What is Camp Yakety Yak?
Camp Yakety Yak is a summer day-camp focused on social-emotional education in group classes and camp-wide activities. CYY serves children in an inclusive setting with 30% of our campers considered neurotypical and 70% with neurodevelopmental disorders and physical disabilities. This includes children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, learning and communication disabilities, intellectual delays and cerebral palsy and physical disabilities. All instruction is provided under the direction & supervision of a small, multi-disciplinary team of masters-level professionals that includes speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, behavior analysts, school counselors, and special education teachers. Camp Yakety Yak’s Service Limitations and CYY’s service model includes social-emotional skill instruction in a large group (e.g., classes, assemblies), inclusive setting with support from college and high school students who act as one-to-one assistants for campers who need individual coaching/prompting to use social-behavioral skills within the group dynamic.
What does Camp Yakety Yak NOT provide?
Camp does not provide individual speech / occupational / physical therapy, or mental health /child psychology /psychiatry /counseling. Our Professional Faculty cannot serve as a one-to-one assistant, due to other supervisory demands. If a child needs that level of support, we recommend private speech, occupational/physical therapy, counseling or ABA service. We do not provide medical treatment, we provide education in an engaging social environment. CYY does not bill medical insurance nor provide receipts for medical reimbursement, but does provide a written summary of our observations of the camper's participation with recommendations.
Who Serves My Child Directly?
Part of the mission of CYY is to provide an opportunity for future professionals in educational and therapeutic fields to gain knowledge and hands-on experience in working with children with special needs. To achieve this, the curriculum is designed by the professional staff who then provide training and ongoing, general supervision to college interns, graduate students and high school student volunteers who deliver the instruction and individual assistance to the campers. Each intern and volunteer receives 10-20 hours of training prior to camp depending on their role. This is why we call it a “limited professional service model,” because camp participants receive the bulk of instruction and interaction from our student staff with limited access to professionals. Professionals provide brief “troubleshooting” support, such as setting up an incentive plan, or modeling a collaborative problem solving conversation with a camper.
A “Good Fit” for All Parties: It is important for families and staff that Camp Yakety Yak is a good fit to ensure the safety, enjoyment and learning opportunities of all campers and students. Parents will be asked to provide accurate information in terms of their child’s current level of functioning and share any needs relating to their cognitive, academic, communication, physical/motor, social & emotional, and behavioral skills so that Camp Yakety Yak may provide a supportive learning environment for their child. In June, new campers with special needs and their parent(s) are expected to attend an orientation meeting to meet the staff, tour the facility and learn more about specific camp policies & procedures. Camp Yakety Yak will provide families with daily feedback on how their child is participating in the program.
What Needs of Kids Do Not Thrive at Camp Yakety Yak?
Camp Yakety Yak reserves the right to not admit participants whose level of need is outside of our scope of practice, or require constant professional supervision. Children who demonstrate the following characteristics are not a good fit for Camp Yakety Yak’s limited professional service model.
Children with psychiatric disorders outside of Autism and ADHD, such as: generalized anxiety disorder, depression, fetal alcohol syndrome or effects, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, bipolar and related disorders, conduct disorder, or obsessive-compulsive or related disorders.
Children who require sustained one to one support from a master's level professional to ensure he/she is engaged, safe and interacting positively, are not a good fit for CYY’s largely volunteer staff. Our professional faculty must divide their time between two duties 1) creating programs for camp participants; and 2) training and supervising student staff. Our professional faculty , who are known as "Red Shirts" provide brief one-to-one interactions with campers to model teaching strategies for our student staff members, who all wear blue camp shirts. The student staff members may have different roles at the camp including camp counselors, interns, clinical practicum or fieldwork students, who are expected to use the strategy on their own with professional general supervision.
Children with a history of emotional escalation resulting in aggressive behaviors including but not limited to: physical bullying, physical intimidation, hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching and pushing or damaging property; and/or verbal bullying includes verbal intimidation, name-calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse.
