Registration open for MTSU June 19-23 special needs summer camp 

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. Registration is open for MTSU’s Inclusive College Experience camp hosted at the College of Education for persons ages 16 to 25 with intellectual disabilities.  

The one-week camp will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 19-23 with campers enjoying multiple opportunities across campus. Cost is $150.

Tom Black, associate professor of special education who helps coordinate the camp, said the Department of Elementary and Special Education faculty work closely with a lot of teachers and families of students with disabilities in the Murfreesboro area.  

MTSU special needs summer camp
Inclusive college experience camp 2 2023: Emily Stock, second from right, special education teacher at Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn., will serve as the camp lead at Middle Tennessee State University’s Inclusive College Experience this summer from June 19-23 for persons ages 16 to 25 with intellectual disabilities. Posing, from left, with Stock are campers from summer 2019 Evan Osborne, Tyler Swauger, Stock and Seth Parks at the Campus Recreation Center. (Photo courtesy of Emily Stock)

“It fills a need to give high school students and young adults with disabilities something to do during their summer break,” Black said. “Oftentimes parents struggle finding fun and constructive activities for their children with disabilities to do when they are not in school. It benefits the students, but it can also be a huge help to parents — especially those who work during the day.” 

Though the university will be closed Monday, June 19, in observance of Juneteenth, Black said the camp will remain open, and they have planned some activities to celebrate the holiday. 

Those interested in registering can find the application at listed under the Inclusive College Experience and are encouraged to complete it by the June 12 registration deadline.  

Black said they last offered similar camps in summers 2018 and 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic and were excited to bring it back.  

“It allows campers to experience what it is like on a college campus and what kind of classes and activities are available to students,” Black said, adding that Alicia Pence, assistant special education professor, also helps coordinate the camp. “Campers will get to participate in classes or workshops such photography, dance, theatre, agriculture, aerospace and art. They should develop a better understanding of the types of careers are related to these areas. 

“They also get to experience ‘student life’ by being on the campus with MTSU students, spending time in the Student Union and Rec Center, and dining on campus.” 

Black said MTSU education students and local high school teachers and students volunteer at the camp, including this year’s camp lead Emily Stock, special education teacher at Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and an MTSU education alumna.  

“I’ve kept in touch with Dr. Black over the years, and I was able to help with camp the last time we had it in 2019,” said Stock, who is from Memphis, Tennessee. “I love MTSU, and I have a passion for people with disabilities…. It’s special to get to see people who might not have the opportunity otherwise to be able to experience life on a college campus do so.” 

Stock looks forward to seeing the campers trying new things.  

“In past camps, they climbed the rock wall, took theatre improvisation classes, had photography lessons, did STEM projects, went to art classes, took a French course for the week, traveled to the MTSU bookstore on the bus and many other activities,” she said.  

Stock also said that parents of her special needs students often ask about the availability of post-secondary inclusion programs that run during the school year and that other universities offer. 

“I hope that maybe this summer camp can lead to something like that at MTSU,” she said. 

To learn more about the opportunities and special events at MTSU’s College of Education, visit the website at or follow the college on Facebook at  •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently-owned, community newspaper located in Lynchburg, Tennessee the home of The Jack Daniel Distillery. We focus on public service, non-partisan, rural journalism. We cover the Metro Moore County government, local tourism, Moore County schools, high school sports, Motlow State Community College, as well as whiskey industry news and regional and state stories that affect our readers.}