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Our Service Limitations, Behavioral Policies

Buddies Intensive Camper Program

For children with special needs, ages 5-10


Important Notice!  In an effort to keep the integrity and effectiveness of our Buddies Intensive Program has a cap of 10 campers per week. Once the cap is reached, a wait list will be generated.  Please don’t wait to register because these programs fill up fast!

Important Registration Information




We require IEPs, and other documents, so we can provide the best program to meet your child's needs. You can get an electronic copy from your child's school case manager (It DOES NOT have to be a signed copy!). Let the case manager know your request is time sensitive. Completed applications, which include an IFSP, IEP, or 504 plan (if your child has one), will be reviewed in the order received.


Once your application has been reviewed by our camp directors you will receive an email letting you know the status of your application.

super yak.png

I'm Super Yak and I am the camp mascot. I solve problems with my thinking brain and calm body. I am excited for Buddies to join me for many adventures this summer!

"My son is 6 with limited verbal skills and I was anxious about the level of support he would receive. I was so impressed that all staff were so responsive and assessed his level of need on a day to day basis. His 1:1 Assistant was outstanding and this was her first year at Camp YY as well. I am thrilled and he will definitely come back next year. I could write another paragraph about all the wonderful activities!" 

--Rebecca T., parent survey

Buddies Intensive Services Program Tuition $680 weekly

The Buddies Program features specialized curriculum taught by a masters level special education teacher, communication instruction by a speech-language pathologist, weekly consultation from a licensed occupational therapist and licensed physical therapist, a staff nurse, and a dedicated one-to-one assistant for every child. That's 5 hours a day of intensive instruction!

Learn More About the Buddies Intensive Services Program

The Buddies Intensive Services Program caters to children with more significant communication, intellectual, or physical challenges requiring a dedicated one-to-one assistant. The program is instructed by a masters level special education teacher and a speech-language pathologist, with the support of graduate students to provide a communication-rich learning environment. The Buddies Staff focus on communication often utilizing AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) which may be a partner assisted scanning picture vocabulary book (PODD) or speech-generating device such as an iPad with Proloquo2Go app. The camp nurse, behavioral staff, physical therapist, and occupational therapist consult with this program as well to provide wrap-around support.


The Buddies Program classroom has social interaction is at the heart of all activities including arts & crafts, sensory exploration, books, technology, and music. Large motor skills are targeted at recess and during the sensorimotor PLAY class. The Buddies Program will follow the themes of the general camp creating engaging activities with a focus on mindful inclusion, sharing, taking turns, friendship skills, and being part of the group.

Meaningful inclusion at CYY means that each child in the Buddies Program is on an individual schedule. The Camp Directors and the Buddies Program Instructors work with the child's one-to-one assistant to design a schedule with as much inclusion into general camp as possible. CYY's goal is social interaction while being emotionally comfortable. It may be that a large group setting is not comfortable for certain campers. Instructors from general camp lead special activities in the Buddies classrooms for campers who are not yet ready for full-inclusion. It may be that campers derive joy from being in the large group setting, in which case, our staff works to find ways for the child to meaningfully participate. The beauty of the Buddies Program is that it has the flexibility to create a time at camp that optimizes the child's interests but also allows for regulation of needs. For example, some Buddies Program participants may do the Friendship class activity in a Buddies Program classroom or with a general camp group. If a child needs a break in a less stimulating space we have that, too. We are child-focused at Camp Yakety Yak.


Buddies will receive intensive support on increasing their social interactions, communication, and student skills which will continue to support their social and emotional growth.  

Characteristics of Campers in the Buddies Intensive Services Program
  • Had delayed developmental milestones

  • On an IEP at school

  • Participates mostly in a self-contained classroom at school, or one-to-one assistance provided in gen ed

  • Always needs extra adult assistance/ supervision at home & school

  • Attention span about 2 min or less before becoming distracted and moving on

  • Safety concerns- may run, put things in mouth, fall, hurt self or others if frustrated/cannot communicate

  • Nonverbal or limited communication skills, may use AAC such as picture exchange, iPad

  • Feeding and toileting assistance may be needed

  • May have a physical disability - physical assistance may be needed for walking, stairs, getting up/down from floor and may use wheelchair/walker or other adaptive equipment

  • Medical condition that may need to be monitored by nurse

  • Boundary/personal space issues (personal safety concerns)

  • Struggles in group participation/sharing

  • Sensory sensitivities to noise, taste, smells, textures, etc., may be a sensory seeker or sensory avoider

Buddies Intensive Services Program Features List
  • Individualized camper goal targeted on daily basis

  • Dedicated team of Masters-Level program staff that are not shared with rest of the camp, including a special education teacher, and a speech-language pathologist

  • Each child in the Buddies Program receives a specially-trained and supervised one-to-one assistant to support safety and engagement in all camp activities, assistants are graduate students, college age student interns and volunteers, and high school volunteers

  • Dedicated sensory space for calming and hands-on interaction

  • Individualized, flexible schedule to meet camper needs and interests. Participate in paired and small group activities that promote social interaction, and communication

  • PLAY class - designed and supported by occupational and physical therapist targeting sensorimotor play with social interaction

  • Fun, weekly camp theme incorporated into hands-on activities, art, science experiments, cooking and games

  • Mainstreaming into whole group camp activities such as Camper Lunch, Recess, Assemblies and other classes as much as possible for each camper

  • Visual supports in form of visual schedule, weekly themed vocabulary visuals for communication

  • Feeding, changing/transferring, and toileting assistance, if needed

  • 25 to 100 Hours of Therapy-Inspired Instruction (depending on how many weeks camper attends)

  • Consultation & support from an occupational therapist, special education teacher, speech-language pathologist, physical therapist, and counselor, if additional support is needed

  • Written Camper Progress Note at the end of camp describing the social-emotional skills & strategies camper was taught at camp

  • Dedicated and consistent one-to-one assistant assigned to any camper who needs additional support, at no additional charge (we make every effort to use consistent staffing, but may need to reassign staff due to level of staff's experience and camper needs)

  • Parent Training on the use of camp curriculum at home

  • Daily Feedback from camp staff about child's day

  • Camp Yakety Yak T-Shirt

  • Commemorative camp photos and links to view camp photos, end-of-camp slideshow

  • All Camp curriculum, visual Supports and items created for and by the Camper

  • All specialty materials and supplies to complete camp projects, Including Ingredients for our daily snack

  • "Adult Yak" Parent Support Meetings each Monday after drop off

  • Child Care Connections list specially trained respite and child care providers

Not sure which program

is right for your child?

Contact us by email to set up a time for a phone call to discuss your campers needs.

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