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2021 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Camp Yakety Yak

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Developmentally Disabled Centers, Disabilities, Human Services

Mission: Camp Yakety Yak (CYY) is a 501c3 organization that was created in 2013 by Angela Arterberry, Speech Pathologist, to help children with special needs (e.g., Autism, ADHD, Intellectual Disability) grow socially and emotionally by improving their communication skills. The camp's educational mission is twofold: 1) provide instruction in social & emotional skills to children with special needs & their siblings to support friendship development in a day camp setting and 2) provide an opportunity for future professionals in educational and therapeutic fields to gain knowledge and hands-on experience in working with children with special needs. Eighty percent of our staff members are students from local universities and high schools who receive 10-30 hours of training and ongoing supervision by our professional faculty.

Target demographics: Supporting social skill growth in children with special needs, ages 5-22. Siblings and peer models welcome!

Direct beneficiaries per year: 239 campers over 4 camp weeks

Geographic areas served: Camp Yakety Yak is a therapeutic day camp located in the Portland metro area.

Programs: Our Professional Faculty consists of Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Behavior Support Staff, and Special Education and Regular Education Teachers to offer a well-rounded learning experience. Our specialists have designed a camp for children with special needs based on years of experience, advanced training, and research. The philosophy, curriculum and individualized support of Camp Yakety Yak is best suited for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Communication Disorder, ADHD, Mild Intellectual Disabilities, Learning Disabilities, Traumatic Brain Injuries and more.

Community Stories

22 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Camp Yakety Yak is well run, uses its resources wisely and provides a much need experience for kids who are experiencing disabilities.

Client Served

Rating: 5

One of the best volunteer experiences I've had. I was nervous about stepping too far out of my comfort zone by working with children with special needs, but the training and support I received far exceeded my expectations. I learned so much about working with both children and adults with special needs, and by the end of my time there, felt prepared to handle any situation that could arise. I have no regrets and am deeply thankful to have had an opportunity to volunteer here!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Yakety Yak has been life changing for our children! Our family has been involved with CYY for over 10 years. Our three children who experience special needs have been part of every program in the camp, Buddies, General Camper, Jr. Camp Counselor and Yak Apprentice. Each summer provides the opportunity for them to learn new skills, grow socially and most importantly have fun in a safe and enriching environment. CYY provides them with what I call the "Camp Yakety Yak Boost" which sustains skills through the summer and catapults them into the school year accelerating their social skills and learning in ways we cannot replicate at home or in other programs that are not tailored to meet their needs. We are enthusiastic supporters of CYY and strongly recommend this program!

Board Member

Rating: 5

An amazing camp experience for kids with special needs and professional learning for educators. The curriculum and activities are engaging and designed by educators with extensive experience working with children experiencing disability.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have never been so supported as a staff member than I have at Camp Yakety Yak! Not only is this a great work environment, the kids are actively engaged in their day to day activities while creating stronger social communication skills and friendships. There is no camp out there like Camp Yakety Yak hence why we have kids coming back every year from around the world! :) I will definitely be telling my own community members about this fun day camp as well as returning to volunteer and work. It's truly an amazing experience for everyone involved.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you to the Camp and Autism Spectrum Disorders Foundation. It was my daughters first year going and she had a great time. She was always excited and happy after leaving camp. Eager to show me eveything she made.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I would like to thank the Autism Spectrum Orders Foundation for this opportunity to see my daughter enjoy something she has seen her brother enjoy. He has learned a lot from camp and I know she will get to learn many things as well. She’s so excited. This will be her first year. She can’t wait

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Yakety Yak is a camp that is like no other. A camp that everyone is welcome. There is so much I can say about this camp. There are no boundaries to this camp! This camp has touched our families' life. We will be forever grateful of this camp and the friendships we have made and support we have received from this camp! This camp has changed so many lives of kids across the board from typical to non typical.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you Camp Yakety Yak and Autism Spectrum Disorder Foindation for a wonderful experience our son had for the first time this year. Without the generosity of ASDF our son wouldn't have been able to try it out for a week! And he had a blast along with his younger neurotypical brother, his very best friend. They both had positive & fun time and flourished. They asked to come back next year. Thank you again and blessings!

Client Served

Rating: 5

This year was the first year that our two boys went to camp Yakety Yak. Firstly I would like to thank the Autism Spectrum Orders Foundation for their generous scholarship that helped us pay for the camp. We are really impressed by the positivity of the staff and volunteers and high staffing levels. Our youngest has really grown from the challenges and opportunities offered by camp. Most of the time he is so engaged in camp, and it's wonderful to see the camp counselors enthuse about these successes. When he has struggled, the camp counselors have been committed to helping him feel safe and validated, so that he can grown from these challenging experiences. Thank you so much, Iain and Tui

Client Served

Rating: 5

This past year has been particularly hard in my niece. She has been hit with so many challenges. Because of this , I really wanted to make this summer extra special. This will be her first year at Camp Yakety Yak and we are both looking forward to the four weeks she’ll spend in the Apprentice program. She is especially looking forward to making new friends!

We will forever be grateful to the Austism Spectrum Disorders Foundation for this incredible gift they have given us and to so many other families. We just can’t thank you enough!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The generosity of The Autism Spectrum Disorders Foundation had made it possible for my son to attend his beloved Camp Yakety Yak this year despite many months of medical and financial hardships for our family.

My 17 year old has attended CYY every summer since 2014, with the exception of 2020 when covid hit. It was heartbreaking for him to not get to attend or to see his friends last year, so getting to return this summer is extra special. My 20 year old has dedicated many summers to volunteering as a camp counselor.

Both of my children have learned and grown so much, in such a variety of ways, as a direct result of this incredible camp and their phenomenal staff.

