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Students and Young Adults

Summer Recreation, Sports and Camps

There are many sports, social and recreation opportunities available in the community for children and young adults with disabilities and their families. These are some of the programs available but there are many more that are not listed here. PACER does not endorse or specifically recommend any of these programs and all information is subject to change. Please contact individual sources for the most current information.

Updated: March 2019

PACER’s - EX.I.T.E. Camp (EXploring Interests in Technology and Engineering)

Registration is Open

  • A 5-Day Camp in August for middle school girls (6th-9th grades in the fall) with disabilities.
  • It's FREE, you just need transportation and a box lunch each day.
  • Camp runs each day from 9 AM to 4 PM at PACER Center in Bloomington.
  • Do amazing experiments, make friends that will last a lifetime, discover how science, technology, engineering and math can be cool and exciting.

Register Today!

Accessible Outdoor Spaces

  • Accessible Playgrounds
    Listing of accessible playgrounds which are accessible to children of all physical abilities
  • Department of Natural Resources: Accessible Outdoors
    Information about the Minnesota DNR and its services for people with disabilities. Their webpage will give you accessible places to go (e.g., state forests, parks, trails and wildlife management areas), things to do (e.g., accessible state parks trails, camping, fishing, and hunting) and what to know (e.g., accessible recreations organizations, MCV audio edition info, power driven mobility devices in DNR facilities, and special permits and licenses).
  • Explore Minnesota
    A searchable website for sports activities and travel in Minnesota. You can filter your responses to find accessible parks, campgrounds, trails across Minnesota
  • Saint David’s Adventure Program
    A community-based therapeutic recreation program for teens and young adults ages 11 and up with special needs. Through after-school and summer programming, participants experience new activities in their community in a safe and therapeutic setting.
  • Wilderness Inquiry
    Wilderness Inquiry is a nonprofit adventure travel organization. They are all about access, inclusion, and opportunity, creating opportunities for people with disabilities to more thoroughly experience nature. They operate in a manner that facilitates full participation by everyone, including people of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities.

Adaptive Recreation and Tools

  • Adapted Recreation and Learning Exchange (AR & LE)
    Specialized recreation programs and services specifically designed for youth and adults with disabilities. Adaptive Recreation works cooperatively with the Learning Exchange and the Community Education Adults with Disabilities programs in the school districts of Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina, and Richfield
  • SHARE: Sports, Health, Activities, Recreation & Exercise resources
    It doesn’t matter how old you are or what your abilities are, you can find opportunities to improve your physical and emotional fitness and have fun at the same time!  Click here to find adaptive activities in your community.
  • Allina Adapted Recreation
  • Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Alpine Ski & Snowboarding
    Get one-to-one instruction in adaptive skiing techniques that accommodate people with a variety of physical disabilities and visual impairments. Downhill skiing and snowboarding lessons are available for beginner to advanced skiers and snowboarders. There is a 200 pound weight limit for all skiers and snowboarders due to equipment manufacturer specifications and ski instructor safety. Cost sharing and scholarships are available.  Locations are Afton Alps, Hyland Hills, Trollhaugen, and Welch Village.
  • Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Sports and Recreation
    Includes various activities and a wide variety of sports that encourage youth and adults with disabilities to lead active and healthy lifestyles.
  • Highland Park Friendship Club
    Providing an array of year-round activities designed to give teens and young adults with disabilities the chance to connect with friends with and without disabilities and create a typical social life.
  • Higley Metals LLC
    Builder of special needs bicycles for reduced prices.
  • Padraig’s Place
    A local non-profit organization and Buck Hill Ski and Snowboard School have come together to provide a fun experience for skiers and snowboarders with both physical and cognitive disabilities. Padraig’s Place provides an opportunity to experience winter fun in a safe and family friendly atmosphere.
  • Ramsey County Libraries
    • Shoreview Library | 651-724-6006 Option #3: Sensory-Friendly Saturdays, a different event each month in the summer designed to meet the needs of those who are on the autism spectrum or who have other sensory processing needs.
    • Roseville Library | 651-724-6001 Option #3: Sensory-Friendly Mornings: The library is open an hour early on Fridays in the summer for children who have special sensory needs and families who are looking for a smaller, more adaptive library experience.
  • River Valley Project Explore
    Community education classes for individuals from preschool to adult.
  • We Love to Play
    Adaptive sports program played at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Golden Valley, Minn. The program is dedicated to providing recreational sports opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities.

