Children and adolescents with obsessive-compulsive disorder and/or anxiety are invited to join us this summer for a one- or two-week camp session. In addition to daily therapy, participants between the ages of 7 and 15 will experience activities that allow for personal growth and improved behaviors. Learn more about what a day at camp is like by clicking here.
End of camp testimonials from camp participants:
- Camp was super fun but scary. Everyone was nice and the exposures were hard. BTW, your counselors follow you to the bathroom. – Age 13
- Camp helped me get over my OCD and it was really fun! I loved camp and I don’t want to leave. – Age 11
- Camp helped me lessen my fear of bugs and gave me ideas on how to talk in a conversation. – Age 13
- Camp was awesome. Everyone was so nice and you can tell them anything. – Age 12
- I love camp. I love the water. – Age 8
- As a whole, I’d say camp was a unique experience. I certainly made lots of progress and had fun. You all did great. – Age 13
- I liked everything about camp and puzzling is really fun. – Age 10
- I love how supportive all the counselors and campers are. Thank you all! – Age 10
- I thought it was a good way to be brave. – Age 8
- I thought the slipping slide was pretty fun. – Age 14
- It was very beneficial. – Age 16
- Cool. – Age 10
- My daughter, age 15, participated in the camp last summer. She is now thriving in high school, participating on the weightlifting team, excelling academically and enjoying being a teenager. Who would have though a young person with BDD would be happy to wear a skin tight unitard in front of a crowd? This time last year it was a challenge to get her into clothes and through the school day. It doesn’t seem like a second thought now. I really wish I had a chance to participate in some of the activities her therapists challenged her with, as an adolescent, or even now. They provide life skills that are invaluable. – Parent
Camp Dates and Times:
- 1st session: July 31 – August 4, 2023
- 2nd session: August 7 – 11, 2023
In the meantime, our team is hard at work brainstorming helpful ways to provide information about OCD and related disorders to you and your family. Please look out for updates from us detailing free online resources!
Hosted by UF Health Medical Psychology and the Center for OCD, Anxiety, and Related Disorders, the Fear Facers Summer Day Camp will be led by a team of medical and academic experts including Carol Mathews, MD, a UF Health psychiatrist internationally recognized for her work in obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, Joseph McNamara, PhD, a UF Health psychologist who specializes in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder and Ashley Ordway, M.Ed/Ed.S, is a UF Health Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has specialized training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Exposure Response Prevention.
Treatments for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects over 2 million individuals in the United States. During the Fear Facers Summer Day Camp, participants will benefit from intensive treatment featuring cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, which has been shown to reduce symptoms by at least 50 percent.
CBT exposes triggers and teaches people to resist compulsions, with 85 percent of patients experiencing positive results. People are taught to respond to anxious thoughts in an adaptive and realistic manner.
The OCD Program at UF Health Medical Psychology offers intensive outpatient and weekly CBT treatments with pharmacological treatment coordinated as needed. Over an average of three weeks, patients meet with their designated therapists and receive assignments that encourage therapeutic exercises. The care team continues to work with the children and their families after the program ends by collaborating with other health care providers and caretakers.
Scholarships are available for in and out of state campers. Please indicate that you are interested in a scholarship when you complete the contact link.
How to Apply to Camp
If you are interested in camp, please visit the contact link in the blue banner or call 352.265.4OCD (4623) to speak to someone about enrollment.
For More Information
To learn more about treatment options for obsessive-compulsive disorder at UF Health, please visit UF Health Medical Psychology.
What is a day at camp like?
In the morning, your child will attend individual and group therapy sessions, and in the afternoon your child will participate in various activities including art, games and sports. These activities are designed to be fun and engaging, while encouraging your child to continue to face their fears in a safe environment.
When can I drop off and pick up my child?
The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with breaks for lunch and morning and afternoon snacks.
You can drop your child off any time after 8 a.m. and pick your child up between 5 and 6 p.m.
Where do I drop off and pick up my child?
You will drop off and pick up your child at the Freedom Community Center located at Veterans Memorial Park: 7400 S.W. 41 Place, Gainesville, FL 32608. There will be sign-in and sign-out procedures to ensure camper safety.
What happens if my child becomes sick and is not able to attend?
If a child becomes sick while at camp, a phone call will be made to the parent or guardian to have the child picked up.
Is food provided for campers?
We ask that all campers come to camp prepared with lunch and two snacks. We will not be providing food in order to avoid concerns about food allergies.
What if there is an emergency, and I cannot pickup my child by 5 p.m.?
Aftercare options are available until 6 p.m.
What accommodations are offered if I am traveling from out of town?
Several hotels in the area have offered a discounted rate. There are two links below that have more information in regards to what you can expect for accommodations. Please mention the University of Florida (UF Health) to receive the discount.
Who is a good fit for camp?
Children and adolescents between the ages of 7 and 15 who have been diagnosed with or are experiencing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, panic disorder and specific phobia disorder are a good fit for the camp.
What if my child is anxious but does not have a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder?
During the screening process, we will ask questions about your child’s symptoms to determine if he/she is a good fit for camp. A formal diagnosis of an anxiety disorder is not required.
Who is not a good fit for camp?
Exclusionary criteria will include children and adolescents who exhibit disruptive behavior, have active symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder, have active symptoms of an eating disorder, are at risk of harm to themselves or others and/ or a flight risk. If the clinician determines that your child meets any of the exclusionary criteria other appropriate resources and options for clinical care will be discussed.
What is the cost of camp?
The cost of camp is $450 per week, plus $75 application fee. Additional fees will apply for daily therapy sessions. Anyone interested in attending camp is required to go through the screening process by calling 352.265.4623. During the screening process, our staff will determine if your child is a good candidate for camp and will obtain information regarding your insurance coverage in order to determine daily therapy fees or co-payment requirements.
What does my camper need to bring?
Each day of camp, your camper needs to bring sunscreen, a hat, lunch, two snacks, a water bottle and a change of clothes.
What if my child does not want to participate in an activity?
All campers will be encouraged to participate in every camp activity. However, campers will not be forced to engage in any activity and will have the option to participate in an alternative activity or sit out for the duration of the activity.
What should my camper wear?
Each camper will be provided with two camp specific shirts to ensure that everyone is easily identifiable. We ask that they wear one of these shirts every day they attend camp. This camp includes a large portion of outdoor activities and summers in Florida can bring very high temperatures. We would like all campers to wear clothing that is appropriate for the weather and camp activities. Footwear should consist of sneakers, tennis shoes or closed toed hiking sandals, such as Keens, to ensure safety during all activities.