Camp Promotes Social Growth in Kids with Autism
Monday, June 30, 2014
by Katie Smith ’15
PHILADELPHIA (June 27, 2014) — For many children, summer is a time to take a break from the school year and enjoy the friends, fun, and growth that comes from a camp experience. The staff of the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support at Saint Joseph’s University believes these opportunities are especially important for youth on the autism spectrum.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Kinney Center is offering a five-week summer camp that provides opportunities for children with autism to grow socially and think creatively. The camp is designed to promote learning by offering fun recreational activities that bring youth on the autism spectrum together with their “neurotypical peers.”
Beginning on June 30, 78 campers will arrive on SJU’s Maguire Campus for a unique summer experience. Campers will be organized into age groups, ranging from three to 14 years. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., each day of camp is highly structured, but students can choose some of their activities, which include swimming, cooking, dancing, sensory activities, crafts, and gardening.
The camp is staffed by 86 Kinney Center SCHOLARS, undergraduate students interested in pursuing careers in the field of autism who provide campers with one-on-one. New this year is the opportunity for high school students to volunteer at Camp Kinney, allowing youth to learn before college if a degree in an autism-related major is right for them. In addition, the camp offers former campers above the age of 14 the change to return as aides to the counselors.
Program highlights this year include yoga and karate lessons, a visit with the Phillie Phanatic, and presentations from the Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Zoo. Camp will come to a close with a live talent show at 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 31, in the Cardinal John P. Foley Campus Center.