Our Unique Programs

Please have a *digital copy of your special needs camper's IFSP, IEP, or 504 plan to upload with your application. A completed application includes a copy of the camper's IFSP, IEP, or 504 plan and completed applications are reviewed in the order they are received.  *Ask your child's school case manager for a pdf, it does NOT have to be a signed copy. 

Programs to fit everyone in the family ages 5-21 years!
 Camp Yakety Yak has programs to fit everyone in the family 5-21 years! 

Special Needs Camper Program

Ages 5-11



Camp Yakety Yak's Signature Camp Program! This program is for children with a developmental disability or medical condition that makes participation in school difficult and who may  or may not have an IEP or 504 plan at school.


Social skills instruction is embedded in all activities each day from the opening assembly, through a 30-minute social skills class, collaborative team projects, and recess activities.


Our professional faculty will design a curriculum that targets the social-emotional and communication needs of your child. A one-to-one assistant may be provided to encourage safe and positive engagement with other campers at no additional charge.

Buddies Intensive Services Camper Program

Ages 5-10



The Buddies Intensive Services Camper Program caters to children with more significant communication, intellectual, or physical challenges requiring a dedicated one-to-one assistant. The program is directed by a masters level special education teacher with experience working with children with complex disabilities.


The program also has a speech-language pathologist who, with the support of graduate level speech-language pathology students, provides a communication-rich learning environment. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a focus of this program, though oral speech is modeled and encouraged. A camp nurse, occupational therapist, and physical therapist will consult and provide wrap-around support. 

Buddies campers will receive intensive support  on increasing their social interactions, communication, and student skills which will continue to support their social and emotional growth and prepare them for a transition back to school at the end of the summer.

Junior Camp Counselor Program

Ages 12-15



The Junior Camp Counselor Program (JCCs) is a "pre-service learning" or "pre-volunteer" experience for teens with learning or social challenges who are still developing independence and leadership skills. The program is instructed by two masters level special education teachers and an on-site speech-language pathologist consultant and the support of graduate level mentors. 

The JCC Program will follow the themes of camp while creating engaging and age-appropriate activities where our JCCs can learn new strategies and practice self-advocacy, emotional regulation, increased independence, problem-solving, growth mindset, social filter, and leadership skills. 

Neurotypical Siblings/Peers Role

Model Camper Program

Ages 5-15 (They attend General Camp for ages 5-11 and JCCs ages 12-15)



Neurotypical children are at or above their peers in social communication and behavioral skills, and are a very important component of our camp curriculum and can participate in either General Camp or JCCs depending on their age. Neurotypical peers are role models, and serve as examples of positive participation in camp activities. Thus, they receive a significantly discounted tuition rate. Neurotypical peers receive frequent positive adult and teenager attention for their willingness to try new things, be flexible, have empathy, and demonstrate leadership skills. This support makes Camp Yakety Yak as rewarding and fun of an experience for neurotypical campers as camp is for special needs campers. Neurotypical Siblings are invited to participate in our sibling support group hosted daily by a counseling professional or other professional staff member with counseling experience, at snack time. If your child exhibits behavior which requires professional assistance, Camp Yakety Yak administrators will contact you to discuss options. 

Yak Apprentice Program

Ages 16-21

$1500/4-week Program


The Yak Apprentice Program is a 4-week learning and work experience focusing on "social and executive skills in the workplace". It is a unique opportunity for young adults to focus on job and life skills necessary for success in everyday life.

While in the program, apprentices will receive direct instruction on social skills, job skills, self-advocacy, and appropriate emotional regulation, while increasing confidence when faced with more challenging workplace situations. With support, Yak Apprentices will engage in at least one aspect of supporting the day-to-day operations of camp and practice other skills through modeling.

All tuitions listed include a $100 per week registration fee that is nonrefundable. The registration fee is all that is required to reserve a spot for your child this summer.


Each week children with special needs, Buddies and JCCs receive 25 hours of direct social-emotional and communication skills instruction. The more weeks a child attends the more effective the camp can be.


Tuition pricing is based on the cost of speech therapy in a university clinic by graduate students, or approximately $20-25 per hour.