Children with a history of consistent noncompliance which can be characterized as: not comply with rules majority of the time; doesn't take "no" for an answer; tries repeatedly to control adults, schedule or setting; wants to do their own thing / will not go along with the “group plan” such as follow camper team schedule/attend classes or participate in our activities even with encouragement and incentives. Participants who are not compliant with camp counselor and intern staff directions and require maximum assistance from professional staff, are not a good match for our limited service model. Parents are paying a significant cost for their child to participate meaningfully and CYY wants families to receive a high value for their money. If children are not engaging meaningfully in the curriculum, we ask that families try us again in the future.
Children with a history of inappropriate boundaries or sexual behaviors including sexual talk, name calling, and/or inappropriate touching.
Children who attend OUT-OF-DISTRICT placements such as therapeutic schools (e.g., Serendipity, Bridges Academy, New Leaves Academy, Four Corners, Rimrock Trails, etc.) are not able to have their needs met in our setting. Depending on the school district and program, certain IN-DISTRICT behavior programs may serve children who would not be a good fit for camp due to the high level of adult support and professional supervision required
Children whose advanced medical needs are beyond the scope of the camp nurse.
If your child has more specialized behavioral or emotional needs beyond general supports that CYY is able to provide (such as beyond a special ed teacher or school counselor) we will gladly provide you professional referrals.
CYY's Challenging Behavior Policy
Many camp participants exhibit challenging behavior from time to time such as non-compliance/task avoidance and the majority of such episodes can be handled by our student staff. Often, children need help or are having strong feelings, but do not know how to verbalize it. Our student staff are trained in empathetic listening and strategies to help children participate. For some camp participants, this level of intervention is not enough and the challenging behavior escalates in type or frequency.
Examples of challenging behavior: yelling, arguing, swearing, name-calling; noncompliance/task avoidance, running, aggression (verbal or physical) such as hitting, biting, kicking, pushing, punching or slapping, destruction of property, bullying, or inappropriate boundaries/sexual harassment of others.
Step 1: After the first incident(s) of challenging behavior, CYY’s Camper Support Team (Behavior & Counseling professionals) will evaluate and strategize the situation with fellow staff, and parents are notified. Strategies may include: Implementation of an incentive plan and assign and train/ supervise / model instruction a one-to-one assistant (college or high school level) to
the child, if one has not been assigned already.
Step 2: The camp participant will be given a set period of time to correct the behavior to a safe level so they can remain at camp. A high level of positive reinforcement for expected camp behaviors will be used with the participant. If the behavior has corrected itself to “90% safe and positive behavior”, the camper will be able to remain at camp.
Step 3: If the challenging behavior continues, Camp Directors will contact parents to withdraw camper from Camp Yakety Yak. Referrals to outside service providers can be given upon request.
Examples of Behavioral Strategies We Use at Camp Yakety Yak
Along with redirection, planned ignoring, providing a distraction, and other behavioral techniques, a “break” strategy will be used. One space we use for this is called “Homebase”. Breaks (thought of an emotional time-out) are when a camp participant temporarily separates from the learning activity or the classroom, either by choice or by direction from staff, for the purpose of calming. During a break, the participant is continuously observed by a staff member. The break ends as soon as the student has calmed or when the timer goes off (as predetermined by staff with the participant). Campers can take brief breaks from the group to feel calm again in the hallway, in our Homebase tent, at the Camper Support Team tables, or incorporate a walk or some other sensory soothing activity.
Respectful Physical Assistance Can Be Provided
Camp Yakety Yak may use the following “respectful physically assistive” techniques with campers to help them engage in activities and with others safely.
Physical Escort: a temporary touching or holding, without the use of force, of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, or back for the purpose of inducing a participant who is agitated to walk to a safe location; providing physical guidance or prompting when teaching a skill (such as hand-over-hand support to cut with scissors); redirecting attention (such as tapping on a shoulder, gently turning the child’s face or torso); providing comfort (such as a “side hug”); physical escort that does not involve force. If the child resists walking, staff will immediately let go of the child and step back. brief physical contact to promote student safety (such as guiding a student or re-directing a student)
What if Incentives, Time-Outs, and Physical Assistance are not enough to ensure safety?
