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Successful Start to Special Tree's Summer Program for Kids and Teens

Since the Special Tree Discover! Summer program kicked-off on June 17th, the students have enjoyed a range of therapeutic activities ranging from art projects and community outings to cooking meals and building pre-vocational skills training through the Youth Work Program. 

Therapeutic Art
Throughout the summer, our students engage in art projects devised by the Recreational Therapy team to help build functional skills such as fine motor skills, visual processing, and more.  Each project relates to the theme for the week.  For Week 1, themed  “Farm to Table”,  the kids did Udder Painting and planted a garden; followed by making DIY bouncy balls during Week 2, themed “Let’s Have a Ball.”

Community-Based Outings
When doing community outings such as strawberry picking at the DeGroot’s Farm, the kids work on social skills whether it be with community members or just with their fellow peers. While out in the community, the staff take advantage of any chance to work on engaging students in conversation.  Strawberry picking was a fun way for kids to engage with peers while also working on their therapy goals.

Cooking Group
Another therapeutic activity that our kids do every Thursday is Cooking Group. The kids work on a wide range of skills including fine motor skills to cut and prep food for cooking as well as activities of daily living skills by learning how to prepare and cook a meal.  

Youth Work Program
Every day throughout the program, our older teens (ages 14 and up) participate in the Youth Work Program.  The program has a variety of job experiences teens can try out including assembly work at Special Tree’s Industrial Operations Center, interior and exterior car detailing through “Ready to Shine,” peer mentoring for Discover Summer, community-based work at Continental Canteen, and creating sell-able work in the Creative Arts Studio, Greenhouse, and Wood Shop.  These experiences help teens learn job readiness skills such as proper work etiquette, managing time, handling money, interacting with customers, and managing a paycheck.

By Jamison Cobb, Marketing Intern + Discover Summer Staff