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Camp Xcite season offers customized programs for special campers from Carmel Valley to RSF
Special needs doesn’t say it all. For families with hard-to- reach and hard-to-teach kids, Camp Xcite offers a delightfully tailored week-at-a-time approach for children with a variety of social anxieties and disorders. In addition to fun and games, the campers, boys and girls who range in age from 8 to 13, also learn about camaraderie and community service on a Monday through Friday schedule that might include a day of karate clinics, sailing, tide pool exploration and indoor rock climbing.
“Camp Xcite is a specialized summer camp for children who don’t fit into the typical summer camp experience with 30-plus kids,” said Stefan Hochfilzer, founder and president of the camp’s parent education organization Club Xcite. “We cater towards kids who need more personalized attention, maybe kids who get bullied at school, have low self- confidence, are socially challenged or are more hyperactive that a typical child,” said Hochfilzer about the Rancho Santa Fe-based program. “Summer camp is the biggest thing we’re moving toward right now,” said John Foletta, camp director, mentor and Club Xcite’s program director.
“The kids that we work with generally have it a little bit harder than the average kid,” he said. “They’re kids that don’t fit into a typical YMCA camp with one counselor for every 10 kids. “Our kids have learning differences, social introversion or behavioral issues, so all of our camps are 3:1 child to counselor ratio. Most of our counselors have backgrounds in education or psychology,” said Foletta, a UC Berkeley graduate as is Hochfilzer. Foletta said the mentor-counselors are diligent in helping the campers meet their demands towards impulsivity with a lot of fun activities and provide them with a normal summer camp experience that they might not otherwise have due to some of their limitations.
“A lot of people might think because of the youth of our mentors that they’re not quite as skilled as they really are. However, all of our mentors have, not just a pedigree, but great credentials for working with these types of individuals,” Folet- ta said. And about the program, he added, “It’s non-therapeutic, non-formulaic and everything’s meant to be natural.” Foletta said more than 90 percent of the campers have ADD or ADHD usually in addition to something else such as bipolar disorder. Some of the campers are foster children andothers come from single-parent households. He said the chil- dren run the gamut of the entire social spectrum.
Hochfilzer stated it this way about Camp Xcite: “It’s for anyone who enjoys a little bit more personalized attention. “We have a lot of typical kids at camp as well, but it’s a very small-group environment,” he said. “We only take 12 kids per week and try to do activities that these kids will enjoy and tailor and build these programs for the kids involved.”
Foletta said the level of achievement of Camp Xcite, and Club Xcite in general, is due in large part to the uniqueness of their “customized approach” toward each child. “Our greatest success has really been providing kids who feel stigmatized or somewhat marginalized by their peers with a sense of gratification and success in what they’re working towards. They’re able to come to terms with a lot of their issues and, at the same time, find some self-worth and satis- faction in what they’re doing,” he said. “It’s successful, like Stefan said, because every kid gets acustomized approach so they’re all able to have their needs met.”
A week of all-day Camp Xcite, including morning pre- camp and lunch, costs $585 for club members and $660 for nonmembers. Afternoon-only camp costs $385 for members and $450 for nonmembers per week. There are four weeks of camp dates: June 23-27, July 7- 11, July 14-18 and Aug. 11-15. The registration deadline is May 1. The drop-off location for camp is San Dieguito Park in Solana Beach. Exit Lomas Santa Fe Drive, go East and turn left at the four-way stop sign. Park on the right. If needed, counselors are able to pick up and drop off campers. For information about the weekly camps as well as Club Xcite’s summer and year-round programs and classes, call (858) 779-9674 or [email protected] To learn more, visit www.exciteway.com.
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Phone: (858) 779.9674