The following is a letter I wrote to parents and professionals about how I can up with the idea to start a specialized social skills camp in Manhattan for kids age 6-12. It’s been a wonderful journey and we’re now entering our second season.
Dear Parent / Professional,
I am thrilled to offer a specialized social skills training program in Manhattan for children ages 6-12 called Big Apple Day Program (BADP).
The idea for BADP originated in April 2010 after several parents from my private practice asked for day camp recommendations. I researched to find there was a significant lack of evidenced-based summer programs in Manhattan that specialized in social skills training. Having developed and led social skills groups for children of all ages for many years, I quickly took action to develop what is now my intensive summer day social skills training program.
Many children with social skills deficits feel frustrated, isolated, and have low self-esteem because of negative interactions at school, home, and with peers. I knew parents needed a comprehensive program to address all the major domains of childhood social competence, such as: classroom, team sports, group games, unstructured play (recess, lunch), and family relationships. For parents to witness visible improvements, our programs would have to: be intensive (40 hours / week); utilize behavioral, research-supported strategies; occur across multiple settings; be run by professional staff; and involve parents and teachers. And that is exactly what I created!
I also knew our program needed to be exciting, rewarding, and fun, or the children would not want to participate. So I created a schedule that balanced fun with function, found a location that suited our needs, and hired enthusiastic, dedicated staff to ensure each child receives the attention he/she needs. Personally, the best part is having the opportunity to observe the children in their “natural” settings. As a private practitioner, I know the limitations of weekly office-based treatment. Children can appear socially competent in one setting and socially inept in another. A full day of camp, over the course of many weeks, gives us the unique advantage of immediately reinforcing all types of pro-social behaviors to help children become better classmates, athletes and friends.
We are very happy to hear parents report numerous improvements in their child’s behavior and peer relationships. And the kids’ smiles and budding friendships tell us that they are having fun too! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I you have any questions.
Joshua Rosenthal, PsyD
Owner, Big Apple Day Program
Partner, Manhattan Psychology Group, PC
Written by Joshua Rosenthal, PsyD