One of life’s major milestones is stepping out on your own for first time. Whether you move to a college dorm, find a roommate and an apartment in the city, or you rent or buy your first home; taking that first step can be daunting. Next, the St. Louis Arc’s transition department, is offering a new summer program to help individuals prepare for their first big move.

Take the Challenge

NextED Challenge is a summer camp experience, providing young adults an opportunity to challenge their expectations of living on their own. Attendees participate in hands-on learning, interactive group activities, and community exploration while staying in a home setting.

The program is for young adults ages 18-25 and will be offered in two sessions in early August. Utilizing an Airbnb near Forest Park, NextED Challenge will give individuals the opportunity to spend a week experiencing independent living in a natural setting. Participants will spend a week, Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., recreating the ideas and experiences of what independent living looks like. The camp program will create an opportunity to learn about routines, personal safety, cooking, cleaning, and the roles of a landlord and tenant.

Interdependent Living

In addition to learning basic living skills, participants will discuss the importance of interdependent living.  “As adults we are all in need of support,” says Ryann Cleland, Manager of Transition Services. “We call our parents or the people in our network all the time for advice or support. The idea of independent living, realistically, is interdependent living. We each have networks and resources, we just need to learn how to best utilize them.”

While most learning will take place in the Airbnb, the program will also utilize the surrounding community. Exploring the Forest Park area, participants will learn how to find and navigate public transportation, read maps, and find nearby conveniences and businesses.

Sign-Up Today

The fee for the program is $450 for the week. Due to COVID-19 there are a limited number of openings, social distancing will be practiced, and masks will be required. Interested individuals can contact Ryann Cleland for more questions or to sign up.

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