Via West Campus provides residential respite care with weekend and week-long programs throughout the year, amid 13 wooded acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains. That’s a simple description for a program that can mean the world to a parent or caregiver of someone with special needs.
You’ve surely heard that you need to care for yourself before you can care for others, but for caregivers of those with special needs, it’s just not as simple as that. Disruptions in the routine can be devastating. You can’t imagine looking or walking away for even a moment. We understand. We truly do.
Via West works with adults and children who have a vast array of developmental disorders, disabilities and conditions and we work with the parents and caregivers who love them. We understand the monumental a challenge it can be just to get through breakfast. We know the challenges you face, your struggle to provide stability for your loved one, without sacrificing your sanity, your relationships and your health.
That’s why Via West residential respite programs provide unprecedented levels of structure and support for all of our participants. In addition to the wide array of amenities, services, and activities designed specifically for those with special needs, we provide an extremely high staffing ratio to be sure every participant gets the attention they need. Before every respite session, we assess each individual participant and decide whether a 1:1, 1:2, or 1:3 staffing ratio is best for their safety and positive experience, as well as your peace of mind. Each participant is assigned to a staff member who joins him or her in activities, offering encouragement and assistance when needed.
That way, you can rest easier, recharge and take that much needed time to yourself, trusting that your loved one with special needs is in the care of experts who will care for them with compassion, enthusiasm and specialized skill.
The Via West Campus
No one is going to be “roughing it” at Via West! Our facility has six modern and accessible sleeping lodges equipped with bathrooms, showers, and heaters, in addition to a full health center. Dining and large group programs are hosted in the spacious main lodge, with more group activities hosted around the fire circle and in the creative and performing arts facilities. Individuals and small groups can enjoy activities including swimming in one of our two pools (one of which is fully accessible), exploring our nature pavilion, interacting with the residents of our horse corral, playing sports at our sports facility, or hiking along one of the many nature trails.
Activities Abound for All
The Via West facility has a vast array of activities that appeal to children and adults with every type of special need, and we organize each session around the needs of the individual participant. All of our activities are designed to encourage independence and interaction, and we provide the full structure, support, and staff needed to make every participant feel safe, empowered, and excited about their own potential.
Here are just a few of the activities your loved can enjoy:
- Creative and performing arts
- Outdoor living skills
- Horseback riding or stable visits
- Nature hikes
- Talent shows and other special events.
Living Healthy Emphasis
Our Living Healthy initiative at Via West emphasizes nutrition, physical activity, health awareness and self-management throughout our programs and activities. We promote empowerment and independence by helping our participants learn skills within their range of ability. For example, a person with cerebral palsy may spend their time with us gaining control of a stylus to communicate on an electronic tablet. A higher-functioning participant with autism or Down Syndrome may learn how to portion food, grocery shop, and prepare a healthy meal.
Via West’s location provides a variety of ways to interact with nature–and their fellow participants. Our participants develop and strengthen communication skills and social functioning through exploration, play, problem solving, and social interaction in lodge and activity groups, small groups, or even one-on-one interaction, depending on ability.
We’re very proud to say that when we’ve spoken to our participants’ families after their return home, they consistently report that they have seen an average of 80% retention of skill improvement after their loved one stayed with us.
Fall and Spring Weekend Programs
During the regular school year, we offer fall and spring weekend programs that begin at 5 pm on Friday and end at 3 pm on Sundays. Many of these sessions are organized around themes that introduce participants to new experiences, with activities tailored to all skill levels and abilities. Learn more about our fall and spring weekend programs and availability here.
2013-2014 Fall and Spring Programs are scheduled these dates:
- November 8-10, 2013 (Fri-Sun) Adult Weekend, ages 18+
“It’s a Pilgrim’s Journey.”
- December 6-8, 2013 (Fri-Sun) Kids, Teens, and Young Adults Weekend, ages 5-22, “Sugar Plum Fairies and Snowmen.”
- December 13-15, 2013 (Fri-Sun) Adult Weekend, ages 18+, “Deck the Halls.”
- January 31-February, 2014 (Fri-Sun) Kids, Teens, and Young Adults Weekend, ages 5-22,
“Space: The Final Frontier.”
- February 7-9, 2014 (Fri-Sun) Adult Respite, ages 18+, “The Wizard of Oz.”
- February 18-20, 2014 (Tue-Thu) Kids, Teens, and Young Adults Midweek, ages 5-22,
“Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.”
- March 7-9, 2014 (Fri-Sun) Adult Weekend, ages 18+, “Around the World.”
- March 21-23, 2014 (Fri-Sun) Mild to Moderate Session: Kids, Teens, and Young Adults, ages 5-22, “Toy Story.”
- April 11-13, 2014 (Fri-Sun) Adult Weekend, ages 18+, “It’s a Mystery.”
- April 25-27, 2014 (Fri-Sun) Kids, Teens, and Young Adults Weekend, ages 5-22, “Come Join the Circus Carnival.”
- May 2-4, 2014 (Fri-Sun) Adult Weekend, ages 18+, “Farmer in the Dell.”
You can download a PDF of the schedule here.
Summer Week-Long Programs
In summer, we offer week-long programs with a wide range of activities and an emphasis on learning specific skills that participants can retain after their visit with us. We also provide specialty sessions for children and adults with specific needs. Some past sessions have included
- A focus on communication and skill development for guests ages 5-22 with Autism;
- Skill development and recreation for participants 5-22 with Down Syndrome;
- Young Adult Leadership Development program for ages 18-30 emphasizing leadership and independent living skills.
Summer 2014 Program dates will be available in February 2014.
Questions? Please ask!