Making TRACKS since 2011!

What is the Camps on TRACKS program?

The Camps on TRACKS program is a peer-mediated social skills program designed to increase social interactions and inclusion for campers with disabilities and social challenges (Sperry et al., 2010). It is implemented by teaching peers the skills they need to interact with these campers, in order to make camp a fun and rewarding experience for all (Sperry et al., 2010). Teaching peers is essential to the approach, as it allows them to naturally prompt for appropriate social skills in the camp setting. In these peer-mediated interventions, peers who are typically developing are trained to initiate social interactions with and respond to social interactions from their peers with disabilities (Battaglia & Radley, 2014).


Camps on TRACKS is named for the skills that are taught to peers in a child-friendly acronym.  These six components in the Camps on TRACKS program provide peers with strategies to interact with campers with social challenges.
1. Try Again (Persistence)
2. Right Thing (Correcting)
3. Assist (Prompting)
4. Congratulate (Reinforcement)
5. Keep Trying (Persistence)
6. Show (Modeling)

The Camps on TRACKS training program teaches camp staff best practices in supporting campers to make friends and how to interact with peers who may have social challenges.  The Camps on TRACKS training is facilitated in five unique modules:
1.    Introduction to the Camps on TRACKS program
2.    Camper Awareness
3.    Teaching TRACKS
4.    Prompting Through Peers
5.    Reward Systems

Peer-mediated approaches have many advantages over adult-mediated approaches, such as the abundance of peers, and the decrease in demands on adult interventionists (Battaglia & Radley, 2014). The skills can be practiced in multiple settings with multiple peers and incorporated into the natural context of daily activities, making them well suited to inclusive settings such as camp (Battaglia & Radley, 2014;Watkins et al., 2015). Research has shown peer-mediated strategies are effective in increasing various social skills such as joint attention, communication, initiations, and reciprocal conversations while decreasing inappropriate social interactions such as unresponsiveness, changing conversation topics, and inappropriate talking (Battaglia & Radley, 2014). Peer-mediated interventions have been shown to have positive generalization, maintenance, and social validity outcomes (Watkins et al., 2015).

For more information about the modules and exploring which training opportunities are best for you and your camp, CLICK HERE.


Our History

Introduced in the City of London inclusive day camps during the summer of 2011, the Camps on TRACKS program promotes peer-mediated social skills. Adult leaders teach peers how to interact with children with disabilities and prompt these peers during interactions, rather than assisting children with disabilities or social challenges directly. The term “TRACKS” is a child-friendly acronym used to teach typically-developing children the skills they need in order to use this approach.  

With over 120 children with special needs attending City of London day camps in 2011, TRACKS played a significant role in increasing opportunities for meaningful social interactions between campers of all abilities.  Although the initial intent of the program was to focus on campers with ASD, the strategies benefitted numerous other campers by building a stronger sense of community at camp and placing an emphasis on being helpful to one another.


Our Partners

The Camps on TRACKS collaboration was created out of need for integrated opportunities for children with disabilities to attend summer camps with their peers without disabilities. This project is a collaboration with Thames Valley Children’s Centre, Fanshawe College, and the City of London, across four different disciplines: therapeutic recreation, recreation administration, adult education, and applied behaviour analysis.

Thames Valley Children’s Centre, a rehabilitation centre in London, provides expertise, knowledge, and training about children and youth with disabilities.

Thames Valley Children's Centre
 

Fanshawe College brings expertise around childhood development, best practices in adult learning and online training, and strong experience in research and evaluation.

Fanshawe
 

The City of London brings expertise in running summer camps and recreation programs, camp leaders, and camp environments locally and provincially.

Thames Valley Children's Centre
 

Ontario Trillium Foundation

An Ontario Trillium Grant was received April 2016 to make the information from the Camps on TRACKS program available province-wide over the next 3 years (ending April 2019).

An agency of the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.

Thames Valley Children's Centre
At the beginning of the week they started with the TRACKS program and I think this really allowed the campers to understand that Annabelle may act a little differently than them. The program helps them to understand that she really wants to interact and is trying to engage with them, but doesn’t feel comfortable to do so. So the TRACKS program facilitated a lot of this interaction. Campers would try multiple times in different ways to interact with Annabelle to get her to engage with them. It’s been really neat to see how Annabelle has come such a long way from the beginning of the week until now.
Lee, parent of a TRACKS camper