"A Little Hidden Gem" The Lived Experiences of Attending an Overnight Camp for Adults with Disabilities


  • Monisha Dhindsa
  • Paula C. Fletcher Wilfrid Laurier University - Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


Adults with disabilities, overnight camp, recreation, leisure


Adults with disabilities experience a lack of opportunity to participate in recreation and leisure (R&L) activities due to issues such as limited program availability. Overnight summer camps are a form of recreation where individuals can partake in several leisure activities while also gaining independence, developing connections, and providing respite care for caregivers. Camps offer numerous benefits for typically developing youth as well as youth with disabilities which can be applicable to adults with disabilities. This article examines a disability-specific overnight camp in Ontario from the perspective of eight staff members. Overall, participants perceived camp provided many opportunities for both staff and guests to develop meaningful connections and experience limitless possibilities when engaging in activities. Staff also felt camp experiences relied heavily on the people leading camp such as staff morale, staff training, and staff perceptions of upper management. Although the camp was beneficial, improvements could be made to better support guests and staff. Service providers should consider developing increased camp opportunities for adults with disabilities while considering suggestions for improvement as provided from this article.

Author Biographies

Monisha Dhindsa

Monisha Dhindsa completed an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and will be completing a Masters in Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto, Mississauga during the next two years. Monisha’s area of research is focused on disability, particularly in recreation and leisure settings.

Paula C. Fletcher, Wilfrid Laurier University - Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Paula C. Fletcher is a professor in Kinesiology and Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Paula’s primary research is focused broadly in health, chronic illness, disability, and caregiving. Specifically, she focuses on the “lived experiences” of individuals faced with chronic conditions and/ or disabilities, as well as their family members.


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