CONNECTIONS

CONNECTING OUTSIDE OF CAMP

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.

Important COVID-19 Update: 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 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!

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 2020 online application, visit HERE for helpful tips on how to proceed. For those that have not applied, please complete an application HERE.

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

2020 CONNECTIONS OUTINGS

COOKING

Participants will work in small groups to create and enjoy homemade pasta, sauces, and cannoli. In addition to having an opportunity to socially connect in a safe and loving environment while trying new foods, skills targeted will include enhancing self-esteem, strengthening independence, and gaining skills to work collaboratively, problem solve, make choices, and prepare foods.

Helpful Details:

  • Water and lemonade will be available.
  • There is a restaurant near Taste Buds Kitchen called Berg and Barrel should parents need a location to relax while the campers participate in the Connections outing.
  • Taste Buds Kitchen will provide gluten free options but must know at least five days in advance. 
  • Please be sure to arrive by 2:45pm. And, please be sure a parent or guardian arrives promptly at 5:00pm.
Location:

Taste Buds Kitchen
5336 W. 151st Street
Leawood, Kansas 66224

Time:

2:45pm to 5pm

PAINTING

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

Helpful Details:

  • Water and individual snacks will be provided. Participants may bring their own snacks if there are dietary needs.
  • Masks are required for Pinot staff, Camp Encourage staff, and each participant. However, if wearing a mask is difficult for your camper due to sensory sensitivities or other reasons, please just let us know in advance as exceptions can be made in unique situations per the Americans with Disabilities Act. 
  • All materials will be individual and there will be plenty of space for social distancing during the activity.
  • All art materials (including aprons) will be provided.
  • Campers will need to start arriving and checking in at 9:30am and the class will begin promptly at 10am.
Location:

Pinot's Palette, Leawood
4817 W. 117th
Leawood, Kansas 66211

Time:

9:30am to noon

MAKING A SPRING BOT

Each participant will create a spring bot and will have various materials to choose from to personalize his or hers. Skills involved include learning about potential and kinetic energy, socializing and connecting, following directions, fine motor, and practicing appropriate social distancing. To view a spring bot in action, click HERE.

Helpful Details:

  • Water and individual snacks will be provided. Participants may bring their own snacks if there are dietary needs.
  • Masks are required for ScrapsKC staff, Camp Encourage staff, and each participant. However, if wearing a mask is difficult for your camper due to sensory sensitivities or other reasons, please just let us know in advance as exceptions can be made in unique situations per the Americans with Disabilities Act. 
  • All materials will be individual and there will be plenty of space for social distancing during the activity.
  • All art materials will be provided.
  • Campers will need to start arriving and checking in at 10:15am and the event will begin promptly at 10:30am.
Location:

ScrapsKC
3269 Roanoke Road
Kansas City, MO 64111

Time:

Arrival: 10:15am
Pick up is between 11:45am and noon

TIE DYING TEES

Campers will have the opportunity to tie-dye multiple tees. They will get to take one home with them and the rest will be utilized as gifts for the upcoming S’Mores and Pours auction. This activity would have been offered during our summer camp sessions.  Skills targeted include gaining independence, conversation and social skills, following directions, problem solving, enhancing self-esteem, and fostering friendships.

Helpful Details:

  • Water and individual snacks will be provided. Participants may bring their own snacks if there are dietary needs.
  • Masks are required for Camp Encourage staff and each participant. However, if wearing a mask is difficult for your camper due to sensory sensitivities or other reasons, please just let us know in advance as exceptions can be made in unique situations per the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Participants are encouraged to register by August 17th (to ensure receiving an accurate tee shirt size).

Location:

Camp Encourage Office
4025 Central Street
Kansas City, MO 64111

Time:

Arrival: 9:00 to 11:30a.m.

STRUCTURED ART ACTIVITIES

Campers who attend this gathering will have the opportunity to create art projects that will be auctioned off at S’Mores and Pours. This activity would have been offered during the summer camp sessions. In addition to the creations they are making for S’Mores and Pours, campers will have the opportunity to create other art projects they can take home. The following projects will be created by the campers to be auctioned off at S’Mores and Pours: Create a large outdoor JENGA game, Origami, and Pom-Pom Wreath.

Helpful Details:

  • Water and individual snacks will be provided. Participants may bring their own snacks if there are dietary needs.
  • Masks are required for Camp Encourage staff and each participant. However, if wearing a mask is difficult for your camper due to sensory sensitivities or other reasons, please just let us know in advance as exceptions can be made in unique situations per the Americans with Disabilities Act. 
Location:

Timothy Lutheran Church
425 R.D. Mize Road
Blue Springs, MO 64015

Time:

1:00 to 3:00p.m.

TASTE BUDS KITCHEN

This outing was such a hit last time, we thought it was worth repeating! Campers will make (and eat!) cupcakes. Taste Buds staff will guide our campers through an entire recipe then give them time to enjoy their creation. Campers will be seated three to a table and will need to wear a mask. Once the cooking portion of the event is completed, campers will be able to remove their mask to eat their cupcake.  Skills targeted include Enhancing self-esteem, strengthening independence, gaining skills to work collaboratively, problem solving, making choices, and preparing food.

Helpful Details:

  • Registration deadline is October 10.
  • Water and lemonade will be available.
  • Taste Buds Kitchen will provide gluten free options but must know at least five days in advance.
  • Masks are required for Camp Encourage staff and each participant. However, if wearing a mask is difficult for your camper due to sensory sensitivities or other reasons, please just let us know in advance as exceptions can be made in unique situations per the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Location:

Taste Buds Kitchen
5336 W. 151st Street
Leawood, KS 66224

Time:

Arrival: 9:30a.m. to noon

HELPFUL DETAILS

Cost

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!

Eligibility

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.

Transportation

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.

Staffing

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.