Summer Camp & Activity Options

FREE Kids Summer Bowling 

Select bowling centers and schools around the country are participating in the “Kids bowl free” program.  This program is designed by bowling centers to give back to the community and provide a safe, secure, and fun way for kids to spend time.

Al-Camp Smile A Mile 

Our mission today is to provide year round challenging, unforgettable recreational and educational experiences for young cancer patients, their families, as well as young adult survivors from Alabama at no cost.

Brain Injury Foundation Camp Hardgrove (GA) Camp Hickorywood (TN)      
Designed especially for persons affected by brain injury, Camp Hardgrove provides summer camps for young and adults.  All sessions are held at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute, Warm Springs, GA

Blaze Sports Camps 
BlazeSports provides sports training, competitions, summer camps and other sports and recreational opportunities for youth and adults with spinal cord injury, spinan bifida, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, muscular dystrophy, amputation, visual impairments, etc.

Victory Junction
The Victory Junction Gang Camp enriches the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses by providing life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun, and empowering in a safe and medically sound environment.

Reinbow Riders, Tri-State Therapeutic Riding Center
Our mission is to provide the opportunity for physical and emotional healing, equestrian education, and fulfillment of individual dreams in a structured therapeutic riding environment for mentally, physically, and emotionally challenged individuals.  Reinbow Riders provides equine assisted learning, recreation, and therapies for all individuals of all ages with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities.

Amputee Coalition of American Youth Camp
The annual Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) Youth Camp provides youth with limb differences (ages 10-16) educational outings, team building exercise, sports and opportunities to learn from peers and adult amputee mentors. The Amputee Coalition’s Paddy Rossbach Youth Camp is a 5-day traditional summer camp experience for children ages 10-17 who have lost arms and/or legs or who were born with limb differences. The camp offers challenging activities that build campers’ confidence regardless of skill level.  A unique aspect of our program is that campers are not accompanied by their parents, which inspires campers to take on new challenges, be independent, test themselves and build new friendships in a supportive, caring environment.  The Coalition covers all expenses, including travel, for the campers. The average cost to send a child to camp is $1,500. Since its beginning in 2000, the camp has hosted more than 600 campers with limb loss or limb difference.

TRIAD – Social Skills Camp
The TRIAD social skills summer camp is a social skills program designed specifically for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders who are between the ages of 6 and 21, and who have concerns with language and reading skills.

Speech & Hearing Center Summer Camp     
For deaf children and their siblings from ages 2 to 16.  The Speech & Hearing Center provides an all day summer camp for children and their siblings.

Muscular Dystrophy (MDA) Summer Camp     
Since 1955, MDA has built bridges and knocked down barriers for youngsters with neuromuscular diseases by providing an unforgettable week at MDA Summer Camp.  Campers say the week they spend at MDA Camp is the “The best week of the year”.

Joni & Friends Family Retreat     
Since 1991 Joni and Friends Family Retreats has hosted five day summer programs across the United States where families affected by disability can find hope and get a break from the challenges of everyday life.  Camps all over the US, but specifically TN, GA & AL.

Fit One Gym – Fitness Camps     
Fit One is working in the community to strengthen families, business, churches and schools by applying Christian values in an environment that promotes health and fitness for everyone regardless of age, race, sex, disabilities, or religion.

Friends Discovery Camp
Friends’ Discovery Camp offers an exciting week of friendship, fun, and fantastic activities for children with and without autism.

Easter Seals of Tennessee     
Click on services and camping/recreation    Six day summer camp experience and weekend respites available.

Young Life Capernaum Camping
At camp, Capernaum gives young people with disabilities an atmosphere of high adventure with one-on-one attention from a leader.   Set in the scenery of God’s amazing creation, our Capernaum friends experience a week filled with excitement, fun, new opportunities and the message of Jesus Christ and His unconditional love for them. Since they have one-on-one attention all week, they get to participate in as many of the activities as possible including horseback riding, mountain climbing and swimming, just to name a few. Because these young adults often attend camp at the same time as their able-bodied peers, all who attend are significantly influenced in a wonderful way.

