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Our Service Limitations, Behavioral Policies

Yak Apprentice Program

For young adults with special needs, ages 16-21


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 the Yak Apprentice Coordinator you will receive an email letting you know the status of your application.


Teaching Social Skills for the World of Work 

General Description of Program


The Yak Apprenticeship Program is a four-week intensive work experience program. The program is a unique opportunity for young adults to focus on "soft skills" necessary for success in a job as well as everyday life, with "point of performance" job readiness instruction supervised by professionals.


While in the program, apprentices will receive direct instruction from masters-degree level professionals on appropriate social communication at work,  self-advocacy, and appropriate emotional regulation, when faced with more challenging workplace situations. Since the goal is building independence for work, dedicated one-to-one assistants are not provided. 


Each apprentice will have the opportunity to learn skills in an area that interests them. With support, Yak Apprentices will assist as much as possible in day-to-day operations of camp and learn job skills necessary to be a contributing employee and co-worker. Daily staff meetings along with mid and final reviews with a supervisor.

Yak Apprenticeship
Dates, Hours & Tuition

Dates for 4-Week Apprenticeship:

July 10-August 4, 2023, Monday-Friday


Hours: 10:00am - 3:00pm

Apprentices have two 15-minute breaks and a

30-minute lunch every day

Pre-Camp Meeting:

Orientation for parents and Yak Apprentices 

On Zoom/Google Meet 

Date: Coming Soon

Tuition: $1600

Yak Apprentices receive approximately 100 hours of individualized workplace instruction!

Yak Apprenticeship
Eligibility Criteria

Ages: 16-22


Yak Apprentices must have the following skills in order to meaningfully participate in the Yak Apprenticeship Program:

  • Pass a criminal background check (18 and over) and/or reference check to ensure the individual’s ability to interact safely and respectfully in our setting;

  • Follows rules, compliant to authority figures, overall;

  • Can stay calm and safe when faced with stressful situations;

  • Trustworthy, honest;

  • Kind-hearted, helpful nature;

  • Enjoy being around children

The Registration fee applies to the participant's total tuition, but is non-refundable.

Apprenticeship Department Options:

We spend the first week of the program learning about our program participants, about their interests and goals, and then exploring the various apprenticeship options. We have many areas to match our apprentices to and they are supported as much as they need with a gradual release model used to help them learn to be independent in their job. This may look different for every camper as we take their needs and comfort level into account. Here is a list of some of the apprentice jobs that we have had in the past: 
  • "Yak Shack" Snack Store worker
  • Office Helper
  • Housekeeping 
  • Class Assistant
  • Recess Activity Leader
  • Photographer
  • Mail Delivery
  • Tech Assistant
  • Supply Room Assistant

Goals and

Learning Outcomes

Yak Apprenticeship

Course Staff

Development of "soft skills" including executive functioning and social communication skills are at the heart of the Yak Apprenticeship program.  We know that 4-weeks will not “fix” deficits in these areas, but we expect to “move the needle” toward greater independence in these skills:

  • Communication

  • Leadership

  • Critical thinking

  • Listening

  • Adaptability

  • Organization

  • Teamwork

  • Punctuality

Yak Apprenticeship

Course Components

Yak Apprentice Online Training

Each Apprentice will complete a brief training about policies and procedures at camp, as well as information specific to each apprenticeship.

Yak Apprentice Pre-Camp Online Meetings

Orientation: date coming soon!

Yak Apprentice Skills & Interest Survey

Each Apprentice will complete a survey to gather information about their interests, skills and challenges to assist camp directors in placing apprentices in the right department and provide appropriate support. 


4-Week Full Time Apprenticeship

Apprentices attend from 10:00am-3:00pm, Monday-Friday, for four consecutive weeks. 


Mid & Final Reviews with Supervisors

Each Apprentice will have mid and final reviews with their supervisors to identify strengths and areas for growth. Each Apprentice will have 2 goals they are working on. One goal will relate to the departmental knowledge/skills they are developing and the other goal will relate to a more general job. Apprentices complete self-ratings on their goals. Each week progress toward each goal will be reviewed with the apprentice based on feedback from the Department Supervisor and other staff. A final review will be held at the end of the Yak Apprentice’s service with the Camp Coach & Director of Special Programs using a rating scale (copy will be provided).


Camp Coach

Camp Coaches are college students with specific training and interest in clinical or educational fields who provide necessary scaffolding for apprentices to successfully meet expectations for the job.


Department Supervisors

The Department Supervisor delegates tasks and provides feedback to the apprentice. Apprentices help the Department Supervisor to complete duties that keep the camp functioning efficiently; such as classroom materials preparation, setting up or cleaning different camp spaces, or helping children participate in camp activities.



Yak Apprentice Coordinator

The Yak Apprentice Coordinator is a masters-level professional who works with a Yak Apprentice Speech-Language Pathologist to deliver job-related social skill instruction in large groups or in one to one meetings with an apprentice. Additionally, the YA Supervisors are in charge of coordinating department placements, training and supervising Camp Coaches and Apprentices. The YA Coordinators call and run staff meetings, arrange special programming each week, and conduct mid-term and final reviews.


Directors provide general supervisory support to Yak Apprentices, Camp Coaches and Department Supervisors and ensure that camp resources (i.e., staff and supplies) are used appropriately to support apprentices.

