(Note: This story is based on an actual camper’s experience. The camper’s name has been changed.)
Jeremy’s parents were always worried about him because of his high functioning autism. He was extremely intelligent and had an incredible memory with sharp attention to detail. However, he had a difficult time with social interactions and often engaged in repetitive behaviors without a clear reason or benefit.
Jeremy had an especially hard time grasping communication skills and fell behind his peers in his social development. He became socially isolated as a result.
His parents had realized that he was on the autism spectrum from an early age, and they’d done everything they could to support his development. Still, his lack of socialization was troubling and they feared that it would lead to greater problems later in life.
They found an organization that would help provide Jeremy with the opportunities he needed to grow and become as independent as possible. This organization had a program that helped children on the autism spectrum to develop their social and life skills. Part of that program involved a camping experience at the Rotary Youth Camp.
At the Camp, Jeremy was given the chance to have a normal camping experience with other kids who were also on the autism spectrum. He was treated like any other child without disabilities, and he wasn’t judged when his symptoms manifested themselves. There, he could play and make friends despite his challenges.
Jeremy had a wonderful time hanging out with other kids who were also on the spectrum, and the experience helped his ongoing development overall. Jeremy’s parents were relieved when they saw that he’d had fun, and they decided that the Camp would be a regular part of Jeremy’s childhood as he grew up.
The Rotary Youth Camp exists to help kids like Jeremy who are on the autism spectrum to have a fun, normal camping experience despite their challenges in life. Your donation to Greater Kansas City Day helps ensure that the Camp continues to provide these opportunities to disabled and disadvantaged kids. Click the “Donate” button or buy a paper April 10 and donate any amount to the Rotary Youth Camp.