Bill Rice Ranch (Hearing Impairment/Deaf)    
With over 50 years of Christian camping experience, the Ranch offers the highest quality at very affordable rates!  There are weeks for youth, juniors, deaf, and for the entire family.

Tennessee Camps for Children with Special Needs
Summer activities for children with special needs – alphabetized list compiled by East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.

American Camp Association Southeastern Camp Directory     
Online search for camps accredited by the American Camp Association

Camp Barnabas
We believe that God uniquely created everyone with a purpose and to live a life of ability. We ignore the limitations that can be put on people with special needs and offer experiences that push the limits of what the outside world says is impossible for these incredible people. We invite people with special needs and chronic illnesses to embrace life as Jesus made them and to reach their fullest potential. We invite those who wish to serve them to come experience a life changed by the beauty of helping someone realize the value of their uniqueness. Camp Barnabas is more than a week of camp, it becomes a life-changing experience.

Green’s Karate     
Green’s Karate teaches after school, daycare, and summer camps as well as women’s self defense classes.  Special needs and inclusive classes available.

The Center for Courageous Kids     
Our mission is to uplift children who have life-threatening illnesses by creating experiences year-round that are memorable, exciting, fun, build self-esteem, are physically safe, and medically sound.  We are a world class camping facility designed specifically for seriously ill and disabled children and their families.

Camp Big Fish    
Camp Big Fish is a summer long day camp centered on a safe Christ-like environment, excellent staff, and wide variety of fun and exciting camp activities.  Kindergarten through sixth grade eligible for enrollment.

Heartland Ranch & Arena
Mission: Heartland Therapeutic Programs promotes the acquisition of those requisite skills and development gains that promote socialization, self-esteem, employability and inclusion; the acknowledged goals of every individual regardless of their innate or acquired challenges.

YMCA- Sunshine Project
This class is designed for children who have been diagnosed with Autism or other physical or developmental disabilities. The objectives are to have fun, exercise, learn swimming safety and enjoy interaction with other children. The class also provides parents of special needs children with the proper education for supervising and working with their children in the water. A parent or trusted adult must accompany the child in the water. There is no fee for the class, but registration is required.
A special needs swim series; this class is designed for parents to accompany their children who have been diagnosed with Autism or other physical or developmental disabilities. The YMCA aims for these children to have fun, exercise, learn swimming safety, and enjoy interaction with other children. We also aim to provide parents of special needs children with the proper education for supervising and working with their children in the water. (A parent, guardian, or trusted adult, 18 or older, must accompany the child in the water).

YMCA – Camp Ocoee
Each day at Camp Ocoee is carefully planned to allow each camper to develop skills through instructional activity timjes and also foster a strong sense of community through several camp activity periods where they interact with other cabins.

UTC’s Youth University & Junior Camps
Summer youth programs designed to offer local young people a variety of classes to teach skill development, college preparation, and other special interest areas.

Reflection Riding & Chattanooga Nature Center  
Since 1979, the Chattanooga Nature Center has been a leader in providing innovative environmental education to more than a quarter million students in the tri-state area.

Camp Zoo-Ability     
The Therapeutic Recreation Division of the Chattanooga Parks & Recreation Department seeks to provide leisure and recreation opportunities for citizens of all abilities.  We serve both youth and adults with physical, cognitive, and/or emotional disabilities.  Chattanooga Zoo/Parks & Rec Zooability is specifically designed for children with special needs.  Campers enjoy a great week of fun animal encournters, special activities, and field trips.  9a-2p at Chattanooga Zoo.  Dates June 24-28 ages 6-12, July 8-12 ages 13-21, July 22-26 22 and up  Register 423-697-1345.

Next Steps at Vanderbilt Summer Institute  
Next Steps at Vanderbilt Summer Institute is a college transition program for rising high school juniors, seniors, and young adults with developmental disabilities up to the age of 26. This is a week-long residential program that will provide exposure to postsecondary education. Students will be given the opportunity to experience a college campus and to develop a broader understanding of the Next Steps at Vanderbilt postsecondary education program and other programs across the country.  Other summer camps may be available year to year based on funding/current research, etc.

Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital Camp Directory    
The Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital camp directory provides information on summer programs for children with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Most of the camps and programs listed are in the Middle Tennessee region. National camps serving children with chronic conditions are included for some specific conditions.

Camp Ability
Camp Ability of Special Kids is a Christian, summer day camp for children with special needs ages 6-25. Camp is designed to allow children with special needs to participate in an interactive, social, and just plain fun environment during the months of June and July each year. Our counselors focus on children’s abilities rather than disabilities and find ways for all of our campers to participate in activities.

Epilepsy Foundation of Southeast Tennessee 
Chapter of the National Epilepsy Foundation that provides several services, including need-based camper scholarships to epilepsy summer camp for children.  Eligibility criteria based on program.

Hozho Therapeutic Riding
Riders participate in weekly group lessons lead by a therapeutic riding instructor.   Volunteers serve as “leaders” and “sidewalkers” to provide physical and emotional support. The benefits of riding include the following:
• Strengthening and toning muscles
• Improving balance and flexibility
• Enhancing head control and eye/hand coordination
• Strengthening communication skills (speaking and listening)
• Improving concentration, patience and self-esteem
Just as important as the benefits listed above is the feeling of exhilaration many riders feel while on the horse for their weekly sessions. Having the chance to be on a horse takes the rider to a new and unexplored world, a world that’s full of possibilities and hope!  Summer Camp Options Available

Tennessee Aquarium
Multiple day and overnight camp options.

Chattanooga Parks & Recreation
Summer Youth Camps will offer hundreds of youth, opportunities in sports, pool time, spray park, arts and crafts, high adventure outdoor activities with Outdoor Chattanooga, community gardens, trips, education & reading programs, and muchmore! Stop by your local Chattanooga YFD Center to register for the most fun a kid can have for an entire summer!
This year, as part of the Chattanooga Reading Initiative, Youth & Family Development is dedicated to education, just as much as fun! During our camp, participants will have access to our Lexia Computer Based Reading Program, along with tutors and more. This way your child will be well prepared for the school year.
For more information, call Kim Battle at 423-643-6052

Tennessee River Gorge Adventure – This camp, for ages 12-16, will be held July 23-27. Campers will canoe the Tennessee River Gorge for four days and three nights. The River Gorge adventure will include hiking and climbing along the gorge. Pre-requisites: Campers must have a moderate level of physical fitness and a thirst for adventure. They should be prepared to explore primitive environments and have a great time. Pre registration is required.  To register or learn more, contact Terri Chapin at 423-643-6882 423-643-6882 or email

Doe River Gorge
Doe River Gorge is a Christian summer camp located in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee that provides a pristine sanctuary for getting to know the God who created it all. It’s also the scenic mountain passage of the historic East TN & Western North Carolina Railroad. Programs include week-long summer camps, leadership programs and year-round experiences including father-son retreats, family Saturdays, weekend retreats, fall color expo, and more.

Cedine Bible Camp
The days are packed with fun activities: animals, archery, biking, canoeing, crafts, fishing, horse riding, swimming and watersports. You’ll make new friends, and be challenged and taught God’s word.

Baylor School
No matter what you are looking for this summer you’re sure to find it in one of Baylor’s camps. We take full advantage of our amazing campus by offering a wide array of both boarding and day programs all summer long. We also take summer fun seriously, which means our camp counselors, faculty, and coaches are teaming up to provide each camper the best experience possible. So what are you waiting for? Make the most of summer by signing up today!  Boarding Camps and Day Camps Available.

McCallie School
Camp for Boys, McCallie Day Camp, McCallie First Camp, Technology, Leadership, Overnight Camps, Art Camp, Baseball, Basketball, Cross-Training, Debate, Fly Fishing, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Paintball Camp, Sailing, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, Wrestling

Challenger Cosmic Space Camps
UTC’s Challenger Learning Center offers a variety of summer camp opportunities for ages 4 years thru rising 8th graders. Let your child explore the universe while learning the wonders of math, science, and teamwork.

Chattanooga Mocs  Summer Camps

Chattanooga Parent Magazine
Online listing of summer camp options.