We charge very little per hour for neurotypical children to attend camp. We do this for many reasons: 1) we want our campers to interact with peer models; 2) we want neurotypical siblings to have a chance to connect with each other and; 3) no special support is provided by Masters-level educators and therapists. Neurotypical peers are often part of our strategy to improve social skills of campers with special needs. 


This is an expensive camp to produce, mostly due to the number of professionals needed to design and supervise the program to ensure quality instruction and safety. Tuition covers about 70% of the budget, the rest we must fundraise.


Payments, Discounts & Scholarships

Tuition Payments: A registration fee of $100 is required to hold the camper's spot at the time of registration and applies to the camper's total tuition. Families can make payments on their online camp account anytime they wish or pay the entire tuition at once. Total tuition is due on or before June 30th, 2021. 


Neurotypical Sibling Discount: The Neurotypical Sibling/Peer Role Model tuition is significantly discounted compared to participating in other camps with similar activities offered. The $150 tuition for 25 hours of camp is less than the cost of childcare. We offer this discount so camp is able to meet its 25% neurotypical camper quota for our specialized Reverse Inclusion model. At this time, there is no additional discount for multiple campers within the same family with special needs. Instead, we encourage families to apply for a CYY Scholarship (see below).


Staff Discount: We offer a special discount to children (age 5-12) of professional staff members so they are not covering the cost of outside childcare in order to work at the camp. Please contact Heather@CampYaketyYak.org to discuss the staff discount. Due to limited space we are not able to offer a staff discount in our "Buddies" or "Yak Apprentice" programs at this time.


Partial, Need-Based Scholarships for Campers with Special Needs, Buddies Intensive Services Program, Junior Camp Counselors and Yak Apprentices: We want all children who want to attend camp to be able to attend Camp Yakety Yak. We know that the cost of the tuition (which largely covers the cost of the professionals to be onsite) can be a barrier.  CYY offers partial scholarships to campers whose families have a demonstrated need. At this time, the maximum scholarship is 50% of one week of tuition per child per family, so we can share the funds with as many families as possible. Scholarships are available for the Yak Apprentice program at a maximum of $500 for qualified applicants. The scholarship committee looks at multiple factors in determining the scholarship calculations. We do not have a maximum income policy at this time, rather the Scholarship Committee looks at all of the other factors that the family shares to get a total picture of need. When in doubt whether if you qualify or not, we recommend that you apply for a scholarship anyway and the committee will review all applications and available scholarship funds to make a determination.


CYY's Scholarship Process: We ask that families who are interested in scholarships complete the following steps:

  • Step 1: Complete an online registration form their child for the number of camp weeks they desire.

  • Step 2: Pay all of the registration fees ($100 per week) to hold your child's spot for desired weeks. The registration fee will be applied to the family's portion of tuition, if a scholarship is granted. 

  • Step 3: Complete and return CYY's Scholarship Application along with the tax documents summarizing the families income (we do not need the entire return. The scholarship applications are available between May 1 through June 30. Applications received after that point will still be considered, as funds are available.

  • Step 4: CYY's Scholarship Committee meets to review all scholarship applications and makes awards given the available funds. Families are notified by email starting June 30 about the scholarship award.

  • Step 5: Families accept the scholarship award and agree to pay the family portion of the camper's tuition on or before July 1st. To assist families in raising funds, the camp has created a Camper Friends & Family Letter to Request Donations that can be sent to close family and friends for small donations. Our office applies the donation check amount to your camper's online account, the donor receives a receipt and you are notified that someone has donated.

  • Step 6: It is required for all scholarship recipients to write a thank you note to the donor before August 9. Our office handles tracking and distribution of thank you notes to donors or written testimonials to foundations providing scholarship funds. Written thank you's from parents about what the scholarship meant to the family are encouraged to include a photo of the child in their camp shirt, the note written by the child or a drawing by the child.  Families who accept the scholarship and do not provide written thank you's may not be considered for future scholarships at Camp Yakety Yak. We believe that gratitude is one of the most important social skills we can teach children and hope you agree!


What if our family accepts the scholarship but is not able to cover remaining tuition? Camp Yakety Yak will refund all tuition paid to date, including the registration fee, and will give the spot to a child on the waitlist. Even though the registration fees are not refundable customarily, scholarship applicants receive a full refund.

