Camp Explore


Welcome to Camp Explore!

Camp Explore, a collaboration between the Levin JCC’s Camp Shelanu and TEACCH, is a week-long camp for teens with disabilities to explore a range of recreational activities. Every day will include an outing to a different location, walking or using public transportation, and going out to lunch together at various types of eating establishments. The curriculum, designed by TEACCH to complement life skills programs focused on vocation, will help teens develop the skills to access and use recreation.

Dates, hours, costs, and location:

  • Two 1-week sessions, July 8-12 and July 15-19
  • 9am-3pm Monday-Friday
  • $500 per week. Need-based financial aid is available, apply here. Teens will also need to bring money for lunch (plan for $10-$15/day)
  • Pick and drop off in Chapel Hill. Location address TBD. Activities will take place throughout the Chapel Hill community.


  • Rising 9th-12th graders with a cognitive/social disability such as Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Best suited for Occupational Course of Study or Traditional High School track students.
  • Able to function in a 1:3 group ratio.
  • Able to participate safely and abide by our Behavior Agreement.
  • Able to change clothes, eat, and toilet independently.

Program Information:

  • Program goals:
    • To learn about recreation opportunities and build recreation skills through outings like the library, museums, movie theaters, etc.
    • To help teens acquire life skills, such as using public transportation and going to restaurants.
    • To develop social skills by practicing spending time with peers doing age appropriate activities in public
  • Daily activities:
    • Morning:  drop-off, ice breakers, and preparation for outing
    • Mid-day: teens will walk or take the public bus to an activity and then to get lunch. Outings are designed to teach teens how to access free or low-cost recreational activities, as well as expose them to new kinds of recreation. Lunches will help teens learn and practice the steps of ordering, paying, and eating in different kinds of eating establishments, like the differences between ordering at a counter, from a table, or using a buffet.
    • Afternoon: return to camp, debrief, practicing individual and small group recreation like games and cards, and pick up
  •  Staffing:
    • Two lead staff and 1-2 additional support staff for a group of 8-12 teens.
    • Lead staff are carefully recruited from experienced professionals in the field. Support staff may students studying OT, special education, etc.
    • Staff receive training, including CPR and first aid.

Application Information:Camp Shelanu

  • Priority Deadline extended until Weds Mar 6! Applications will continue to be accepted after Mar 6 on a rolling basis as long as space is available.
  • Friday, Mar. 15 – Decisions returned for those who apply by March 6 priority deadline.
  • Monday, Apr. 1 – Deadline to enroll with a deposit
  • Tuesday, Apr. 30 – Balances due
  • Scholarship applications also accepted on a rolling basis as long as funds are available.
  1. Fill out the online Application Form. It should take you 15-25 minutes.
  2. Print or email the link to the Professionals’ Questionnaire to at least one teacher, OT, therapist, etc. Instructions on how to return it are on the form, and it must be received for your application to be considered complete.
  3. We will return decisions by email by Mar. 15 for those who apply by March 6 priority deadline, and applications after that will be considered on a rolling basis.
  4. After we return decisions, you will have 2 weeks to enroll with a deposit. You will receive enrollment instructions by email.
  5. Contact us if you have any questions! or 919-354-4938

Contact us:

  • We are happy to talk with you! Contact Director of Engagement Madeline Seltman at or 919-354-4938.

For more information about BRIDGES, the JCC’s initiative for people with special needs, click here.  For more info on Camp Shelanu’s inclusion program for kids ages 5-13, click here.