309 • 691 • 1929 |

Camp Free To Be

Come join the fun and make lasting memories at Camp Free To Be this summer! Camp Free To Be has a close camper to staff ratio which can be as low as 1:1 and is suitable for children and young adults aged from 5 – 21  years of age with severe and/ or multiple disabilities. Our hand-picked staff will be paired with your camper, which will ensure your child’s success in the fun camp activities that they will encounter. This camp is paced to mimic that of a school day, which is perfect for campers who like the cadence, pace and structure of a typical school day – but packed with even more fun! All campers need to bring a sack lunch and drink daily. Camp Free To Be is a center based camp, and is held at the HISRA building in Peoria. 

Age range: 5 – 21

Days: Monday through Friday

Drop off/ pick up times: 8:30am – 3:30pm

Location: HISRA

Camp type: Center-based

Highlighted activities: Field trips, music therapy, arts and crafts, social skills, gross and fine motor activites.

To find out more information about Camp Free To Be, please click the below tabs.

Camp Free To Be Dates

Camp Free To Be runs Monday – Friday, from 8:30am – 3:30pm at HISRA. The dates for camp are as follows:

  • Week 1: 6/3 – 6/7
  • Week 2: 6/10 – 6/14
  • Week 3: 6/17 – 6/21
  • Week 4: 6/24 – 6/28
  • Week 5: 7/1 – 7/3**
  • Week 6: 7/8 – 7/12
  • Week 7: 7/15 – 7/19
  • Week 8: 7/22 – 7/26

** Please note: Due to the Forth of July holiday, Week 5 is a shortened week which will run from Monday to Wednesday.

Camp Fees

The fees for Camp Free To Be are as follows:

  • Week 1: R $195/ NR $254
  • Week 2: R $195/ NR $254
  • Week 3: R $195/ NR $254
  • Week 4: R $195/ NR $254
  • Week 5: R $115/ NR $152
  • Week 6: R $195/ NR $254
  • Week 7: R $195/ NR $254
  • Week 8: R $195/ NR $254

Fees are divided by Resident and Non-Resident Fees. A participant who resides within the Park District boundaries of one of our Member Districts (Peoria, Chillicothe, Morton and Washington Park Districts) is considered a HISRA Resident. A HISRA Non-Resident is a participant who resides outside of our Member Park District boundaries.

Camp Free To Be Objectives


  • To provide participants with a safe and nurturing environment.
  • To introduce youth to a variety of recreation services.
  • To provide participants with opportunities to increase socialization, self-discovery, and building skills through positive interactions.

Guidelines for participation in Camp Free To Be

  • Participants must be at least 5 years of age and no older than 21 at the date of the program that they are registered for.
  • Participant must have a diagnosed disability. 
    • This camp is designed to meet the needs of individuals with a multitude of disability levels, however, please understand that this camp is not appropriate for all disability levels. All campers must be able to meet camp eligibility requirements, with or without special modification. HISRA does not have other options available. Contact the administrative office at (309) 691-1929 for further information.
  • Participant must meet health eligibility requirements.
  • Participant must meet level of care requirement.

Camp Pick Up and Drop Off Information

  • We encourage that all participants arrive on time, as activities begin at the start of camp. 
  • All participants and parents/ guardians must enter through the front doors. No access will be granted through any other doors. Parents/ guardians will not be permitted to walk back to the group spaces. Group staff members will accompany the participant and walk them back to their group space.
  • If participants are late, the HISRA management team will determine if the participant can be accommodated in another group. If the late participant cannot be accommodated, we will ask them to return promptly the following camp day. 
  • On field trip days, groups will depart at their scheduled times. Buses will not wait for late participants.
  • A $10.00 late fee will be applied to the participant’s household WebTrac account for every 10-minute interval that the participant is either dropped-off early or picked up late. Late fees will be charged per participant. The clock at the facility will be used to determine the time. Please understand that dropping participants off early or picking participants up late places an unfair burden on staff and the agency and may result in temporary or permanent suspension from camp.
    • Example: Camp ends at 3:30pm. A late fee of $10.00 will be charged at 3:40pm. A late pick up falling any time between 3:41pm and 3:50pm will equal a late fee of $20.00, etc.
    • Please understand that our participant/staff ratio is an important factor in maximizing participant safety. For this reason, and under ordinary and usual circumstances, we do not permit participants in the facility during non-camp hours.
    • Please contact HISRA as soon as possible in the event of an emergency.
  • Anyone picking up a participant must drive or walk to the front doors and wait for their participant to come outside. They may call or text the previously established phone number to alert staff of their arrival time to ensure that their camper is ready to leave upon their arrival.
  • Parents/ guardians must list everyone that is authorized to pick up the participant on the Annual Information Form. If the participant is using organized transportation (i.e. CityLift), this must be listed on the Annual Information Form.
    • Any person that is listed on the pick-up permission portion of the Annual Information Form will be allowed to pick up the participant during any time during camp hours. It is important to list only those people who would have permission to do so. Picture ID can and will be requested for those names listed on the pick-up form. This is to ensure the safety of the participant.

