Our camp sessions are divided into weekend and summer sessions. Each weekend overnight camp provides a two-day, one-night overnight camp experience. Our summer sessions provide a lengthier stay totaling a four day, three-night overnight camp opportunity. Each camp offers a quality experience involving relationship development, recreation, and relaxation and is specifically designed to meet the needs of children and youth with autism spectrum disorders.
Key components that make Camp Encourage unique include but are not limited to:
- direct social instruction
- sensory supports
- visual strategies
- positive behavioral supports
- peer models
- the involvement of graduate and doctoral students
- traditional camp activities as well as activities tailored around the individual campers' interests
- an accepting, loving atmosphere that is staffed with high quality, well trained counselors, activity facilitators, medical personnel, and behavior specialists.
The above video was compiled by the kind folks at Burlap LLC. Nearly all of the video footage was gathered by campers during the summer of 2012. In the video, you'll clearly see the joy Camp Encourage brings to all. It will also be vivid how each camper is welcomed, embraced and celebrated for exactly who he or she is. Generous gratitude to Burlap for donating their time to compile this video for our campers.
WHERE WILL CAMP TAKE PLACE?
Camp Encourage's offices are located in Westport, in Kansas City, Missouri. Our camp sessions, however, are held at Tall Oaks Conference Center — a beautiful camp facility fifteen miles from both the western edge of Kansas City and from Lawrence, Kansas. Features of the conference center and campgrounds include:
350 beautiful woodland acres
air-conditioned cabins and meeting spaces
food service facilities
pool with certified lifeguards
OAKS (Challenge Course)
GOALS FOR CAMPERS
We understand that each camper has his or her own interests, motivators, strengths, and areas for need of support and growth. Although we provide a great deal of individualized supports, many of our activities also 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
Below are examples of past activities at Camp Encourage. Activities may vary from session to session, year to year, and may be subject to change.
- art therapy
- arts and crafts
- campfire songs
- cooking and baking
- games and puzzles
- horseback riding
- Lego construction
- music composition
- music therapy
- science-based activities
- theater / improv comedy
Below is a schedule for a sample day at camp. Schedules and activities vary from day to day, session to session, and are subject to change.
|7:30am||Wake / Prepare for day|
|9:15am||Group Time — This structured, small group provides an opportunity to prepare for the day as counselors and campers review the schedule and select activities. Counselors answer questions to better prepare each camper for the day and clarify what each camper can expect throughout the day. This daily time also provides social support through structured activities centered around furthering social competency, self-esteem, and self-awareness (as appropriate for each individual camper).|
|10:15am||Choice Activities (based on campers' interests and abilities)|
|11:20am||Choice Activities (based on campers' interests and abilities)|
|1:15pm||Rest and relaxation in cabin|
|4:00pm||Choice Activities (based on campers' interests and abilities)|
|5:30pm||Return to cabin to clean up for dinner|
|6:45pm||Whole Group Activity — Past evening activities have included: musical performance; drum circle; trivia/game night; special guest performance (juggler, magician, improvisational comedy troupe); carnival activities; and songs and s'mores by the campfire.|
|9:00pm||Lights out (or sooner as needed)|
2017 CAMP SESSIONS
After three years of strategically planning for growth, it is our honor to announce that Camp Encourage will be providing four times the amount of services to youth with ASD in 2017. What once was a wee summer session for thirty five campers in 2008 is now four sessions, serving roughly 180 campers:
March 18-19, 2017
Arrival: Saturday, 9:30am
Departure: Sunday, 3:00pm
June 21-24, 2017
Arrival: Wednesday, 1:00pm
Departure: Saturday, mid to late morning (depending on age)
July 15-18, 2017
Arrival: Saturday, 1:00pm
Departure: Tuesday, mid to late morning (depending on age)
October 28-29, 2017
Arrival: Saturday, 9:30am
Departure: Sunday, 3:00pm
Camp Encourage accepts a limited number of Peer Models to attend camp. Peer Models are individuals not on the autism spectrum, between the age of eight and eighteen. They reside in the cabins overnight with the campers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), participate in all camp activities, and are expected to serve as role models for the campers with ASD.They participate in Camp Encourage like all other campers and are NOT “Junior Counselors” or helpers.
APPLYING FOR CAMP & SCHOLARSHIPS
Please do not let the cost deter you from applying. We work diligently throughout the year to make this opportunity available to a variety of campers. A large number of our past campers have received partial or full scholarship support. In fact, all families that have expressed a need for financial support through the application process in past years were offered scholarship funding.