In the summer of 2012, Hattie Larlham was able to expand their growing Camp Connect camp program for children with autism to Goodyear, AZ. The camp comes after a series of planning meetings between Hattie Larlham and many organizations and participants in the city of Goodyear, including the city fire and police departments, mayor’s office, the Avondale school district, and the Fighter Country Partnership, a non-profit organization that supports Luke Air Force Base.
Camp ran the weeks of July 9-13 and July 16-20 for Monday-Friday of each week, with the times of 9a-3p for the camp day. Through meetings with the Avondale school district, Hattie Larlham was able to use one of their schools, Wildflower Elementary, as the camp site for the program. There was also involvement from both the Goodyear fire department and minor league players from the Cleveland Indians in visiting the camp to provide social interaction from the community.
The camp counselor staff consisted of 1 special education teacher who served in the lead camp counselor role, and 5 paraprofessionals in special education and general education settings also working the two weeks of programming. Week 1 of camp had 5 campers in attendance and week 2 had 8 campers in attendance. Campers were able to participate in a variety of activities, including sensory exploration, fine and gross motor movement, cooking, arts and crafts, technology exploration, water play, and much more in an engaging environment that focused on recreation and socialization.
Out of 13 campers who attended the camp, 11 campers were given the opportunity through generous funds from Fighter Country Partnership. We had positive reviews from the families who attended the camp and enjoyed having these children as a part of our program. Without the support from this organization, we would not have been able to have such a successful first year or provide our autism services for these particular families and children in need.
Thank you to Fighter Country Partnership for your support of our 2012 Camp Connect program, and we hope to see these wonderful families and children at camp next year!