Kid Time, Good Time

Tuesday was family carnival day on the last day of Camp Connections at Youngsville Elementary Middle School.

Camp Connections is a summer camp run by the Barber National institute in North Warren for children with autism and Aspergers Syndrome.

The five-week summer camp had 27 children ages 5 to 14 participate and returned this year “from parent input and the desire to have it back up here running again, we had some parents really voice their interest and we worked with the state getting it approved again,” Lindsay VanderVelde of the Barber Center said.

“I think this is a good thing for our kiddos to have, some structure in the summer time and to work on these skills that individually meet their needs. Because during the school year while they’re in their regular classrooms that can be difficult to focus on the social skills, so this is really beneficial. We’re hoping these skills will transfer with them into the school year and they can utilize it at school, in the community and at home,” Camp Connections Supervisor Crystal Przybelinski said.

The camp provides a number of activities for the children to work on coping and social skills with their peers. Camp Connections also does an assessment with the parents at the beginning and end of camp with all the students to establish the students goals in social skills, awareness and social cognition, she said.

“We do group activities; we do a social skills game each day. They do group exercises to practice the social skills that they learn. We do community outings each week,” Przybelinski said.

Over the past five weeks the camp has visited Wildwoods, made their own pizzas at Pizza Hut, putt-putt at Dairy Queen and visited the theater for a private screening of two different movies.

“It’s nice to see them utilize the skills that we’re teaching here and then practicing those in the community setting – appropriate ways to order a pizza, appropriate conversations to have when your in a restaurant in the community. They can actually practice those things while we facilitate that conversation,” Przybelinski said.

Overall the response has been positive, Przybelinski said and each week the camp sent home newsletters so parents or guardians know what skills they’re working on so they can help transfer them outside the camp.