What Makes Camp Yakety Yak Unique?

One-to-One Assistants at Camp: Children with special needs who have behavior that impacts their learning or the learning of others typically receive a one-to-one assistant at camp. This is different than public school assistants who are typically provided only for significant safety or medical reasons. Because our staff are largely student volunteers we feel that often children and students learn best in a one-to-one relationship. If your child needs supervision to participate well in a group, they may be able to receive an assistant at our camp.

Social Skill Classes Taught Daily

Together with parents, Camp Yakety Yak staff determine a goal for each child to work on during their time at camp. We teach new skills in small groups settings and practice the skills throughout all activities, such as during snack or out at recess. Our staff comes alongside of campers to offer social coaching in real-life situations, as we believe that children learn best when they engage in their own learning. Rather than being instructors, staff view themselves as guides and propose questions such as "How could we make our own camp clubhouse?" then support children in generating solutions.  At Camp Yakety Yak, we provide specially-designed activities that work on these skills with the support of a high staff to camper ratio. Staff use visuals and other strategies to help children focus their attention, wait their turn, engage in learning and conversation and ask for help when it is needed. All of these skills are needed for school, home and friendship success.

High ​1:1 Staff-to-Camper Ratio​

Camp Yakety Yak features a high 1:1 staff to camper ratio! How can we do that? The majority of our volunteer staff are actually college and high school students and aspire to work in helping professions. We also host graduate level speech-language pathology students and occupational therapy students for school practicums and fieldwork.  Camp Administrators are able to "sign off" on the hours that college, graduate level students, and volunteers work for our camp if it is part of their college or high school's graduation requirements.  At Camp Yakety Yak, because of our high staff to camper ratio. We can follow up on social misunderstandings immediately and the staff learns best practice strategies to support children with social-emotional challenges. Everyone is a learner at Camp Yakety Yak and we like it that way!

Siblings Welcome!

At Camp Yakety Yak, we believe that when given the right amount of support, children can do things they have never done before– such as participate in a group project successfully, manage frustration before melting down, or join a group already playing at recess. Camp Yakety Yak ascribes to a "Reverse Inclusion" model which means we have designed an environment that supports children with special needs and invites "neurotypical" children with age-appropriate skills to join in the fun!  Campers with Special Needs benefit from the specially-designed social-emotional curriculum they get to practice in real-world interactions with peer role models. To ensure their success, campers with special needs are given the right amount of individual attention, staff assistance, and professional expertise to ensure their success.
Neurotypical Peers & Siblings not only enjoy camp activities, but grow in their patience, empathy and leadership skills while connecting with other "neurotypical" siblings for some good, old-fashioned fun. We also offer special activities for siblings to support their unique needs.

Advanced Staff Training

All staff receive up to 30 hours of specialized training from Camp Administrators and our multi-disciplinary Professional Faculty before working with children at Camp Yakety Yak. This includes online tutorials, quizzes and in-person training sessions. We partner with local universitities to offer internships, clinical practicums for speech pathlology students and occupational therapy students. High School Students and college students from related fields work as Camp Counselors by serving as Team Leaders and one-to-one Assistants for campers with mild-to-moderate disabilities. All are supervised by Masters-level professionals.

Expanded Program Offerings

Expanded Program Offerings Buddies Intensive Services Program- This program provides a dedicated one-to-one assistant for campers who need additional support and team of professional supervisors to develop an individual schedule of individual and group learning for campers age 5-10. Junior Camp Counselor Program- This program teaches leadership and social skills, such as appropriate social boundaries and using a "social filter" when talking to others to adolescents, age 12-15. Often campers in the JCC program have attended Camp Yakety Yak as younger children. Sibling Snack Support Group - Each day, neurotypical siblings meet during snack time to share experiences and connect with each other. Topics include, has it ever been difficult to have a friend over with your brother or sister with special needs? Any advice for other kids? Learn more. Coffee Tea & Empathy Parent Support Meetings - CYY creates a space for parents to meet after dropping their children off at camp. This meeting is facilitated by parents with professional guest speakers. Topics have included transitioning from elementary to middle school and local resources.

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