Camp Absences

  • Parents/ guardians must notify the camp by 9:00am if the participant is going to be absent on a given day. Please do this by calling the main office at (309) 691-1929.
  • Refunds or credits will not be given for days missed.
  • Participants, who receive HISRA scholarships, will be charged for all missed days of camp, regardless of the reason.


  • Parents/ guardians must provide HISRA with their phone number to assist them in contacting you quickly in the event of an emergency.
  • Parents/ guardians must notify HISRA if their phone number, address or email address changes. Please make sure that contact information is current and correct throughout the camp season.
  • Daily communication will be sent home. Please make sure to check backpacks and Class Dojo to review all information. If there are items requested for the next day of camp, please promptly send them with your participant the following day.
  • Class Dojo will be utilized to communicate with parents/ guardians and share programming updates.


  • Parents/ Guardians are responsible for arranging transportation and all related transportation costs. 
  • Contact CityLift at 497-3340, WE Care (Morton) at 263-7708, WE Care (Woodford County) at 1-800-538-6906 or Rural Peoria County at 697-3305 for transportation.
  • HISRA will not provide door-to-door pick ups or drop offs. 
  • Transportation from school districts will not be arranged by HISRA. It is the parent/ guardian’s responsibility to arrange for such transportation with the school district or any third-party agency.

What To Bring To Camp

  • A cold lunch and a drink that is clearly labeled with the participant’s name. Due to field trip schedules, campers will need to bring lunches that do not require heating, as most days they will not have access to a microwave.
    • If a participant has dietary needs or restrictions, please communicate that to HISRA staff at the time of registration and on participant’s Annual Information and Personal Care forms.
  • Deliver all medications in the original prescription bottles. Provide written directions to staff regarding specific instructions for medication via the medication authorization form.
    • Medication will only be dispensed with Medication Dispensing Form.
    • Medication Dispensing Forms must match assigned assigned prescription bottles. 
  • If the participant requires diapers or other personal hygiene items, please send them clearly labeled along with wipes and any special instructions.
  • If the participant is 7 years of age or younger, it is the responsibility of the parent/ guardian to provide HISRA with an appropriate car seat to transport the participant during excursions.
  • Please leave all personal items such as cell phones, electronic toys, and cards at home. HISRA and its staff are not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Camp Attire

  • Participants are encouraged to wear closed toe shoes for comfort and safety purposes.
  • Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable play clothes that can get dirty. No midriff shirts please.
  • Participants wearing a dress must be accompanied by shorts underneath.
  • Please send swim attire on swim days and dress appropriately for various field trips.
  • Please label all bags with participants names.

Camp Activities

  • Participants will be placed into groups according to their age and/ or ability.
  • Communication will be sent home to inform parents/ guardians of activities done throughout the day and what is coming up in the week through Class Dojo. Please be checking your participant’s bag on a daily basis.
  • Scheduled activities are subject to change when necessary.
  • Please advise the staff on any special needs that the participant may have regarding sun and heat exposure as many days can get very hot at camp. Include this information on the Annual Information Form.


  • Parents/ guardians may pack snacks for their participant to eat during passive activity time.
  • Participants with special dietary needs are encouraged to pack their own snacks. Please note special dietary restrictions and allergies. Include this information on the Annual Information Form.


  • Our Camp Free To Be staff are made up of a diverse group of pre-professional and professional individuals, with the majority of staff consisting of college students and working professionals studying and working in a field related to youth such as teaching, special education, therapeutic recreation, and social services. 
  • Most of our staff has had previous experience working with youth.
  • All staff are subject to background checks prior to employment with HISRA.
  • Each group will have one Camp Leader as well as Camp Aides in order to keep appropriate participant/staff ratios. 
  • Every camp employee has gone through online and/ or in-person training prior to working at camp.

Field Trips

  • Camp groups will have opportunities throughout the summer to experience field trips in the community.
  • Field trip locations and frequency will vary from group to group. The group’s ability level and needs will be taken into consideration when planning field trips.
  • Communication will be sent home to inform parents/ guardians of trip locations. It will also state what items participants will need to bring on particular field trips. For example, if a group was going swimming, participants will need to bring a towel and a bathing suit.