Summer Camps Must Reasonably Accommodate Children With Disabilities
Columbia, SC - With summer approaching, parents and camps alike are making plans for terrific, fun opportunities for young campers to learn new skills and grow in their confidence and abilities. The United States Attorney’s Office has taken the opportunity to increase the understanding of camp organizers and parents about the law that pertains to camps which ensures that all children are welcome, especially those with disabilities. To help ensure that children with disabilities are allowed the opportunity to attend summer camp, the U.S. Attorney’s Office recently sent the attached flyer to hundreds of summer camps located within the District of South Carolina reminding them of their responsibilities and obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
Under the ADA, summer camps, both private and those run by municipalities, must make reasonable modification to enable campers with disabilities to participate fully in all camp programs and activities. This generally means that children with disabilities are entitled to attend any camp or activity that non-disabled children attend, that camps must evaluate each child on an individual basis, and that camps must train their staff in the requirements of the ADA. Camps are obligated to pay for the cost of any reasonable modifications necessary for disabled children to participate in camp activities, and parents should not be charged any additional fee beyond standard camp enrollment costs.
“Summer camps – whether in a tent or a gym - present tremendous growth opportunities for our children. Camp is not only fun, but the camp experience offers the camper the opportunity to try new things, develop some independence, and gain self-confidence in the process,” said U.S. Attorney Drake. “All of our kids should have access to summer camps and in fact the law requires camps to provide equal opportunities to disabled children whose needs can be reasonably accommodated.”