top of page

Policies, Practices, & Restrictions

What is Camp Yakety Yak?
Camp Yakety Yak is a summer day-camp focused on social-emotional skills and education in group classes and camp-wide activities.  CYY serves children in an inclusive setting with approximately 75%  of our campers experiencing developmental and physical disabilities.  This includes children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, learning and communication disabilities, intellectual delays, cerebral palsy, and other physical disabilities. Approximately 25% percent of our campers  do not experience a disability and many are siblings or extended family members of other campers. 


All activities are provided under the direction & supervision of a multi-disciplinary team of masters-level professionals that includes, but is not limited to:  speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, counselors, and masters level special education teachers. We provide education in an engaging social environment. CYY’s service model includes social-emotional skill instruction in a group (e.g., classes, assemblies) in an 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/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or mental health/child psychology, psychiatry, or 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 therapy, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, or counseling. We do not provide medical treatment, although we do have a nurse on staff for medication management and emergencies. 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 from our professional staff.

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 general supervision to college interns, graduate students, and high school student volunteers who deliver the instruction and individual assistance to the campers.  Each intern,  college/graduate student, 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, aside from the teaching staff,  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.

Things to Consider Before Registering Your Child for 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. If the camp director needs more information, beyond your registration paperwork, she will email you to set up a time for a phone call to determine if we can meet your child’s needs. 

Camp Yakety Yak’s limited professional service model is not a good fit for children who demonstrate the following: 

  • Children with psychiatric disorders outside of Autism and ADHD, such as: generalized anxiety disorder, depression, oppositional defiant disorder, 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 graduate student and volunteer model for one-to-one assistants. Our professional faculty must divide their time between two duties 1) creating programs for camp participants; and 2) training and supervising student and volunteer 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 are “Blue Shirts”. The student staff members may have different roles at the camp including camp counselors, interns, clinical practicum (SLP graduate students) or fieldwork students (OT graduate students), who are expected to use the strategies 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, pushing, damaging property; and/or verbal bullying including verbal intimidation, name-calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, ableist, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse.

  • Children with a history of consistent non-compliance which can be characterized as: not complying with rules the 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, Oasis, etc.) are typically 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. This is determined on a case by case basis and may require a zoom interview with the nurse and some staff members to determine whether we can meet your child’s medical needs.


Camp Yakety Yak's 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) and Directors 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 to 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. Parents will be notified that we are working on further support and set a timeline for improved behavior.


Step 3: If the challenging behavior continues,  Camp Directors will contact parents to withdraw their camper from Camp Yakety Yak. Referrals to outside service providers can be given upon request.

Exceptions: If a camper is posing a safety threat to themselves or others, and immediate measures have not worked, the camper may need to leave prior to the set period of time. 

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”. Campers may take a break with adult professional staff supervising the use of sensory tools, preferred games and toys, and social interaction, if it is desired. 

Breaks at Camp

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 camper). Campers can take brief breaks from the group to feel calm again in the hallway, in our Homebase area, 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.

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 and parents are always immediately called, and the situation is debriefed with the parents and staff involved. 

If a child’s emotional escalation raises to the level that physical restraint or temporary seclusion are necessary, parents will be called to 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 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 MANDT, OIS or ProAct or similarly trained person should ever restrain or seclude is if there is imminent danger to the camper or another camper and ALL other less restrictive interventions have been exhausted.

Parent Notification Concerning Challenging Behavior
Parents will be notified by the Camper Support Team (CST) and/or Camp Directors of any special behavioral or emotional regulation support provided to the camper. Notification will  be in-person or via phone on the date the incident occurred, or via text or email if staff are unable to contact a parent in person or via phone.  In order to complete the work responsibilities of the camp day, any communication with the parents will be after 5pm. Staff may also follow up a phone call or in-person conversation by email.  Sometimes a note may be included on the  “My Day at Camp” form on the date an incident has occurred, but camp counselors in blue shirts are not to provide behavioral information to parents, so camp counselors will redirect parents to camp professionals on the Camper Support Team or to a Director for details about the incident. Every “Red Shirt” camp professional will not be aware of every incident that happens throughout the day. Sometimes the professional staff will not fully know everything until an after camp debrief, which allows the team to have all of the details. If you approach a “Red Shirt” team member and they are not familiar with your camper or the incident that happened, please be aware that they may suggest contacting the camp director by email and she will follow up with you after camp hours. We have upwards of 150 campers and young adult Yak Apprentices on site every day and will follow up with you in a timely manner once the professional team has met after campers leave. 


CYY's Health & Safety Policies

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 whether  over the counter medication is allowed 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 hospital, we will contact you to see how to proceed. If we cannot reach you, we will use our best judgment and continue to make all efforts 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.

