Although Camp Encourage has grown a lot since its first year and provides more opportunities to provide encouragement outside of summer camp with the addition of the two OVERNIGHT (mini camp) sessions, we believe our campers deserve even more. In a recent survey, 100% of Camp Encourage parents indicated that they would like to see their camper continue connections outside of camp and 100% stated that they want their camper to continue to hear the same positive messages embedded at Camp Encourage. However, very few campers had connected with another camper outside of camp.

Camp Encourage developed a plan to change this and thanks to our supporters, cost effective CONNECTIONS, or well-designed and structured social opportunities tailored to support campers with ASD, are now available. With quality evidence-based supports and trained professionals, campers will gather, connect, grow, be encouraged, and learn from one another in a family-like, accepting atmosphere in the greater Kansas City area. Activities will vary but the messages will be clear:

You are enough, you are capable, you are worthy, and you are loved.

Update (February 1, 2021): Our in-person outings have now returned after being placed on hold temporarily. For updates related to the pandemic, please visit our COVID Updates webpage.

Typically these outings are for those that have attended Camp Encourage in the past and serve as a supplement to those services. However, since our overnight camps did not occur in 2020, we are opening these opportunities up to any past camper AND any applicant that was hoping to attend in 2020 yet was unable to (including those that may now be 19). Thus, please register and join the goodness!

Click on each tab below for a description of the upcoming CONNECTIONS outings.

Registration is currently open. Unlike our camp sessions, a lottery will not occur and slots will fill on an as-registered-and-accepted basis. For those that have already submitted a 2021 online application, visit HERE for helpful tips on how to proceed. For those that have not applied, please complete an application HERE. Should all slots for one of the CONNECTIONS be filled, please contact Aimee Gorrow at to be added to a waiting list and should a cancellation occur, you will be notified.

Note: As outings are scheduled, they will appear below. Be sure to read through the helpful details regarding each.



An opportunity to see The LEGO Movie in a private theater with just Camp Encourage friends! The entire theater will only be available to our small group of no more than 15 campers and four to five CE staff! The volume will be lowered and the lights will be slightly raised for a sensory friendly experience.

Skills targeted include ordering one's own concession treats within a set budget, expected social behaviors during a movie, and having fun / connecting with others while still social distancing. Masks will be required but may be taken off only to eat once in our private theater.

Helpful Details:

  • A budget will be provided by Camp Encourage for each participant to remain within while selecting and purchasing his or her own personal snack from the concessions.
  • Masks are required for Camp Encourage staff and each participant.
  • Additional information regarding check in and safety procedures will be provided to parents / guardians prior to the social outing.

B&B Theatres Lee's Summit 16
1451 NE Douglas Road
Lee's Summit, MO 64086


1:30 to 4:00pm


Each participant will be guided to create a campfire painting which he or she will take home. Skills involved are: socializing and connecting, following directions, fine motor for painting, near or far point copying, and practicing appropriate social distancing.

Masks are required for Pinot Staff, CE staff, and each participant. All materials will be provided and will be for individual use only. Plenty of space will be provided for social distancing and limited slots are available to ensure such distancing (#12 campers). Water and individual snacks will be provided.

Campers will need to start arriving and checking in at 9:30, as the class starts promptly at 10:00am. Additional information regarding check in and safety procedures will be provided to parents / guardians prior to the social outing.


Pinot's Palette (Olathe)
11945 S. Strang Line Road
Olathe, KS 66062


9:30am to 12:00pm*
*arrival is between 9:30-10am; check out will be between noon and 12:15pm


An opportunity to learn the basics of comedy and joke telling with some friends from An Evening with the 'Rents. Participants will be led in improv and theater games to learn how to deliver simple jokes and have fun on stage.

While inspiring imagination, confidence, and creativity in an environment that celebrates their unique talents, skills targeted include flexible thinking, connecting with and responding to others through nonverbal communication, working collaboratively, and having fun / connecting with others while social distancing.

Helpful Details:

  • Masks are required for Camp Encourage staff and each participant. Masks may be taken off while snacking or drinking, while socially distancing.
  • Additional information regarding check in and safety procedures will be provided to parents / guardians prior to the social outing.
  • Your child may be filmed telling a joke, performing comedy, or during improv activities. Brief clips may be used at An Evening with the 'Rents but permission / approval will be acquired prior to its release.

Trilogy Cultural Arts Centre
15585 S. Keeler Street
Olathe, KS 66062


1:00 to 3:00pm


Additional Connections outings will be scheduled in the near future. Please check back, be watching your email inbox, and follow us on social media for updates.



Each outing is $30 and must be paid once notified of acceptance. This cost includes all activities, all food and beverage, and quality staff support (with a ratio of 1 youth: 3 adults). Scholarships are available for our overnight camps but not for the Connections outing as each Connections outing is greatly discounted.

What to Expect

Structured outings in the greater Kansas City area will be provided to allow time to connect and share joy while under the supervision of encouraging, trained staff. Details regarding each scheduled outing can be found within the above tabs.

Examples of future outings may include outdoor adventures, attending a play or other performance, swimming, bowling, attending a sporting event, visiting the zoo, participating in board games, and much more. Should you or your camper have any suggestions, please contact our Program Coordinator. Our campers often have THE best ideas!


Standard eligibility (but please see exceptions below): Campers and Peer Model Campers, between the age of 8 and 18, that have already attended Camp Encourage within two years of the scheduled Connections activity are eligible to attend. The intention of involving already-attending campers is that the staff is familiar with each camper's unique needs and because we hope to further enrich the lives of those attending Camp Encourage by keeping them engaged in the messages and surrounding them more regularly with encouragement.

Important COVID-19 Update: Since our overnight camps are not occurring in 2020, we are opening these opportunities up to any past camper AND any applicant that was hoping to attend in 2020 yet was unable to. Thus, please register and join the goodness!

A Camper Application must already be submitted through our new online registration system so that we have all updated information.

Programming Focus

We hold the same beliefs that: every person with an ASD is an individual; is capable of great things; is deserving of individualized, research-based supports; and flourishes in a supportive and encouraging environment. We understand that each camper has his or her own interests, motivators, strengths, and areas for need of support and growth. Although individualized supports are provided as needed and although there will be additional focused objectives within each outing, many of the activities, just like during our overnight camp sessions, aim to achieve the following set of general goals:

  • increasing skills of independence
  • enhancing one's self-esteem
  • increasing personal self-understanding and acceptance
  • increasing social abilities
  • widening awareness of recreation opportunities and skills of recreation
  • connecting with others with similar interests, needs, and/or abilities
Ages Targeted

Just as with our overnight camps, Connections are focused on those between the age of 8 and 18 at the time of the service. Because only 15 campers will be able to attend each outing, ages and genders will vary. Camp Encourage feels it is important to have the diverse group with the idea that we are a family. We have found that when in a nurturing, encouraging environment, youth of all ages support and learn from one another and despite age differences, connect and form family-like relationships. It's a space of belonging—a place where you're accepted and loved.


Each camper participating in the Connections activities must be transported to the outing location as no transportation will be provided. Specific drop off and pick up details will be provided once the participant has been officially accepted and offered a slot to join the goodness.


Kristi Loftus and Sandy Smith who have been with Camp Encourage since the early years are developing and overseeing each Connections outing. In addition to their expertise (which you can read about here), we have selected some of our top-notch, always-present supporters that have been at camp for years in the role of a Counselor or Group Leader. We wanted to ensure quality services while also making sure that familiar faces were abundant and consistent leadership were present.