Who attends camp?
All of our campers have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Campers must be current residents of North Carolina. Campers range in age from four years old to adult, and each week of camp is designated for a particular age group. Camp Royall makes every effort to serve all people with autism, regardless of their level of need.
Who works at camp?
Our staff is typically composed of college students from all over the country and even from other countries! Most of our staff members are pursuing a degree in education or psychology, but many are majoring in fields not related to ASD. We run extensive criminal background checks on all of our staff.
What kind of training is provided for camp staff?
We conduct a weeklong training session for all new staff members prior to the start of camp. This training will include seminars on ASD and our approaches to supporting those who are affected, as well as opportunities to observe and interact with individuals with autism each day. These individuals will be paired with a trainer who will model and teach proper methods for interacting with training campers.
What level of supervision are you able to provide?
Our counselors are assigned one or two campers each week. This allows our staff to give individualized, constant attention. In addition, there are always extra staff members available to assist counselors when needed.
How are applicants selected?
You must be a resident of NC with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder to apply for camp. Applicants are selected to attend overnight camp using a random lottery selection. Campers who have never attended Camp Royall before are given the highest priority, camper who did not attend camp the prior summer are then allotted camp slots. The remaining slots are filled with campers who attended the prior summer, again using a random lottery for order of selection.
Where is Camp Royall located?
Camp Royall is in Moncure, just outside of Pittsboro, about 15 miles south of Chapel Hill.
Do you serve campers who are not potty-trained, are nonverbal or have challenging behaviors?
Yes! Your camper will receive 1:1 supervision from a highly trained staff member. We do not turn any campers away.
Can you cater to campers with special diets?
Yes. The menu for the week will be emailed to you the week before your camper attends. It may be necessary for families to send certain food items to supplement what the camp is providing. You will check in food items with our kitchen staff on Sunday. The kitchen staff will be happy to prepare whatever special food items your camper needs.
How are medications handled?
You will check in all medications (including vitamins and supplements) with our nurses and camp staff on Sunday during registration. We have two staff members each week whose sole responsibility is to administer medications. Please explain fully to our medical staff how your camper usually takes their medications, for example if they take it in a specific juice, candy bar, spoon or cup. Please bring those items with you! A nurse is on call throughout each session, and checks in each day to monitor any health concerns or first aid needs.
Can we keep in touch with our camper?
Your camper’s counselor (and your camper if appropriate) can call you every night if you would like. You are also more than welcome to keep in close contact with the Camp Directors as well to check in on your camper’s week. Each night, your camper’s counselor will write a detailed daily report, at the end of the week you will receive 4 daily notes to take home with a lot of information about your camper’s week at camp. Also you can log in to our website each night to view pictures from the day at camp, so you may be able to catch a glimpse of what your camper has been up to!
What happens at night time?
3 staff members are on night duty each night in each cabin, with additional staff members on call. You will have a chance to talk with them when you arrive on Sunday. These staff members do not work during the day and are expected to be as awake and alert as needed. They sleep in the cabins with the campers, strategically placed at the cabin exits. They are there to assist with toileting, accidents, to stay awake or sleep with campers who have a hard time settling, among other things!
What if my camper is homesick or really doesn’t like camp?
This doesn’t often happen; no camper has ever been sent home due to homesickness. Our campers are kept very busy all day every day with many favorable activities, and often sleep better at camp than they would ever do at home. Sometimes campers do get upset after a long day and of course miss being at home, they are welcome to talk to you on the phone if it is beneficial for them. We also use a lot of structure to explain to our campers how long they are at camp for and when they will be going home, this really helps to reduce anxiety.
But, I’m not ready to send my camper overnight!
Coming to camp is much harder for the parents than it is for the campers. Camp is a place with no expectations, no routines, no mom and dad; our campers are able to step out on their own and try new things and grow in independence and confidence. We serve campers as young as 4 years old that have never slept away from their parents who do amazingly well. Although the initial separation can be hard, the benefit for the camper and the whole family of a week at camp is well worth it.
Coming to Family Fun Days/Family Camping weekends are a great way to get a better feel for camp and to see how your camper would enjoy summer camp. There is also the option to try a Mini Camp weekend which is only 2 nights instead of 5. And of course, there is always the Day Camp option as well.
My camper came last year; there is no way they will get in again this year!
We have a lottery system because more people apply each year than we have space for. If your camper has never been to Camp Royall before they will be high priority. If your camper did not attend Camp Royall last summer they will be medium priority, and if they attended last summer they will be low priority. Each priority category is randomly assigned a number (regardless of age of camper), for example, your camper could be high priority number 1 or high priority number 145, or low priority number 4 or low priority number 54. We assign spots at camp by starting with high priority number 1 and going down the list of campers until all the weeks are full.
If your camper attended Camp Royall last summer, it is very likely that they will be placed on the waiting list, though a fair number of low priority campers do get in off of the lottery each year. Also a number of campers cancel for many different reasons leading up to camp as well, some as early as March, others may cancel the week before attending. If you are willing to be on the waiting list and get all the necessary forms completed there is a good chance that your camper could be called to fill a spot. We encourage families to apply every year, there are some campers who have been lucky and attended for 3, 4 or 7 summers in a row because they are willing to do the paperwork and wait for an opening.
I am really interested, but I just can’t afford it!
Our goal is that money should never get in the way of anyone attending Camp Royall. Our Development team in our Raleigh office works very hard all year raising funds for camp scholarships. We have a scholarship application that we would be happy for you to fill out. There are also a lot of community resources who have been very generous to our families that we could put you in touch with. We can also offer extended payment plans, even though your camper might attend camp in June, you are welcome to keep making payments until September.