Our Camper Support Team models strategies for volunteers to use with campers, including incentive plans, collaborative problem solving, adding physical activity or calming breaks to the camper's personal schedule, etc. If those strategies are not successful and the camper continues to escalate to the point where serious injury to self or others is likely, a physical restraint may need to be used by two trained staff members until the child has returned to a calm state. Physical restraints are rare at Camp Yakety Yak.
If a child’s emotional escalation raises to the level that physical restraint or temporary seclusion are necessary, parents will be called to come take the child home. If a physical restraint or seclusion is provided at CYY, the child is NOT able to return to camp for the given summer. any physical restraint or seclusion that is necessary for the safety or well-being of the camper will be administered by an OIS, ProAct or similarly trained staff member.
The ONLY time that a non OIS or ProAct or similarly trained person should ever restrain or seclude is if there is imminent danger and ALL other less restrictive interventions have been exhausted.
Refund Policy for Withdrawal Based on Camper Behavior
There are no refunds for campers who are withdrawn from camp due to verbal or physical aggression, compliance/defiance or inappropriate behavioral issues for the current week in which the behavior occurs. If the camper is registered for future weeks, the camp will refund the remaining balance except for the $75 per week registration fee as those funds have already been spent on the child. Staff planning/attention and camp materials have been provided or allocated and the camper has taken a spot from another child on the waitlist. CYY also reserves the right to withdraw any camper whose first incident is serious enough to warrant immediate dismissal (e.g., as in the case of physical restraint or seclusion).
Parent Notification Concerning Challenging Behavior
Parents will be notified by the Camper Support Team (CST) of any special behavioral or emotional regulation support provided to the camper. Notification may be in-person, in writing on the “My Day at Camp” form, by text or email on the date an incident has occurred. A special email account will be set up to communicate with CST and will be shared with you before camp season begins. Reminder that camp counselors in blue shirts are not to provide behavioral information to parents, only professionals on the Camper Support Team.
Staff Policies to Protect Camper Safety:
All volunteer and compensated staff over the age of 18 will have passed a criminal background check
Staff, age 17 and younger, will have passed a personal reference check
All staff will complete online and in-person training before being allowed to interact with campers. The length and complexity of the training depends on the staff member’s educational level. All staff receive training about strategies to reduce the likelihood of meltdowns and assist children select a “self-soothing” strategy, such as taking a break, getting a drink of water or doing a sensory activity, and camp policies listed on this document.
Campers are under constant staff supervision and are always to be in the line of sight of multiple staff members. Campers are not to be in a space alone with just one staff member. The Camper Support Team is on standby at all times to come assist in any situation.
Student staff are encouraged to try two different strategies to help camp participants engage positively with camp curriculum, if after two attempts staff are not successful, they are to stop what they are doing and get assistance from the Camper Support Team.
Campers under the age of 12 are escorted on the property, even to the bathroom. Staff provides “auditory monitoring" from outside the entry door just in case there are issues, if a child needs assistance, a paid staff member will assist.
Only pre-approved individuals, with photo ID, may pick up a child from camp, among other provisions.
CYY only communicates about the child with parents/legal guardians, no matter who is responsible for pick up or drop off.
Adults Who are NOT Staff Members on Church Property
Parents are on the facility property for a variety of reasons: to pick up/drop off their child, to attend Coffee, Tea and Empathy Parent Support meetings or to attend Friday Family Parties. Much like at a public school, we do not allow parents to hang out and observe or engage in other activities without prior approval by camp administrators. This is confusing and distracting to children, may break confidentiality of other children’s educational or medical needs. Because all camp participants wear our branded t-shirt, adults without camp identifiable t-shirt on are looked at as “strangers on the property” and will be escorted to our camp office. The church is a public property on a public trail. Anyone who is onsite more than one day must pass a criminal background check for the church. Thank you for your understanding as we try to keep your children safe.