Challenger Center
Cosmic Space Quest Summer Camp
We will begin accepting registrations on February 1, 2013. Full payment is due at the time of registration.  Please feel free to contact Ellie Wallis at if you would like the registration packet in a different format. Summer camp registration packet online.  Half Day Camps, Saturday Camp, 5 day camps, Summer Camp

Chattanooga Boys Choir

PERFORM  With over 25 performances each season in the Chattanooga area, throughout the United States, and around the world, your chorister would have several unique and unforgettable performance opportunities on everything from Bach to the Beatles!
TRAVEL As Chattanooga’s official “Ambassadors of Goodwill,” the CBC tour choir has traveled to over 20 foreign countries and throughout the United States. Recent tours have included the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Carnegie Hall in New York City, and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.
LEARN  The Chattanooga Boys Choir has a computer music theory lab and custom-tailored music education curriculum which, when completed, includes music theory ability comparable to a college freshman theory course. Additional aspects of the curriculum include musicianship, vocal technique, and ear training that equip a young man for a lifetime of musical enjoyment .
GROW In addition to the significant musical opportunities that our members experience, parents consistently and positively remark about the traits of organizational skills, good work ethic, responsibility, teamwork, good work
habits, and communication skills that our choristers learn and develop through the choir.
EXPERIENCE  Founded in 1954, the Chattanooga Boys Choir is one of the area’s oldest and most respected cultural institutions in the region. As a member of the choir, your son will be an important part of a legacy that continues to grow in stature and prominence.

Chattanooga Girls Choir

The Chattanooga Girls Choir consists of five choirs and a young girls music class, different age-level choirs for girls in grades 3 through 12.  CGC Novellina Choir is a non-auditioned 3rd grade choir.  Songbirds, 1st and 2nd music class.  Girls in 4th-12th grade are asked to audition for membership in the CHattanooga Girls Choir.

Eagles Rest Ranch 
Eagles Rest Ranch is a faith-based facility, nestled at the foot of Lookout Mountain in Flintstone, GA, with over four hundred acres of beautiful woods & mountainside trails rich in history!

  • Programs & Services at Eagles Rest Ranch
  • SpiritHorse Therapeutic Horseback Riding
  • Horse Boarding
  • Horseback Riding Lessons
  • Veterans – SpiritHorses for Heroes
  • Team Roping & Barrel Racing Practice Sessions
  • RSNC sanctioned Sorting Events
  • Equine-Assisted Philosophy program (O.K. Corral Series EAP/EAL)
  • Summer Day Camps (Also Spring & Fall)
  • School & Other Fun/Educational Field Trips, Birthday Parties, Church & Other Groups Outings
  • Bison & Angus Products
  • Weddings
  • Special Olympics Training & Horseshow

Autism Society of East Tennessee
The Autism Society of East Tennessee recently received this information about a list of local/regional summer camp options for families affected by autism.  Please direct any questions to the camps themselves.

Michaels Craft Stores
Day Camps

 Activity Tree  
The largest online resource for U.S. parents to find information on ONLY kid’s classes, camps, sports leagues, party places and fun spots.  Our mission is to make it easy and affordable to get our nation’s children active in both body and mind.   We offer parents an extensive, user-friendly marketplace to find activity information. Search by zip code, city or activity.  We have deals! Several of our activity provider partners offer discounts on their programs. We fund and administer an activity scholarship program.  ActivityTree makes it easier than ever before to get kids active!

Rivers Way 

Physical activity is important for everyone, regardless of their abilities. At River’s Way, we have several activity programs designed for youth with disabilities to get them moving and enjoying life. Come see what we have to offer.  The South Holston River brings peace and serenity to Rivers Way, providing the perfect opportunity for our country’s veterans to enjoy fly-fishing, fellowship and much needed recovery. Cast the line and see what you can catch.  River’s Way provides an amazing summer experience, offering team building and adventure programming for the area’s youth of all abilities. There are many exciting 2012 summer programs to choose from, so take a look.

