Before I became involved with the mentally challenged community, I had two ideas about camp.  First, this was something that children and teenagers did in the summer or during winter or spring break.  Adults went on retreats but they didn’t go to camp.  Second, some adults (who haven’t discovered the Ramada)  go camping, which means a tent, sleeping bag, a propane stove or a campfire and an inflatible mattress.

One of my first introductions to the special needs community was being invited to go to camp for a four-day weekend.  That seemed a bit bizarre to me.  I had met most of the members of the program that was involved and I knew that they were all adults.  My children went to camp.  As adults, we went on retreats.  Soon, I found that there is a entire national network of camps for people with disabilities.  These camps are populated with people who are mostly 21 years old and older. 

I have a confession.  This is my 20th camp and I still bristle when we speak about camp for our members, who are adults.  It seems so junior high to me.  I was thrilled when Special Gathering changed a portion of our name from Camp Agape to Retreat Agape.  The camp side is for people who need more supervision and more care.  The retreat side is for people who live in their own apartments or homes and are higher functioning.  They receive minimal supervision and no care.  Special Touch, founded by Charlie and Debbie Chivers, still use the term camp loosely but they officially call their annual “camping -type experiences” Get-Aways.

 I personally believe that we could all come up with a more appropriate name for what we all do, than camp.  However, no one else (except the Chiver’s)  seems to be bothered by the term.  Or maybe everyone dislikes the term but no one has seen the need to balk.  As we all recognize, blogs are the forum for spitting and balking.  Everyone does it on the internet, from left wing bigots to right wing bigots. 

What do you think?  Is the term camp outdated, or worse, inappropriate for adults?  What would you prefer to call this national phenonenom in which most of our adults members participate?  Retreat?  Get-Aways?