To help parents stay informed of what their children are doing we have daily blog posts and My Day at Camp forms, as well as a daily email with any special announcements/reminders.
Private Service Provider Observing at Camp Policy
Parents may request that a private service provider such as behavior therapist observe their child at camp.
Step 1. Contact us at email@example.com with the request, including the name of the camper, name of the provider and credentials, provider’s company, phone number & email of provider, proposed date and time of observation.
Step 2. Upon approval, the provider is able to observe at the camp on the scheduled date and time and follows this protocol: a) Check in with our camp office at the Red Shirt Tables in the gym; b) meet with a director or Camper Support Team member for a brief orientation and then follow the staff member to where the child is located on the property; c) enter the class quietly and refrain from speaking to the staff members working with the child (provider may greet child at an appropriate moment); d) after the observation, return to the Red Shirt Tables to check-out with a director or Camper Support Team member. Providers can share any recommendations at this time for us to pass along to the appropriate staff. No photos, filming or phone calls during the observation are allowed.
Camper Health Policies
If your child demonstrates or complains of an illness or injury, a staff member will either provide an ice pack (for a knee) or bandaid (for a small cut), and a short break/rest from the activity. Our rule of thumb is “do what you would do if you were the babysitter.” If the illness/injury is more severe than an ice pack or band-aid could fix, or if the individual has hit his/her head, the child will be escorted to the Camp Nurse to receive appropriate treatment, rest and then return to the activity, if possible. Parents are asked about allowed over the counter medication when registering their child. Our Camp Nurse will alert parents by phone, on a written form or by email about treatments provided.
When a camper exhibits symptoms that may warrant a trip to the doctor, we will contact you to see how to proceed. If we cannot reach you, we will use our best judgment and continue to try to contact you.
If a camper is contagious or becomes too sick to stay, we will notify the parent or guardian to pick them up. Do not send your camper to camp if they are sick or contagious. Children must be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, like Tylenol.
When a camper is seriously injured, emergency care will be provided, including transportation by ambulance if necessary. A camp representative will accompany the camper to the hospital. We will try to contact you immediately.
Food Safety & Dietary Restrictions
Camp Yakety Yak is a NUT FREE environment. Please do not send any lunch or snack items with nuts, nut butter, including peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We have staff at every lunch table who are monitoring this, If an item contains nut, the staff will discard the item, instruct the child wash his/her hands, give potato chips as an alternate and place a reminder card in the child's lunch box. We have not had to administer an epi-pen yet!
Camp Yakety Yak has a Cooking class that will meet many times during the camp session to teach skills in following step-by-step instructions, trying new tastes & textures, and socializing while eating. All campers are expected to assemble the snack and take one bite (if snack has conformed to all dietary restrictions). This rule is done for two reasons: to practice doing a project exactly as a “teacher” has instructed you to do it (even if you don’t like the project or would want to do it another way) and to increase a child’s flexibility in trying new things/expand a child’s palate.
Often kids discover at least one new food they like from these activities.
Every effort will be made to use healthy ingredients in the Cooking activity, but we do make ice cream one time during the session and offer toppings. Parents will be provided a cooking schedule and list of ingredients. The Cooking Instructor, Camp Administrators, Team Leaders and 1:1 assistants are alerted to food allergies or dietary needs from the Camper Registration Form. Parents may be asked to help supply specialty food items that adhere to the camper's diet.
Staff are trained to not offer any food item to the child that is not a part of the planned curriculum. Camp Yakety Yak will try to accommodate individual dietary restrictions for cooking items, but parents may be asked to supply some ingredients. All campers are asked to bring a filled water bottle, sack lunch and hearty snack daily. Staff will follow all necessary food safety guidelines when handling and serving food.
In the case that a parent forgets to pack a water bottle, lunch or snacks for their child, the camp office will try to alert you to bring replacements. We have limited snacks provided for staff that can be shared with children given no allergy restrictions. Our staff will make every effort to check that all campers have necessary food and drink during Camper Drop Off. If we can catch parents before leaving the parking lot, we will. There is a New Seasons grocery store nearby. When the parent returns with lunch, he/she is will be directed to the camp office tables for staff to distribute the items to the camper as soon as possible.
