Camp Kids First, is a summer day camp for autistic and other exceptional children aged 4-17-years-old in the Wood Buffalo region. Participants have the opportunity to experience typical summer camp experiences like their peers do. We offer experiences such as swimming, rock-climbing, music and dance classes, boat trip on the river, arts & crafts, visits to Heritage Park, Oilsands Discovery Centre, day trip to Gregoire Lake beach area, just to name a few.

The needs of every child are met individually, and one-to-one support is provided by our team of dedicated and experienced support workers. Children participate in a variety of activities that promote social skills, play and communication.

If you would like to sponsor our 11th annual summer day camp that will give children and youth aged 4-17 years-old with autism and other special needs the opportunity to experience typical summer camp experiences like their peers do. Please see letter for more details.


Camp Kids First 2023 – Annual Report

This year we were able to provide an amazing experience for 104 children and youth in our community!

Our summer day camp is unique to any other in our region as it is the only camp that accepts ALL children regardless of needs, medical conditions, and
disabilities. While many of the children that attend camp are neurodiverse, we also had children attend camp that have Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, hearing and vision impairments, and more. To provide the best summer camp experience for all, we provide one-to-one or one-to-two support workers who can meet each child’s individual needs.

Activities at Camp Kids First are planned intentionally to suit each child’s individual physical, cognitive, sensory, and social-emotional needs.
Support workers can adapt activities to ensure all children have a chance to participate.

This year Camp Kids First was based at two locations, Frank Lacroix Arena in Beacon Hill and Doug Barnes Cabin in Thickwood.
Some activities the group enjoyed this summer were, parks and water parks, crafts, music and dancing, Sports Day, Science Day, horseback rides, visit to HERO Helicopters, Total Ninja Warrior Gym, Vista Ridge Aerial Adventure Park, golf, a day at the lake/beach and a river boat trip with Running Bear Adventures – it was an amazing summer camp experience for all!

Parent Survey Feedback:

•85% of parents gave Camp Kids First a 10/10 overall rating
•100% of parents found the online registration process “easy”
•89% of parents were “very happy” with communications regarding camp
•90% of parents were “very happy” with camp leadership and support staff

•85% of parents were “very happy” with camp activities and field trips
•71% of parents reported that their children felt a greater sense of community after attending Camp Kids First
•Top three favourite activities were: Boat trip, Swimming at MacDonald Island and Horse Club
•Top three least favourite activities were: Arts & Crafts, Dance & Yoga and Total Ninja Warrior Gym

“He enjoyed going everyday, being around his peers and doing activities with people other than his parents.”
“The best part of Camp is making connections to other friends.”
“Being able to attend camp with friends just like other kids get to do.”
“The key piece for us as his parents, it has been and always have been the staff who love our son and take care of him, and we know we can trust them with our life.”
“The best part is… getting to be themselves. No judgement. All fun. They still talk about it.”
“This is my sons 4th year coming to camp, it is him most favourite experience of the summer. He says it the only place that people like him for the way he is. The staff go above and beyond to make him feel heard, safe and help him through his day all while having the funnest moments. Thank you to everyone for what you do and letting my child be his best self!”

Every year parents tell us that they wish camp ran for longer hours, more days, and more weeks each summer.
One day we hope to have the capacity (space, staff, and funding) to provide this for families.
The smiles on the kid’s faces are always the best feedback we have for Camp Kids First

Camp Kids First would not be possible without the generosity of our community partners… we thank the following organizations for supporting Camp Kids First in 2023.

And an Extra Special Thank you to Chozen Breed, who hold an Annual Fundraiser for Camp Kids First.