THE CAMP EXPERIENCE

Our overnight camp sessions vary in length. Each Overnight 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 on the autism spectrum.

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 Heartland Center — a beautiful camp facility located in Parkville, Missouri, just 15 minutes from the Kansas City International Airport and 30 minutes from downtown Kansas City. Features of the campgrounds include:

beautiful open fields among wooded spaces and hills

air-conditioned cabins and meeting spaces

food service facilities

pool with certified lifeguards

horseback riding

high ropes courses

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, self-understanding and awareness
  • increasing social abilities and connections
  • widening awareness of recreation opportunities and skills of recreation
  • strengthening emotional wellness 

For a detailed view of each goal and objective we aim to embed, CLICK HERE.

ACTIVITIES

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.

  • archery
  • art therapy
  • arts and crafts
  • campfire songs
  • cooking and baking
  • drumming
  • fishing
  • games and puzzles
  • hayrides
  • horseback riding
  • knitting
  • Lego construction
  • music composition
  • music therapy
  • photography
  • science-based activities
  • swimming
  • theater / improv comedy
  • videography
  • zipline

SAMPLE SCHEDULE

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.

TIME ACTIVITY
7:30am Wake / Prepare for day
8:30am Breakfast
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)
12:30pm Lunch
1:15pm Rest and relaxation in cabin
2:30pm Swim
4:00pm Choice Activities (based on campers' interests and abilities)
5:30pm Return to cabin to clean up for dinner
6:00pm 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)

2023 CAMP SESSIONS

Below are our camp opportunities for youth ages eight to eighteen. We're counting down the days!

April 1-2
Overnight Session

Arrival: (will be announced soon)

Departure: (will be announced soon)

June 13-16
Summer Camp Session

Arrival: (will be announced soon)

Departure: (will be announced soon)

August 1-4
Summer Camp Session

Arrival: (will be announced soon)

Departure: (will be announced soon)

September 22-24
Overnight Session

Arrival: (will be announced soon)

Departure: (will be announced soon)

REUNION CAMP FOR ALUMNI

This camp is specifically designed for past campers that are now nineteen and older. We are so eager to see you again!

(Date to Soon Be Announced)
Alumni Reunion Day Camp Session

Arrival: (will be announced soon)

Departure: (will be announced soon)

PEER MODELS

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.

CAMP COST

Includes quality planning, specialized materials and supports, meals, comfortable cabins, and tailored activities. Please note that scholarships are available (see below). Applicants are encouraged to apply for support.

CAMPER

Overnight Session (two days, one night): $595

Summer Overnight Session (four days, three nights): $1295

Day Camp Session: $225

PEER MODEL

Overnight Session (two days, one night): $195

Summer Overnight Session (four days, three nights): $425

Day Camp Session: $75

ALUMNI

Reunion Day Camp: $225

APPLYING FOR CAMP & SCHOLARSHIPS

Please visit the Prospective Camper Information, Peer Model Information, or Alumni Information page find detailed information on requirements, the application process, and scholarship opportunities.

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.