CYY Policies and Protocols in Response to Covid-19
We follow state and local guidelines, Camp Yakety Yak’s (CYY) programs will operate under the following protocols this summer. As guidelines on local social distancing, gathering size limits, and youth activities change, these protocols are also subject to change accordingly. The Camp Yakety Yak Leadership team will make decisions based on the unique conditions for the community we serve.

Camp Yakety Yak encourages all staff, volunteers, interns, college/graduate students to be vaccinated with all up to date boosters. We encourage everyone on the Camp Yakety Yak campus to mask when appropriate (i.e., cold/cough and sore throat symptoms), mask will be available at camp for anyone that needs/wants one. Camp Yakety Yak will continue frequent cleaning and hand washing protocols. Home Screening In an effort to ensure that we keep all campers and staff as safe as possible, please keep you your child home if they exhibit any of the following:​

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Headache

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Fatigue

  • Sore throat

  • Muscle/body aches

  • Congestion/runny nose (not due to typical allergies)

If your child demonstrates any of the symptoms listed above, it is best to err on the side of caution and keep your child at home. Thank you for your understanding.

Camp Screening
Throughout the day at camp if campers begin to feel unwell and/or develop primary or non-primary symptoms, have any unusual coloration, chills, unusual behavior, new or significant coughing, shortness of breath, or reports any symptoms of illness, they will be kept in a location away from others so the CYY team can contact parents for pick up.

  • If your child has another illness documented other than Covid-19 please remain at home for at least 24 hours after illness onset and fever free/symptom free for 24 hours without the use of medication.

  • If your child has had a positive COVID-19 test please have your child remain at home for at least 5 days after illness onset and be fever free for 24hrs without the use of fever reducing medicine.

  •  If your child has had a negative COVID-19 Test AND is fever free they may return after being fever free for 24hrs without the use of fever reducing medicine.

  •  If you do not undergo viral testing please remain at home for at least 5 days after illness onset and be fever free for 24hrs without the use of fever reducing medicine. 


Contact with Positive & Presumptive Case
If Camp Yakety Yak is notified of a camper, volunteer, intern, college/graduate, or staff member testing positive for COVID-19 all families of campers and staff who have interacted with the cohort will be notified. 

Any volunteers, interns, and staff members, vaccinated and non-vaccinated campers who interacted with the positive or presumptive case, but are not required to quarantine, should monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.


Healthy Hygiene Practices

  • All staff will teach, reinforce, and model hand washing and sanitizing across all settings.

  • All campers and staff are required to wash hands and/or sanitize frequently. This includes and is not limited to: before and after meals, after coming inside the building, after using the restroom, after sneezing, blowing your nose, or coughing. 

  • Avoid touching your face.

Disinfection In Common Spaces/Restrooms

  • Given that it is a team effort, all staff will be responsible for disinfecting classrooms, common spaces and restrooms based on a regular rotation.

  • Staff may choose to use Clorox disinfecting wipes or Lysol disinfecting wipes in the classroom as they are safe to use around children and pregnant women.

  • Prior to camper arrival and after camper departure, all common areas of camp will be cleaned by staff.


Staff Policies to Protect Camper Safety

  • All volunteer, intern, high school and college/graduate students, and staff are recommended to have been  vaccinated for COVID-19, which includes the completion of the required doses and all recent boosters and the waiting period for full vaccine efficacy (usually two weeks). CYY reserves the right to require masks if local school protocols change.

  • Campers who qualify for the COVID-19 vaccination (e.g., those 5 and older) are strongly encouraged, but not required, to be vaccinated for COVID-19, including the completion of the required doses and boosters and the waiting period for vaccine efficacy (usually two weeks)

  • All volunteer, student, and compensated staff over the age of 18 will have passed a criminal background check and a reference check.

  • Staff, age 17 and younger, will have provided 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 and role at camp. 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 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.

  • 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 professional level staff member will assist. Staff members do not not enter the bathroom with campers. Only campers with toileting protocols will be assisted by two “Red Shirt” professional staff members at a time for camper safety.

  • 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 or another staff professional.

  • Only re-approved individuals, with photo ID, may pick up a child from camp.

  • CYY only communicates about the child with parents/legal guardians, no matter who is responsible for pick-up or drop- off.


Parents at Camp

Should parents be on the facility property for any reason, such as 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, and may break confidentiality of other children’s educational or medical needs. Because all camp participants wear our branded t-shirt, adults without a camp identifiable t-shirt on are looked at as “strangers on the property” and will be escorted to our camp office. 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 on the website and daily  “My Day at Camp” forms.

Snack and Lunch Times 
Campers will eat their lunch and snack in their assigned team classroom or in an assigned lunch area. Handwashing will be enforced and all eating surfaces will be wiped down prior to eating snacks and lunch, as well as after. 


