrain is unreasonably inaccessible. Campers may only be relocated to different cabins, while staff may be moved indoors if absolutely necessary. Please note that wheelchair accessibility is very limited on camp terrain regardless of placement.
See also: canes & crutches, extension cords, joint braces, kinesthetic tape, mobility carts
Nightlights: camp is located in the woods and is very dark at night. Cabins do not have electricity, but are provided with battery-powered light sources to assist with visibility. We provide red lights that can be left on throughout the night as nightlights without attracting bugs to the sleeping area.
See also: fans, flashlights
Noise Reduction Earmuffs: headphone-style earmuffs commonly marketed as hearing protection earmuffs, used for blocking out noise. More effective than earplugs, and also offered in a more limited quantity.
See also: communication cards/sheets, earplugs, quiet spaces
Shower Chairs: available in most shower areas and easily moved to specific bathrooms as needed.
Quiet Spaces: we maintain a designated indoors quiet area at all times throughout the week(s) of camp for staff and campers, as well as a designated quiet break area for staff. These areas are generally kept to soft or no talking, and are stocked with some accessibility options like earplugs, fidgets, and communication pages. Campers may request to visit the quiet space at any time. During all-camp activities, quiet-alternatives are provided.
See also: communication cards/sheets, earplugs, noise reduction earmuffs
Accommodations Camp Lilac is Unable to Provide
1:1 Support or Aides: While campers are supervised at all times, we are not able to provide 1:1 staff or personal aides to campers requiring significant support. Assistants of this nature must be sourced outside of camp, and are not the responsibility of camp to fund or supply.
Wheelchair/Walker Access: Due to the outdoor environment and camp terrain, wheelchair and walker access is limited. Additionally, some spaces are only accessible by staircase and ramps are limited. While we can transport folding wheelchairs and walkers between buildings, the camp setting is very limiting for those who exclusively use ambulatory devices with wheels.
Uncontrolled Major Mental Health Needs: We are not equipped to address uncontrolled major mental health issues, such as: active eating disorders, schizophrenia, psychosis, actively suicidal thoughts or behaviors, active self harm, hospitalization for mental health issues within the last six months, etc. Controlled major mental health needs will require collaborative creation of a plan, involving the camper, caregiver, camp leadership, and a mental health provider. We are not a therapy camp and do not provide therapy/treatment.
Newly Presenting Mental Health Needs: Attendees may experience different needs and feelings than they usually do outside of camp (e.g., first time homesickness) which we are provisionally able to handle on-site. However, we are generally not able to accommodate for more severe mental health disorders that were not known or experienced prior to camp. When this occurs, we generally recommend campers or staff return home and see a therapist or psychiatrist as soon as possible to ensure they receive the appropriate care and management of symptoms.
Emotional Support Animals: No animals can come to camp with attendees unless otherwise approved for camp programming. The exception to this is service animals, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please notify us if your camper will have a service animal at camp. Emotional support animals do not have the same legal standing.
Access to THC for Medicinal Purposes: Staff please note that regardless of your state of origin, legality, or use for medicinal purposes, THC is not permitted on camp property.