Parents are welcome to come have lunch with their children with prior arrangement through our camp office.
Protection of Participant Privacy Policies:
CYY stores and transmit participant’s health information in electronic and paper format. While onsite, submitted health forms will remain with our camp nurse. Health and medical documents that you provide are reviewed by qualified staff on a need to know basis only. At the conclusion of camp, all digital records are destroyed via secure procedure. Paper records are saved for 2 years in a locked cabinet at the camp office.
Educational information and supporting documents that you provide are reviewed by qualified staff on a need to know basis only.
You will be asked if you want to “opt out” of a team roster which shares the contact information of all children on a team for future playdate purposes.
Payment of Camp Tuition, Cancellation & Transfer of Tuition:
A registration fee for all campers is due at the time of registration and will be applied to the child’s total camp tuition. Camp Yakety Yak accepts payments of checks by mail to PO Box 161, West Linn, OR 97068 or credit card on their camper’s online account. A fee of $20 will be assessed for any returned checks. Before the first day of the child registered camp session, families are able to transfer their camp payments to a different session, if there is space available. If after the first day of camp, but before the second, a parent decides that Camp Yakety Yak is not a good fit up to, the family will receive a refund of the camp tuition for that week. The $75 per week registration fee is nonrefundable, At any time after the camp session has begun, the Camp Director can determine that CYY is not a good fit for a camper and issue refund on future week sessions. As a reminder, there is no refund for campers who exhibit serious behavioral incidents that affect the safety and positive learning experience of other campers for the current week because the child received professional services, camp supplies, and other costs incurred by the camp.
If campers must miss camp due to illness, camp administrators may choose to transfer tuition to another session during the current year or refund future weeks for the current year (minus the registration fee for each week as those funds have already been allocated).
Photo Release Policy
Photographs and videos taken at Camp Yakety Yak are used by Camp Yakety Yak and its representatives in displays for educational purposes, such as staff training or camp curriculum, as well as the promotion of Camp Yakety Yak on websites, magazines and brochures. The majority of our staff are students and the camp is a “teaching camp” similar to a “teaching hospital.” Photos and videos are crucial to effective staff training prior to camp. We also create weekly slideshows that distributed to fellow campers in the form of YouTube video links. No personal information is associated with any photographs without my consent and that no compensation is offered for the use of such photos/videos. All photographs & videos taken by Camp Yakety Yak are the property of Camp Yakety Yak and will be used with the utmost respect. If parents have a concern about how their child’s image is going to be or has been used, I may contact the Camp Director via email at any time. We are happy to discuss removal of photos/videos from the website or other medium after camp is over and families have seen a final product.
It is very difficult to make sure that the one or two children who are NOT allowed to be included in photography are moved to the side for all photo/video. This requires a level of vigilance and communication on the part of staff that is taxing and is confusing to children when they are excluded. For this reason, children who are NOT able to be included in camp photographs and videos are NOT able to be admitted to Camp Yakety Yak. We are happy to provide referrals to other camps that may have a more flexible policy.
Mandatory Reporter Policy
Oregon state law mandates that workers in certain professions must make reports if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or neglect. All professionals who work at camp are considered mandatory reporters because their profession is in the educational, clinical or therapeutic field and they come into contact with vulnerable populations (i.e., children, individuals with disabilities, and the elderly). By law, mandatory reporters must report suspected abuse or neglect of a child regardless of whether or not the knowledge of the abuse was gained in the reporter’s official capacity. In other words, the mandatory reporting of abuse or neglect of children is a 24-hour obligation. To fail to report, CYYs professionals may be putting children at risk as well as face disciplinary action involving their state license. For more information, visit https://www.oregon.gov/dhs/abuse/pages/mandatory_report.aspx
Thank you for your understanding of these policies. Please email our office with any questions or concerns you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org.