Food Safety & Dietary Restrictions
Camp Yakety Yak is a NUT FREE environment. Please do not send any lunch or snack items with nuts, or nut butter, including peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We have also had campers and staff allergic to sunflower oil and so we do not allow sunflower butter, so please do not send that as well. We have staff at every lunch area who are monitoring this. If an item contains nuts, the staff will discard or repack the item, instruct the child to wash his/her hands, give them a healthy snack and place a reminder card in the child's lunch box. We have not had to administer an epi-pen yet!

In the case that a parent forgets to pack a water bottle, lunch or snacks for their child, the camp office will try to make contact. We have limited emergency lunches that can be shared with children, given they have no allergy restrictions, these are typically “Turkey Lunchables” (the kind without candy/cookies) and fruit, pretzels, or goldfish. 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. When the parent returns with lunch, he/she will be directed  to the camp office area for staff to distribute the items to the camper as soon as possible.

Protection of Participant Privacy:
CYY stores and transmits 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 shredded at the end of the summer and digital records are kept for 5 years. Educational information and supporting documents that you provide are reviewed by qualified staff on a need to know basis only. 


Medical Release
Campers participate in many kinds of indoor and outdoor activities at Camp Yakety Yak to support social interaction skills. These activities are chosen to mimic the skills needed for success at school and adult supervision will be provided. Parents are expected to inform Camp Yakety Yak if your child has any physical limitations or restrictions that would impact his/her participation in the full range of camp activities.

Camp Yakety Yak provides no health insurance or medical coverage and parents/guardians will have the responsibility for payment of any medical treatment that may be required while your child is participating in Camp Yakety Yak.

Camp Yakety Yak, or its representatives, will procure any and all necessary medical help for your child while he/she is under the supervision of Camp Yakety Yak and Camp Yakety Yak, or its representatives, will permit any competent medical person to take all reasonable measures to treat any injury or sickness that your child may suffer. Campers may receive basic first aid for minor injuries (such as a band-aid, ice pack, etc.).


Payment of Camp Tuition, Cancellation & Transfer of Tuition Policies

Registration Fees
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: Camp Yakety Yak, PO Box 161, West Linn, OR 97068, or credit or/debit card, or bank withdrawal on their camper’s online account. A fee of $20 will be assessed for any returned checks.

CYY's Cancellation Policy -UPDATED FOR 2024!

Camp Yakety Yak has been fortunate to fill all available camp spots before camp begins over the past few years. Our flexible cancellation policy has resulted in some last minute cancellations which left some camper spots unfilled, as the majority of our waitlisted camper’s families had made other commitments by the time they were notified that a spot had opened. Due to this we have had to update our cancellation policy. Please be aware of the following cancellation policies and dates: 

  • Deposits are refundable up to May 1st, there is an extension to June 1st for families that have submitted a scholarship application and are waiting to hear if they have been awarded a scholarship. 

  • Full tuition is due by June 1st with an exception for special arrangements made with Heather Eason, the Camp DIrector, or Don Kunstel, our Director of Operations, for an alternative payment plan.

  • For payments not received by June 1st, we are no longer able to hold the spot and it will be offered to the next camper on the waitlist.

  • Cancellations June 1st-10th, 50% refund on tuition. Weekly deposits are not refunded.

  • For cancellations after June 10th there will be no refund (exceptions for extenuating circumstances, please contact us at

  • Two weeks prior to the first day of the child’s registered camp session, families are able to transfer their camp payments to a different session, if there is space available.

  • Campers will not be able to attend camp if there is any outstanding balance.


A “Good Fit” Refund:
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. Camp Yakety Yak will provide families with daily feedback on how their child is participating in the program.

Our “Good Fit” policy allows the camp professionals to give opportunities to campers that may not thrive in the school setting, or have not been successful at traditional camps. If the professional team accepts the registration on a trial basis, you will be notified at the time of registration, and once the camper is on site, if the team decides that we cannot provide the support that your child needs, we will refund future weeks in full, and the balance of the current week, minus the security deposit. 

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.

Many 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 share weekly digital photo albums, or slideshows, that are distributed to fellow camperfamilies for the weeks that they are enrolled.


No personal information is associated with any photographs without Camp and parent consent and 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, they may contact the Camp Director via email at any time. We are happy to discuss removal of photos/videos from the website or other media.

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 photos/videos. 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.  The only exception for this is for children who are in the foster care system who may not be able to be in pictures/videos for safety reasons.


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 

Thank you for your understanding of these policies. Please email our office with any questions or concerns you may have at



What is Camp Yakety Yak
What Does CYY NOT Provide
Who Serves My Child
Things to Consider
Behavior Policy
Health & Safety Policies
Payment & Cancellation
Photo Release
Mandatory Reporter
bottom of page