Camps

  • AuSM Summer Camps
    The Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) has developed camps specifically for children and youth ages 6-25 with autism. Day camps and residential camps are offered.
  • Brainerd kids
    Camps and Activities for all abilities
  • Bridge the Gap Camp
    Offers a wide range of academic and recreational programs for students entering grades 3-12 with autism spectrum disorder and related learning differences.
  • CampPage
    Minnesota summer camps for all people, including those with special needs such as asthma, cancer, learning disabilities, ADHD, physical disabilities, and others. Camps can be searched by camp type, activity, and state.
  • Camp Avanti – St. Croix
    Provides therapeutic rustic camp setting for children 6-15 with learning disabilities and or sensory challenges.
  • Camp Connections – West Metro Learning Connections
    A unique summer day camp offering social skills programming combined with goal-directed therapeutic recreation activities for children and youth ages 4-16 with Asperger’s disorder, high functioning autism, and other social, emotional, and behavioral needs. Each week includes fun, theme-centered activities, outings, and learning experiences.
  • Camp Oasis
    Established by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, this co-ed residential summer camp provides children with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis with a safe and supportive camp community.
  • Camp Odayin
    Provides fun, safe, and supportive camp experiences and community building opportunities for young people  with heart disease. Residential, day, and family camps available.
  • Camp Oz
    For children and youth ages 9-17 with epilepsy. Combines a traditional camp experience with the security of 24/7 medical staff. Siblings and friends who don’t have epilepsy are also welcome to attend.
  • Camp of Champs
    Offers customized camp programs to children with special needs, such as ADHD, learning disabilities, behavioral concerns, mental health needs, autism spectrum disorder, and more.
  • Camp Superkids
    A six-day residential camp for children with asthma to learn how to better manage their symptoms. Intended for children ages 7-15 with moderate to severe asthma.
  • MICC Program
    Designed for young adults with autism spectrum disorder, ADD/ADHD, and other learning differences. Students will have the opportunity to experience real world scenarios, like living with roommates, working, and engaging in community life with new friends.
  • Minnesota Zoo-AuSM
    A partnership between the Minnesota Zoo and Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) offers four fun-filled summer camps for youth with autism.
  • One Heartland Camps
    Offers life-changing camp experiences for youth facing social isolation, intolerance, or serious health challenges.
  • PACER Center EX.I.T.E. Camp
    Offers opportunities for girls with disabilities in middle school (grades 6-9) to explore, create, invent, and even get messy with the science and technology of today.
  • True Friends
    True Friends (formerly Camp Courage, Camp Friendship, and Camp Eden Wood) provides camp and respite experiences to children and adults with a variety of disabilities, along with their family and friends. Children with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, and medical needs will have opportunities to develop an appreciation of nature, live cooperatively with others, share in the responsibilities of group living, develop new leisure interests, experience traditional camp activities, and have fun!
  • WMLC Camp Connections
    A day camp for children with autism and related conditions that offers social skills programming with goal-directed therapeutic recreation activities for children ages four and up.

Community Recreation Centers

  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation
    All Summer Youth Programs are ADA accessible. Upon registration if need an accommodation let park know so they’re able to provide additional support as needed/appropriate.
  • Bloomington, MN
    Government summer youth programs. All programs open to inclusions.
  • St. Paul Jewish Community Center
    Inclusive community providing activities and relationship building
  • St. Paul Parks
    A comprehensive recreational program for Saint Paul residents of all ages who are mentally and/or physically disabled. In addition to specialized activities, it provides opportunities for people with disabilities to become integrated into programs that are available to the majority of the public. The program strives to provide its participants with skills needed to successfully participate in community-based recreation programs.
  • St. Louis Park Jewish Community Center
    A place where all individuals, families, and communities come together for child care, fitness, recreation, and socialization in a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment designed to provide everyone with a sense of belonging. They provide full inclusive opportunities for children, teens, and adults through various programs, camps, and sports programs.
  • YMCA
    Youth activities

