Impact Report, Mission, Model & Evaluation
...additional past years available upon request.
Camp Shriver Mission
Since 2006, Camp Shriver at the University of Massachusetts Boston has welcomed 100-140 children each year, half with and half without intellectual and developmental disabilities, ages 8-12, from low-income families in the Boston area to free and inclusive summer and school-year programming. A national model for inclusive recreational programming, Camp Shriver’s mission is to improve the social, emotional, and physical well-being of children of all abilities, by providing an inclusive community of friendship and fun. At Camp Shriver, children with and without disabilities build social skills and positive social relationships by learning and playing together.
Camp Shriver Model
Camp Shriver, a no-cost fully inclusive camp, takes place over four weeks in July on the UMass Amherst Mt. Ida campus, giving campers access to University athletic facilities, including outdoor tennis and basketball courts, a stadium with turf field for soccer, football and lacrosse, a climate controlled indoor basketball facility, theater hall, and classroom space for creative activities. Camp Shriver is based on over 40 years of CSDE research and evaluation and has a few unique features to ensure full participation and promote social connections:
Commitment to Inclusion: To demonstrate a commitment to serving children with and without disabilities in an inclusive environment, 50% of campers have an intellectual or developmental disability.
Commitment to Full Participation: To promote participation, all activities (swimming, soccer, basketball, kickball, crafts and more) are developed following the Principles of Universal Design. When needed, individual accommodations are made to allow participants to engage in the same activities, such as a multi-sensory approach to teaching how to throw a ball: verbally explain what is expected, visually demonstrate how to throw, let campers touch the ball being used so that they understand the ball’s texture and weight. Choices are offered between variations of activities (which line to shoot free throws from) and between different equipment (whether to throw a basketball, a playground ball or a balloon).
Commitment to Social Development: To foster social connections and meaningful social interactions be-tween campers, staff promote a culture of social responsibility by modeling and encouraging positive social behaviors among campers during structured and unstructured time. Social skills such as cheering for your teammates, inviting others to play with you and joining in groups that are already playing are the building blocks of friendships and positive peer relationships.
Commitment to Staff Support: To ensure that staff have the requisite skills and knowledge to promote inclusion, all staff participate in two days of intensive training focusing on best practices in the field of inclusive recreation. An inclusion coordinator supports all camper and staff needs. Staff have defined roles: coaches plan and direct inclusive activities and counselors model inclusion on the camper teams they lead. In a low 4:1 camper-to-staff ratio, coaches and counselors focus on each child’s individual skills and abilities (not a specific disability label).
Commitment to Evaluation: To continuously improve inclusive programming so that its positive benefits can be maximized each year, Camp Shriver conducts a rigorous, annual evaluation, involving parent surveys, counselor observations of campers and one-on-one interviews with campers.
Additionally, Camp Shriver offers free and reliable transportation, as many parents work or are unable to provide/afford transportation on their own; healthy and nutritious breakfast and lunch, to encourage campers to eat healthy and be ready for physical activity all day; and on-campus visits from organizations that promote art, dance and additional team sports—such as lacrosse—to expose campers to the many opportunities that their own community offers.
Camp Shriver Evaluation
Camp Shriver at UMass Boston undergoes a rigorous evaluation to document the successes and challenges of its implementation. Each year CSDE has conducted an the evaluation of the Camp and developed standard forms and assessment instruments for use at the UMass Boston camp and other Camp Shrivers across the country. Camp Shriver's Impact Reports (available to download at the top of the page) demonstrate significant outcomes in improving social and motor skills and making new friends across disability status.
To stay in touch with Camp Shriver, sign up for the Camp Shriver seasonable newsletter here.
Center for Social Development and Education
10th Floor, Healey Library,
100 Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125 USA