We truly are so fortunate to have such a thoughtful, inclusive, well organized and executed camp offered in our area. The individuals who work so hard to support our campers- from the professional staff to the interns to the volunteers- genuinely love what they do and it shows. I hope they know what a difference they're making.. not only in our community but in our world as these young people grow, learn and continue to spread awareness, acceptance and love wherever they go.

We are so grateful to you all for your dedication and the work that you do to provide our kiddos a safe space to thrive, to play, to learn and to create lasting, meaningful relationships.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

While it goes without saying that we LOVE Camp Yakety Yak, we couldn't be more thrilled about the launch of the Yak Apprenticeship program!

My boys have attended CYY every summer since 2014. My oldest son, who is neurotypical, has volunteered each year as a high school camp counselor. He's worked with campers in a group setting, and has also worked as a one-on-one with young campers who require additional supports.

This year, my oldest will leave for college. Camp Yakety Yak has played a large part in helping to equip him with many of the skills that he'll need to be happy and successful in the next chapter of his life and beyond. Not only has he learned the value of compassion, acceptance, and kindness to all no matter their ability, but he's learned how to work and collaborate well with a large group of people who hold the same vision in order to be successful. He has learned about the importance of time management, self-discipline, team-work, and how effective, respectful communication plays an important role in any job or position that he'll ever hold. His experiences at CYY have helped to shape him into an incredible young man who cares deeply about the world around him, and who takes seriously the power that he has to create positive impact.

My youngest son, who is neurodiverse, started with Camp Yakety Yak 6 summers ago as a camper. He graduated to a JCC (Junior Camp Counselor) 3 years ago, and last year was invited to participate in the Yak Apprenticeship pilot program. The basis behind this program is pure genius and so very needed for our neurodiverse youth! Much like my oldest son experienced as a camp counselor, these work apprentice teens have a unique opportunity to get to experience and learn about the working world in a safe, respectful, supportive environment. This phenomenal program helps them to recognize and to call on their strengths and abilities in order to reveal to them their capabilities. The guidance and support of highly trained staff who enable them to build on each success, ultimately building confidence that lasts a lifetime, is without parallel.

Last summer, I watched proudly as my son pushed beyond his own perceived limits within the safety net of the team. He worked hard, had a blast, made some new friends, gained incredible skills, and in the end was able to earn time at our local archery range, as well as a brand new bow that he'd been wanting- something that I chose to incentivize him with for his hard work and dedication.

Only a few years ago, Camp Yakety Yak was a hidden gem in a small neighborhood. I have had the great honor of watching it grow quickly in attendance, staff, and in reputation, due in large part to the tremendous impact that it's had on the families whose lives it's touched, and equally so because of the support that it's received from its generous doners. Despite its rapid growth, it has not suffered in quality. In fact, CYY has only continued to thrive and to improve on its existing programs, while continuously introducing new ones. If not for the continued support from organizations like the Autism Spectrum Disorders Foundation, these CYY programs would not only not be possible, but they would be inaccessible to many families. We are so incredibly fortunate to have a program such as this available to our young people. I'm sincerely thankful for ASDF and for their contributions as they have made it possible for my son to attend CYY year after year. We truly can't imagine a summer without Camp Yakety Yak!

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is our daughter's first year at Camp Yakety Yak and we are amazed at how much she has grown in such a short period of time. She went from having really hard transitions and acting out, to being able to fully participate safely at camp. For her to have this opportunity is simply amazing. The staff and volunteers are absolutely amazing and we are so thankful for their hard work and genuine care for our daughter. Without the generosity of the Autism Spectrum Disorders Foundation contribution, our daughter might not have gotten the chance to participate at camp and we will be forever grateful. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son has attended Camp Yakety Yak for four years now, and has always enjoyed the experience. Camp Yakety Yak has helped him to grow, to learn, to interact with other children in a meaningful way, which helps him to deal with other children in other settings. Without Camp Yakety Yak, our son would not be the person he is today. We are immensely grateful to the Autism Spectrum Disorders Foundation for the financial assistance this year to let him attend camp once again.

Christopher B.3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation and Camp Yakety Yak for making it possible for my son to attend Camp Yakety Yak again this year. Camp Yakety Yak has been a great experience for my son for several years now. It is a wonderful blessing having an organization such as yours help children with special needs and camps such as Yakety Yak that will teach children the skills and tools they need to flourish as they grow. Thank you!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you for making Camp Yakety Yak a thing because it helps me have social skills so I can have friends. Thank you teachers for always being nice. Thank you for making things under control because it helps me think about other people.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thank you for your support in helping our son attend Camp Yakety Yak. This will be his first summer there and we are all very excited about it.

Holly L.2

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is our son's second summer at Yakety Yak and the staff are stellar. They take the time to connect with families to ensure that each child's needs are met. I love the reverse inclusion model, which offers opportunities for neurotypical peers to take advantage of all the fun. Camp Yakety Yak leverages local and community resources, including leading researchers at Portland State University. I am grateful for the Autism Spectrum Disorders Foundation and its financial support for my 6 year old son on the spectrum to attend.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned so much while working at this camp last summer! As a returning student preparing for graduate work in Speech-Language Pathology, this camp was a challenging and rewarding introduction to the field. I highly recommend it!

1 Talia M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked here for 2 sessions in the summer of 2013. It's a fantastic learning experience for both volunteers and campers! Whether or not children are neurotypical or have special needs, they will enjoy their time at this camp and will make new friends too!

1 Sarah246

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In the summer of 2014, I volunteered at Camp Yakety Yak as a 1:1 assistant for a boy severely impacted with Autism. This experience taught me a flexibility and patience I have never before known. I am honored to have been a part of this amazing camp and look forward to spending another summer with remarkable children and highly qualified and passionate professionals.