Speech Language & Reading Center
Minecraft & Group Social Skills Programming

Tennessee Camp for Diabetic Children
 Welcome to the Tennessee Camp for Diabetic Children (TCDC). TCDC is located on Lake Chickamauga in Soddy, Tennessee, just north of Chattanooga. The camp is committed to teaching children with diabetes how to live a normal and active lifestyle. TCDC incorporates educational sessions into daily activities by providing fun learning programs geared toward juvenile diabetes management. Using games, hands-on assistance, and videos, campers learn procedures and techniques to use daily for achieving glucose control.  July 14-27, 2013

Association for Visual Arts
Summer Art Camp

Camp Invention at Normal Park School
CAMP INVENTION is a fun-filled adventure fostering inventive-thinking skills, science literacy, history and the arts in four activity-oriented modules created for children entering grades 1-6 #current K-5th graders#. Directed and taught by local teachers, children are challenged to identify solutions to real-world problems and are immersed in challenges that draw upon their sense of curiosity. In the Envision program, children travel to a faux-island called Magnetropolis via hand-crafted upcycled ships and build balloon bursting machines. It is learning disguised as fun.

Lowes Build & Grow

Learning RX
IT’S FUN TO BE SMART! Brain Camp creates an engaging environment in which your child can discover tools for thriving in school and in life.  A cognitive enrichment program for kids ages 8 to 14, Brain Camp exposes kids to fun activities that work on core brain skills, including memory, attention, and logic.  Brain Camp also teaches kids how to solve problems, set S.M.A.R.T. goals, harness the power of a great attitude, and use cool tricks to memorize things easily (for example, campers will learn an easy visual strategy and use it to memorize the first 20 elements of the periodic table).

Home Depot Kids Workshop

Public Education Foundation
Summer Camps, Paid Internship Opportunities, STEM opportunities.  Multiple options available!

Morgan’s Wonderland
The world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment.  The completely wheelchair-accessible park features more than 25 elements including rides, playgrounds and other colorful attractions.  From the very beginning, anyone with a special need has been admitted free of charge, no questions asked.  San Antonio, Texas.

Project Angel Fares
There are children with special needs all across the country and for them amusement parks may be something they never get to truly experience.  Project Angel Fares serves to provide all travel expenses paid trips to Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first ultra-accessible theme park, where anyone can play! We give trips of a lifetime.  Online application.

Orange Grove Center: provides funding for recreation and summer camps through Family Support Program

Easter Seals (Georgia Coalition): helps families care for children with disabilities at home through services such as respite care and recreational/therapeutic activities.

SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding (Eagles Rest Ranch): provides horse related therapeutic services for any age typical  as well as those with mental disabilities or injuries, social disorders, or youth at risk.

The Dream League (Baseball): baseball league in Chattanooga designed for players with mental and physical exceptionalities.

iCan ShineThe goal of iCan Bike is to teach individuals with disabilities to ride a conventional two wheel bicycle and become lifeline independent riders.

Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee
Harrison, TN
Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee is a nonprofit organization who promotes the achievements of women who use wheelchairs for daily mobility, advocate for and with Tennesseans who have disabilities, and educate the public regarding the dignity, productiveness and basic values of people with disabilities.

Talisman Program
Black Mountain, NC
Talisman Program offers a variety of programs for young people which specifically address the needs of children with ADHD, learning disabilities, high-functioning autism, or Asperger’s syndrome.  Social skills, self regulation, decision making, communication, and building a more positive self image.

Special Olympics – Area 4 
Soddy Daisy, TN
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

DISCLAIMER – This information was accurate at the time of compilation.  Please contact each individual provider for details about times, dates, places, or any accommodations/modifications that might be necessary for your child to attend.  Not all activities listed here might be accessible to every child with special needs.  Please research and ask questions based on your family’s specific needs.

FUNDING FOR SUMMER CAMPS – Sometimes Family Support will pay for Summer Camps under the Respite category.  Please contact Orange Grove Centers/Family Support Program.  Be prepared to monitor your application closely in order to obtain funding. 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES/NEW CONTACT INFORMATION – If you are aware of any changes and or additional options that need to be included on this list, especially those that might be available in northwest Georgia, please forward the information to lisa.mattheiss@ with SUMMER CAMP UPDATE in the subject line.  Thanks for helping us keep this list up to date!


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