PAALS day camp is one of only a handful of camps in the country that integrate assistance dogs in training with kids who have disabilities alongside kids who do not. Campers learn the basics of service dog training, how to help people in the community, and work side by side with other youth and youth with disabilities, all while pairing up to train a service dog candidate.
At the one week-long Summer PAALS Camp sessions, (youth ages 11-14 and 11-19 for youth with disabilities), campers learn the basics of dog care, training and community service all while pairing up to help train a service dog candidate. Friday is usually field day trip with dogs.
PAALS has teamed up with the Big Red Barn Retreat to offer a week long session of Summer PAALS at the Farm (youth ages 11-14 and 11-19 for youth with disabilities). With the unique environment at the farm, campers will learn about dog and horse communication, training and care. They will also participate in enrichment activities like yoga with dogs and painting with horses.
Responding to requests from parent of older campers to provide a similar experience for their younger children, PAALS started Summer PAALS Pups camp (youth ages 8 – 10). At this camp, the young cCampers learn the basics of dog care, participate in dog games and crafts and practice teamwork while pairing up to care for a service dog training candidate.
I wanted to train the dogs because if I train them, the dog can go to a good person”
Bryson, Summer PAALS Camper
I first started with PAALS because it sounded fun to just hang out with the dogs. But, not that I’ve worked with them more I find is more fun to know that my time there has helped that dog help someone else. It is a wonderful experience that has helped me (not just the dog) [understand] why service dogs are so important. It also doesn’t hurt to have fun with with some well trained, adorable dogs.
Elena, Summer PAALS Camper