Parent Participation

and Support

To help staff plan for the individual goals, strengths and needs of apprentices, parents complete an online questionnaire when registering for camp.  Parents provide transportation, and lunch/snack.

Yak Apprenticeship Levels 

Ideally, Apprentices move through levels of independence as the individual builds job readiness skills and confidence in many forms of social interaction over time.  Some apprentices will be able to demonstrate this growth in one summer's 4-week sequence or over consecutive summers. Camp Yakety Yak staff provide necessary supports so apprentices have a successful learning experience!


Stage 1: Novice Level (Requires 75% or more supervision)

The Novice or beginner has no experience in the situations in which they are expected to perform. The Novice lacks confidence to demonstrate safe practice and requires continual verbal and physical cues. Practice is within a prolonged time period and he/she is unable to use discretionary judgment. Knowledge is developing and Novices are not expected to be proficient in asking for help, rather they receive maximum (consistent) support from supervisors in terms of oral and written directions and other scaffolding.


Stage 2: Advanced Beginner to Competent (75-50% supervision)

Because it can be difficult to delineate exact levels of competence, Stage 2 is a wide range of accuracy and developing independence.  Apprentices at the Advanced Beginner to Competent stage demonstrate acceptable performance because the apprentice has had prior experience in actual situations. He/she is efficient and skillful in parts of the departmental duties, requiring frequent to occasional supportive cues/reminders. May/may not be within a delayed time period. Apprentices are expected to know when and how to ask for assistance at this stage, instead of waiting for a supervisor check-in.


Stage 3: Proficient (25-50% supervision)

Apprentices at the Proficient stage has learned from experience what typical events to expect, what work needs to be completed and can make plans to respond to these events. The apprentice begins to demonstrate decision making and problem solving skills and so receives few supportive cues/reminders. Apprentices at the Proficient stage use systems that have been developed to assist them independently.

As the saying goes,

"Hard" Skills Get You Hired, a Lack of "Soft" Skills Can Get You Fired!

Let Camp Yakety Yak help your young adult develop the "soft skills" that employers expect!


Employee soft skills include a person’s attitude to their job, their work ethic, how they interact with others, how they solve problems and how well they resolve conflict. Simple things like making eye contact, expressing empathy, exhibiting emotional intelligence and showing old-fashioned courtesy as well as offering a firm handshake and taking time to communicate face to face. The problem in the world of work now is that these skills, previously learned as a natural part of growing up, are getting lost as more and more communication happens via the more impersonal text, email, and social media.​


Soft Skills infographic.png

We LOVE Camp Yakety Yak!  And we're so thrilled about the launch of the
Yak Apprenticeship program! 

While it goes without saying that we LOVE Camp Yakety Yak, we couldn't be more thrilled about the launch of the Yak Apprenticeship program! 

My boys have attended CYY every summer since 2014. My oldest son, who is neurotypical, has volunteered each year as a high school camp counselor. He's worked with campers in a group setting and has also worked as a one-on-one with young campers who require additional supports. 
This year, my oldest will leave for college. Camp Yakety Yak has played a large part in helping to equip him with many of the skills that he'll need to be happy and successful in the next chapter of his life and beyond. Not only has he learned the value of compassion, acceptance, and kindness to all no matter their ability, but he's learned how to work and collaborate well with a large group of people who hold the same vision in order to be successful. He has learned about the importance of time management, self-discipline, team-work, and how effective, respectful communication plays an important role in any job or position that he'll ever hold. His experiences at CYY have helped to shape him into an incredible young man who cares deeply about the world around him, and who takes seriously the power that he has to create a positive impact. 
My youngest son, who is neurodiverse, started with Camp Yakety Yak 6 summers ago as a camper. He graduated to a JCC (Junior Camp Counselor) 3 years ago, and last year was invited to participate in the Yak Apprenticeship pilot program. The basis behind this program is pure genius, and so very needed for our neurodiverse youth! Much like my oldest son experienced as a camp counselor, these work apprentice teens have a unique opportunity to get to experience and learn about the working world in a safe, respectful, supportive environment. This phenomenal program helps them to recognize and to call on their strengths and abilities in order to reveal to them their capabilities. The guidance and support of highly trained staff who enable them to build on each success, ultimately building confidence that lasts a lifetime, is without parallel. 
Last summer, I watched proudly as my son pushed beyond his own perceived limits within the safety net of the team. He worked hard, had a blast, made some new friends, gained incredible skills, and in the end was able to earn time at our local archery range, as well as a brand new bow that he'd been wanting- something that I chose to incentivize him with for his hard work and dedication.
Only a few years ago, Camp Yakety Yak was a hidden gem in a small neighborhood. I have had the great honor of watching it grow quickly in attendance, staff, and in reputation, due in large part to the tremendous impact that it's had on the families whose lives it's touched, and in their sharing of their own experiences of CYY with our greater community. Despite its rapid growth, it has not suffered in quality. In fact, CYY has only continued to thrive and to improve on its existing programs, while continuously introducing new ones. We are so incredibly fortunate to have a program such as this available to our young people year after year, and we truly can't imagine a summer without Camp Yakety Yak!"                           

                                                                                                           - Kristen Rasmussen, Parent of a Yak Apprentice

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