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Camp Paivika opened in 1947…

As one of the first fully accessible camps in the United States. Camp Paivika operates under a special use permit granted by the San Bernardino National Forest. Located in the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest, the camp offers overnight summer programs for children and adults with mild to severe developmental and physical disabilities such as autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and Down syndrome. It is fully accredited by the American Camp Association. Camp Paivika’s first group of campers chose its name. In the language of the Cahuilla Native Americans, the word “paivika” (pronounced pi-vee-ka) means “dawn.” The name is appropriate, as it reflects a new dawn of welcome, acceptance and inclusion.

Camp Paivika offers children, teens and adults with disabilities a traditional camp experience delivered with nurturing support and, above all, an emphasis on fun. Days here are filled with well-regulated, morning-to-night activities that are creatively adapted to enable fun and encourage participation. We are guided by “can,” not “can’t” – and no one is left out.

Our programs allow campers to make friends, try new things and become more confident. Families are often surprised to find loved ones returning home with a new, can-do spirit, independently choosing clothes for the day, tying their shoes or brushing their teeth without assistance. And, of course, families appreciate the respite they can take from the rigors and challenges of providing 24/7 care.

Camp Paivika is completely accessible and capable of accommodating individuals who use wheelchairs, walkers or other adaptive devices. Staff are trained and prepared to provide personal care as needed including caring for individuals who are incontinent and who require assistance with transferring, bathing, dressing, toileting, feeding and other personal care.

According to a 2018 post-session survey of campers and their families:

  • 94% of campers surveyed gained confidence to make new friends at camp
  • 99% of camper families surveyed felt that having their camper attend Camp Paivika has made a positive difference in their lives
  • 100% of camper families surveyed would recommend Camp Paivika to family or friend
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