Summer Camp (for youth and adults)

Rising Treetop at Oakhurst’s overnight respite, after school respite and summer camp services have been significantly impacted of the coronavirus (COVID-19).


Rising Treetops’ plan since January has been to let families know by May 1 whether we could open our 2021 Summer Camp. We have now finalized our modified summer camp plans as of March 30, 2021, and do not need to wait any longer to let you know our final decisions. What follows is our decision on the best way to safely proceed with holding our 2021 Summer Camp program:


1)    As of March 30, 2021, we have confirmed the hiring of the counselors, nursing staff and support staff to move forward with a smaller modified summer camp. At these staffing levels, and with a smaller number of campers to ensure a safer environment during the pandemic, we will be running the summer camp at a level of approximately 24 campers per session. If we are able to secure hiring additional American staff and international staff able to obtain summer employment visas, we will know by mid-May, and may then offer some of our campers on wait lists to attend a session.


2)    Unfortunately, due to safety concerns for our campers and staff, we will not be holding a day camp in summer 2021 and will provide only overnight camp services this summer.


3)    As of June 21, 2021, the start of the first summer camp session, we will require all campers/clients to be COVID vaccinated, and be at least 14 days past their shot(s) in order to be served in any of our services going forward.


4)    We are strongly encouraging all summer staff (all our current staff will be fully vaccinated by April 22) to obtain vaccinations by June 1, but for the summer staff unable to do so they will be assisted to get vaccination appointments immediately upon hire, will quarantine at our camp for 14 days upon arrival, and will need a negative COVID test at the end of their quarantine to continue their summer employment. During the staff quarantine period, unvaccinated staff will be safely separated from other staff, with strict rules in place all summer about leaving the camp.


5)    In order to make it easier and more flexible for families and to provide more safety to our staff and campers, we have decided for 2021 we will not run our summer camp with the usual sessions structured by ages and disability diagnoses with varied session lengths, and instead we will be holding 5 identical sessions of 13 days (12 nights) each. In each of these sessions, all ages and all disabilities will be considered for placement, with the requirement of all campers be vaccinated, which will limit campers now to ages 12 and older. We will bunk the campers each session by under 18 year olds and by 18 and older adult age groupings (and of course will always separate all campers by gender). It may be possible we cannot accommodate 12 to 17 year olds in every session if there are not enough vaccinated campers at these ages to be able to fill a cabin for each session. See our website Calendar for specific dates for the newly modified 2021 Summer Camp schedule.


6)    The campers and counselors in each of our six cabins will travel to and participate in activities and meals together, keeping separated from other cabins to ensure limited exposure if for any reason we end up with a COVID positive case at the camp. This model of cabin “bubbling” is how most U.S. camps are handling daily activities and meals in summer 2021.


7)    We are building in now 2-3 full days in between sessions (compared to our past 1 ½ days between sessions) to allow for a more thorough cleaning of the entire camp.


8)    We will provide sliding scale scholarships to all who apply and are eligible, which may allow those who usually attend our 5-day autism sessions to consider a 13-day session instead (previous summers we did not have scholarships available in our smaller autism sessions, and now we do). Most of our New York State OPWDD-funded clients should have approved respite hours available for use this summer for at least one full 13-day session.


We believe this model, while not necessarily accessible or convenient to all who seek our summer services, will provide most families with options to make up for the loss of our usual summer sessions structure. For those who have already applied for our 2021 Summer camp and/or had their sessions confirmed, we are  calling you to confirm which of the new modified camp sessions you may be interested in registering for instead.


Please contact us at 732-531-0215 or for more information. See the Registration section of our website for our downloadable application and other camp registration documents. Please know we have extended the deadline for summer camp applications from March 31 to April 30, 2021.


Please know that the safety and health of our clients, campers and staff is always the highest priority at Rising Treetops.  We will continue to work closely with our local public health department and our partners at New York’s Office of People with Developmental Disabilities and New Jersey’s Department of Human Services to maintain safe and effective protocols to resume our vital services at Rising Treetops.



What follows is our pre-pandemic summer camp description (not in effect in summer 2020 or summer 2021):


Summer camp at Rising Treetops at Oakhurst is for children and adults ages 8 and up (we have separate sessions for children, young adults and adults).


Children and adults attending summer camp sessions must have a basic level of expressive communication and be able to reside in communal living environments with others.


Campers stay in barrier-free cabins with age appropriate groups. Care and supervision is provided 24/7 from a caring and trained staff that live on site. Clients will have access to a full program of therapeutic recreational activities.


Cabins can fill quickly.  After January 15, call either of our of our offices and we’ll email or mail you an application or go to the Registration section of this website to download an application for services.  Summer camp sessions vary in length, ages and population.  See our Calendar for details.


The full fee per session may be adjusted according to family size and income through a limited scholarship program.  For individuals who still live with a family caregiver and qualify for state-supported respite services, a portion of fees may be covered by state funding.  Please contact our New Jersey office at 732-531-0215 for more information on fees and scholarships.


Some clients get to and from Rising Treetops through their families, and others receive central site transportation from Rising Treetops at Oakhurst from New York City in lift-equipped vehicles.