Semiahmoo House Young Adults Travel with Peers Instead of Parents

Today, my son Adam left on a very special trip to Disneyland.

Why it was so special is because it was a trip that catered to a group of special needs kids who wanted to travel as young adults without their parents! All these kids are teens and young adults who have a mental handicap of some degree.

Semiahmoo House Society Goes to DisneylandSemiahmoo House Society in White Rock, B.C. works with these kids in all kinds of programs like photography, drama, movie night, girls night, sports night, life skills etc. It was the kids who came up with the idea of going on a trip with their peers instead of their parents!

This was a first of it’s kind event! Much planning was involved by the staff to ensure the safety of the kids and a trip they will remember for a lifetime. As parents, we also wanted to make this a success and talk was already in the works of future trips like a cruise to Alaska and other adventures.

Putting this together took months of planning along with the help of a travel agent. The staff were amazing and very organized. Some of things they needed to consider:

  • ratio of kids to staff
  • putting kids into small groups with like interests
  • having the right leader for each group and color code them
  • color code luggage with color of team
  • each person wears a bright yellow shirt over own shirt while at theme park
  • each person wears a name tag with contact info of leader in charge
  • have a “floater” person in place in case someone needs to go to hotel or gets sick
  • each leader needs to know the schedule of kids and a chart for showering and other reminders
  • a detailed personal plan for each kid
  • all the medications schedule and over the counter meds
  • who can handle own money and who needs help
  • diet concerns
  • packing list
  • schedule for disneyland, universal studios, seaworld
  • amount of money to save for trip that includes covering the cost of staff
  • getting kids to the front of the line on rides and on the plane
  • keeping the passports safe
  • and MUCH MORE!

The kids were very excited at the airport today! Spirits were high and as a parent I was not the least bit nervous. We had about 4 parent meetings leading up to this and lots of email updates.

It was a dream come true.

I can’t wait to get a call from Adam to see how he is enjoying his trip!


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About Arlene Martell

Arlene Martell is the publisher of and the author of Getting Adam Back – A Mother's triumph over Epilepsy and Autism. She resides in a seaside suburb on Vancouver BC Canada with her husband James and their four children Adam, Justin, Shelby and Victoria.