After being away from our overnight camps for eighteen months, we very joyfully (and very emotionally) welcomed our campers and volunteers back to camp in June. Despite the safety protocols (decreased numbers, cohorting, masking, adjusting the schedule, changing arrival and dismissal protocols), it all went extremely smoothly. The distance and time away from our "home" absolutely caused the experience to be even MORE impactful and more meaningful for all. As we close another year and look to the future, and as we reflect on the kindness that surrounds our campers with autism, we truly believe the best is yet to come.
In 2022, we plan to focus efforts on ensuring that more of our community members--especially our immediate neighbors in Jackson County--have access to our services. We intend to:
- Build relationships with youth of color with autism and their families;
- Gain an understanding of their unique assets, needs, desires, and challenges;
- Recruit and support them as program participants; and
- Guide an organizational shift towards racial equity.
As we proudly make plans to further diversify our camp family, we need you. Our campers need you. JOIN OUR EFFORTS to make sure that more local youth discover that Camp Encourage is a space where each is welcomed, is loved, and feels at home. Where we are reminded how essential it is that we love ourselves, celebrate exactly who we are, and gather in a space where others do the same. Everyone deserves that. EVERYONE.
What our supporters and volunteers join us in providing through our programming is more than just fun. It's more than memories. It's life changing. Strengths are brought to light. Deserving humans are surrounded with encouragement and gain confidence and essential skills for life. Thank you for walking beside us to allow it all to unfold!
More than just a camp...
Camp Encourage is more than "just a camp." In addition to our two summer overnight camps and our two weekend camps, we also provide social opportunities between camp sessions through our Connections program. Developed a few years ago, this program ensures that our campers continue to hear the same positive messages embedded at Camp Encourage. The structured social opportunities tailored to support campers with ASD occur throughout the greater Kansas City area. Activities vary but the messages are clear:
You are enough, you are capable, you are worthy, and you are loved.