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Quest Camp combines summer camp with therapy for children with social, emotional challenges

Parents of children with emotional and social challenges may hesitate when considering sending kids off to summer camp, or may forgo the idea altogether. Typical summer camp curriculum does not address their children’s unique needs, and special needs camps may not be an appropriate fit.

This summer, Quest Camp, a unique therapeutic day camp program, will return to Pittsburgh through a continued collaboration with Squirrel Hill Psychological Services (SHPS), a division of JF&CS.  Quest is designed for children ages 6 – 18 with mild to moderate emotional or social challenges and/or diagnoses including attention deficit disorder, chronic anxiety, chronic depression and high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome.

SHPS and Quest Therapeutic Camps partnered to bring the summer camp program to the Pittsburgh area for the first time in the summer of 2012.  The original Quest camp was started in San Francisco in 1989 by child psychologist Dr. Robert Field, who has roots in the Pittsburgh area.

“Quest Camp is a first-of-its-kind camp in Pittsburgh. The program is different from the typical summer camp experience; it is a therapeutic program designed to address children’s emotional and social needs and challenges while setting them up for future success throughout the school year, which typical summer camps are not equipped to do,” said Dr. Jordan Golin, director of SHPS. “Parents should consider Quest Camp as an intensive therapeutic intervention that will have an impact all year long, and progress can be continued throughout the school year with the Quest After-School Program.”

Quest Camp is designed to offer campers a highly-structured and therapeutic curriculum with the look and feel of a typical summer camp. Daytime activities include swimming, field trips, sports, drama, music and science, while following a cognitive-behavioral approach designed to teach skills and reinforce positive changes in behavior. The camp offers an opportunity for children to learn, grow and increase confidence within a day camp setting. Parents have reported significant improvement in areas that include self-esteem, cooperation, family relationships and conversational skills as well as overall improvement in social and emotional functioning.

Quest Camp will run June 24 – August 16, and will be held at Community Day School in Squirrel Hill. Campers and parents will have flexibility to start and end the program during any week of their choosing as long as they complete a minimum of three consecutive weeks out of the seven weeks. Group therapy may be reimbursed by health insurance providers, and the program is recognized by some school districts as an Extended School Year program (ESY). Participants also have the option of continued participation throughout the regular school year through the Quest After-School Program, a once-a-week after-school program designed to build on the gains made by campers during the summer.

For more information about the Quest Therapeutic Camp program, or to register for the Pittsburgh camp, visit Quest Therapeutic Camps online at www.questcamps.com or call 800-313-9733. To learn more about the work of Squirrel Hill Psychological Services, please visit www.squirrelhillpsych.org.