Earlier this year we posted about The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities New England (CARDNE) and include some great information regarding their Summer Camp Program – CAMP CARD NE, which offers experiences uniquely designed for children with autism spectrum disorder. Cindy, the Executive Director of CARDNE, recent posted a summary of their previous week and we wanted to share it with you!
We started off the week hitting the ground running! Two Work Experience campers, along with two counselors spent Monday at Viewpoint- a beautiful seaside condo at the Nubble- to stain fencing. It took ALL day and they worked so hard! Diane McGrath was pleased with the finished project and our guys were thrilled to complete it! The rest of the camp created a pool noodle toss game and then tried it out. Kris and Chloe were the best shots and the rest of us need MORE PRACTICE for sure!
Tuesday was a great day for hot dogs! No quarter pounders this week, yet the customers were plentiful and satisfied! Our campers really work hard on Tuesdays as we also set up the church for Table of Plenty; having a real purpose and doing a good job is a great reward! The campers made seed bombs, if you haven’t seen them, please check the back packs as they tend to be messy! Andrew guessed the closest to the final number of hot dogs sold- 76. And we received $185 in donations! The campers love to be a part of replenishing the camp scholarship fund as they know how lucky they are to have a camp focused on their needs.
Wednesday was PLAY DAY. First the counselor acted out the Murder Mystery play- it was fun to be a part of such a talented group of people! We all really enjoy what we do and it’s the best example to show the campers that when you do something you love, it doesn’t seem like work. The campers will have an opportunity to show off their acting skills, if they choose. They will be performing Thursday- tomorrow- beginning at 1:15. Please come if you are able. We are hoping to get it on YOUTUBE if you happen to miss it!
Thursday will be library day for the Work Experience group. It’s so wonderful to get out into the community and let people put a face to Autism. I know many are surprised with the abilities, manners and professionalism our campers display- great awareness!
As we have talked about before- the camp is BIG on service work. We stress that Camp is part of a community and it is our job to give back and help in any way possible as all good citizens do. This week alone the campers brought out the recyclables, cleaned the kitchen cabinets and under the counters- which were quite nasty! Scrubbing garbage cans and bins may not be anyone’s first choice, but look at the pictures to get an idea of the enthusiasm the campers showed! We picked up sticks from the church lawn after the high winds from the weekend and cut the Pastor’s front yard. We helped bring in donations for the Village Faire scheduled for Saturday this week. AND we alphabetized hundreds of books for the book sale! And we still have one more day of camp this week!
Let’s touch on the social skills – everyday provides us with a variety and plethora of skills to teach. Such things as recognizing our strengths and weaknesses, and learning how to use our strengths to compensate for the weaknesses. Identifying what our body does when we feel angry or frustrated. When we can begin to clue in on this, we can spot trouble before it erupts- with practice of course! The Work Experience campers work on even harder skills such as what it looks and feels like when a conversation is dominated by one person; appropriate things to talk about in mixed company; loud talking; what it looks and feels like when you are flexible and able to roll with the changes.
We also had a first hand lesson from our counselor Alex who interviewed for three jobs! Alex recently graduated with his teaching degree in Special Education ( yay!) and would be a tremendous asset for any school district. Alex discussed what references are and who would be a good person to ask for a reference. The campers asked questions about what happens in an interview and is it hard or easy- . All the Work Experience campers have CARD NE to use as a job and personal reference for their upcoming careers- nice to be ahead of the game! Believe me, social skill learning is hard work and the campers are doing a fantastic job! Keep the sun shining!
You can learn more about Camp CARD on their website at www.campcardne.shutterfly.com. If you would like information regarding registering for one of their programs please call me at 603.953.5025 or email me at Allison@netutors.com