Camps for People with Disabilities

Special Needs Camp Paivika

Learn more about Camp Paivika, our camp for people with disabilitiesWatch our video.

Looking for a camp resource for kids and adults with special needs? Do you need a respite from the challenges of caring for a loved one with a disability? Special needs Camp Paivika in Southern California is one of the first fully accessible camps in the United States. AbilityFirst’s Camp Paivika in the San Bernardino National Forest, just outside Los Angeles and near Big Bear, offers summer and winter overnight camp programs for kids and adults with mild to severe developmental and physical disabilities, such as autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and epilepsy. Programs and activities include horseback riding, adaptive sports, swimming, cookouts and campfires, arts and crafts, and nature hikes, as well as fine arts, all in a safe and nurturing environment. Watch the Camp Paivika video and read our brochure to see and hear how camping has changed and enhanced the lives of special needs individuals of all ages.

In addition, individualized health and well-being necessities and regimens are provided. These include personal care and hygiene (toileting, brushing teeth, combing hair, showering), dietary and eating assistance (food prep, diabetic, special eating equipment), medications and medical care (seizures, nursing assistance, catheterization, g-tube), redirecting inappropriate or self-destructive behaviors, ambulatory assistance (wheelchairs/walkers/canes) and communication (non-verbal, sign language, special device), among others.

“When I think of my many blessings and the best things that my mother and father ever gave me, Camp Paivika comes to mind…. If you are tired of letting your disability define you, if you just want to meet some amazing people or need help on your journey of self-discovery, Camp Paivika is the ideal place.” — Michael Griggs, Camp Paivika camper since 1997

As one of Los Angeles’ best camps for people with disabilities, Camp Paivika has been welcoming special needs campers since 1947, is fully accredited by the American Camping Association and is operated under special use permit with the San Bernardino National Forest. Set in the mountains amid majestic tall pines in a beautiful National Forest, the camp can accommodate 72 campers each session. The 12-acre facility includes five dormitories, health care center, staff quarters, craft center, nature study center, amphitheater and fire ring, swimming pool, horse stables and a main lodge with a large recreation room and dining hall.

Paivika (Pi-vee-ka) is the word for “dawn” in the language of the Cahuilla Native Americans who formerly inhabited the area where the camp is located.

Camp Paivika Logo

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, AbilityFirst Camp Paivika is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.  To file a complaint of discrimination: write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD).  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.