Horseback Riding

  • Courage Riders
    A therapeutic, recreational horseback riding program for children with physical disabilities and sensory impairments. They offer riding lessons to children ages 5-18 from May through September. 1460 Curve Crest Boulevard · Stillwater, MN 55082
  • Forget-Me-Not Foundation
    Provides list of therapeutic horseback riding opportunities for people with disabilities.
  • Hold Your Horses
    A professional therapy team and trained equine partners provide opportunities for skill development both on and off the horse. Individuals with physical, cognitive, or sensory impairments can benefit from the engaging treatment strategy of hippotherapy or equine facilitated psychotherapy.
  • Majestic Hills Ranch
    Therapeutic horseback riding program for children and young adults with special needs as well as military veterans. The ranch, located in Lakeville, Minn., has a fenced-in outdoor riding arena with wheelchair ramp, picnic area, gardens, and a small petting zoo. A second arena offers advanced programs teaching independent riding skills.
  • We Can Ride: Therapeutic Horseback Riding
    Seeking to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities or special needs through equine-assisted activities.
  • West Metro Horse Camp
    Year-round, fully inclusive working horse operation, and a division of True Love Arabians in Buffalo, Minn. Camp events include a parade of breeds and colors, demonstrations on safety, grooming, saddling of the horses, and many other learning experiences. Includes hands-on participation and plenty of riding.

Respite Services

  • Saint David’s Destination…Anywhere! Program
    An overnight respite experience for young adults ages 16 and up with developmental disabilities designed to provide respite for families and caregivers, and to help them make friends, become part of their community, and experience new things.

Social Connections

  • Best Buddies
    An organization that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Bridging Hearts
    Local non-profit online social network created to connect young adults with learning disabilities, ages 20-39. Several social and recreational activities are available to meet online friends.
  • Life Pages
    Website to help people find information about recreation and leisure activities, services, and advocacy. Life Pages offers information for Minnesotans of all ages and abilities who want to enrich their leisure lifestyle as well as their connections.
  • PACER Center Fun Times
    Volunteer-based social program that connects high school teens and young adults with and without disabilities. Events are held throughout the year and training and resources are available on how to start and organize a Fun Times group in your community.

Sports

  • American Association of Adapted Sports Programs, Inc. (AAASP)
    One of the nation’s most comprehensive school-based athletic programs for children and youth with physical disabilities in grades 1-12.
  • Disabled Sports USA
    Providing adaptive sports opportunities for people with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through more than 40 different sports. There are many chapters located throughout the United States.
  • Minnesota Special Hockey
    This program exists for the enrichment of the athlete with a developmental disability. In addition to physical hockey skills, the program emphasizes the development of desirable individual characteristics such as dependability, self-reliance, concentration, teamwork, willingness to share, and personal accountability. The game of hockey is used by Special Hockey to develop within each player the characteristics that will help the player to be more successful both inside and outside a hockey environment.
  • Minnesota State High School League
    Provides high school students with various disabilities the opportunity to participate in adapted bowling, soccer, floor hockey, and softball.
  • Miracle League of Minnesota
    The Miracle League is a charitable organization that provides children and youth ages 3-19 with disabilities an opportunity to play baseball as a team member in an organized league. The league also promotes the construction of special facilities that meet the unique needs of Miracle League players and their families.
  • National Sports Center for the Disabled
    A year-round national sports, camping, and recreation program based in Colorado that teaches a variety of winter and summer sports and activities to individuals with almost any physical, cognitive, emotional, or behavioral diagnosis. Participants are ages 6 to adult from across the country. Some programs are geared toward full family participation.
  • Special Olympics of Minnesota
    Special Olympics Minnesota (SOMN) trainings and competitions happen all year in locations across the state. They offer 17 Olympic-style sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
  • Special Olympics Project UNIFY
    Athletic opportunities for youth with and without intellectual disabilities to train and play together as teammates, creating communities of acceptance.
  • Sprockets
    A collaboration of community organizations, the City of Saint Paul, and Saint Paul Public Schools that provides after-school and summer program resources for kids and teens in Saint Paul.
  • U.S. EWHA Power Hockey
    Sports program that gives individuals who use power wheelchairs the opportunity to play competitive floor hockey.
  • U.S. Power Soccer
    Sports program that provides individuals who use power wheelchairs the opportunity to play competitive soccer.