Public Info

Union County Invites You to Apply to the 2024 Sensory Friendly Summer Camp

The Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to announce the return of the Sensory Friendly Summer Camp, coordinated by the Department of Human Services’ Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs. Designed to provide a unique and inclusive outdoor experience, this camp opportunity is tailored for children aged 12 to 16 and young adults aged 17 to 21. The camp will run from 9:00am to 2:00pm during the week of August 19th – August 23, 2024 at the Trailside Nature & Science Center.

“As a parent myself, I understand the significance of offering summer camps that cater to the sensory needs of children and teens,” said Commissioner Chairwoman Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded. “Experiencing the natural world in an outdoor setting like Trailside helps our young adults safely explore their senses. Our goal is to empower children to learn and grow without the barriers often experienced elsewhere.”

Trailside Nature & Science Center, located at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside, offers an ideal setting for campers to explore the wonders of nature. Campers will be able to spend a week investigating the natural world using their senses of sight, sound, smell and touch. They will also be able to experience the Sensory Friendly Trail and learn about the plants and animals that live in the Watchung Reservation, Union County’s largest park. Each day, campers will develop an appreciation for the natural world through nature walks, hands-on activities, interactive games, scavenger hunts, arts & crafts, and stories. They will also meet live animals, spend time outside each day and experience all the beauty that nature has to offer.

“This weeklong camp provides a safe and accommodating space filled with support and care,” said Union County Commissioner Sergio Granados, liaison to the Human Services Advisory Council. “Ensuring that every young adult has access to enriching experiences is vital to their development and well-being, and we are continuously working towards creating even more inclusive Union County events for residents of all ages.”

Prospective campers must be Union County residents with a documented disability, demonstrating independence in basic self-care tasks such as using the toilet and feeding themselves. While the camp warmly welcomes individuals who may require occasional prompting or redirection, it is not suitable for those with a history of aggressive or threatening behavior, who require restraints to help stop behaviors, or 1:1 staffing. Please note that space is limited and application doesn’t guarantee enrollment. In order to ensure compatibility and accommodate individual needs, the camp administration may conduct interviews prior to admission. Additionally, the administration reserves the right to determine whether they can adequately meet the needs of applicants. To apply for the 2024 Sensory Friendly Summer Camp at Trailside, please visit For more information about activities and support services offered through the Office for Persons with Disabilities and Special Needs, please call the office at 908-527-4807 or 908-527-4781, or visit