Camp Argo
 

 

 


 Autism Inclusion Program


Our Autism Inclusion Program, which will be serving the needs of campers on the Autism Spectrum, is new this summer.  With your generosity, we will be able to support the hiring of staff that are educated & professionally trained to work with campers with special needs.  We hope to also acquire equipment & supplies that promote occupational & physical therapy as well as fun interactive games that will help us encourage social interaction among other campers.  To ensure that we can provide a safe environment with adequate resources WE NEED YOUR HELP!  
 

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Our Mission

 

Camp Argo's Autism Inclusion Program is prepared to provide your child with a safe, supportive and nurturing learning environment in a traditional camp setting.  There will be numerous summer camp programs to choose from, but for families with children on the autism spectrum, sometimes options are limited.  It is even more challenging to find a program that fits the needs of families who have neurotypical children and children on the spectrum. This is why, at Camp Argo, we strive to accommodate campers with different learning and social abilities.  Camp Argo is a place where siblings can come together to enjoy the benefits of a summer camp experience.  Camp Argo is confident that the low counselor/camper ratio (1:3, 1:2 and in some cases 1:1), visual schedules, flexible programming, and special activities that support individual skills (for example: archery, fishing, low ropes course, canoeing, nature walks, music and yoga) will help your child have a fun-filled week and finish their summer with memories & friendships to last a lifetime!

 

        

 

 

A Brief Overview

Camp Argo is one of a kind, in terms of accommodating both full day children on the spectrum, as well as those who will be receiving summer services from their school districts. Children enrolled in Extended School Year (ESY), will be able to join us during lunch time, and enjoy a wonderful afternoon filled with a variety of activities such as art, canoeing, hiking, archery and so much more.
 

Camp Argo understands that some children with autism can struggle in large social groups, become anxious when asked to participate in group games, and can sometimes have a difficult time when their sensory needs are getting in the way. The camp staff will all gone through extensive staff training and will be able to address the unique needs of the campers by redirecting their energy into a preferred/predetermined and still engaging camp activity. Camp Argo is here to support your children and guide them along the way, so that all campers leave feeling motivated and proud of the challenges they overcame that day. At Camp Argo, we are continually designing, customizing, and updating our program so that your child will flourish. Camp Argo  focuses on developing social skills, promoting positive relationships and strengthening self-esteem.  Camp Argo’s hope is to provide your child with their own tool kit by highlighting their strengths to help them to conquer previously challenging activities and social scenarios.

With our limited enrollment, we are able to maintain close personal contact with families from the meet & greet, admissions process and throughout the summer. We encourage the campers to develop meaningful bonds with their counselors and fellow campers.  We are aware that self-confidence can grow, therefore, we support all appropriate methods of encouragement, even something as simple as a “high-five”.   We expect that our amazing staff promote confidence by focusing on our campers’ strengths and interests.  We also keep our parents informed weekly by phone or email contact and written summaries at the end of the summer.  We are hopeful that our campers build on those relationships by returning year after year, strengthening our community as they continue to grow.

What to Expect 

Safety for your child is our top priority this summer.  We understand that our counselor to camper ratio is an important concern for our parents.  We will provide the most personal ratio possible based on the needs of your child (1:3, 1:2 or 1:1 if necessary).  This is another reason why it is crucial for us to personally meet before the session begins and understand what we can do to make your child succeed.

A typical day will have numerous breaks between activities and rest/quiet times.  Our professional autism staff realizes the benefits of both physical and occupational therapy methods, and are prepared to incorporate these in a “campy”, fun way within the daily camp schedule.   

Our program is designed to provide a chance for real life experiences and learning new skills while meeting new friends.   Our camp program offers a safe and fun environment that includes the following:

  • Visual supports that enhance language comprehension and prediction
  • Low camper-to-counselor ratio
  • Trained, highly skilled staff
  • Sensory-based activities that enhance a camper’s ability to take advantage of language and communication opportunities
  • Structured teaching methods
  • Relaxation techniques that enhance self-regulation
  • Self-help routines are incorporated into camp activities as appropriate
  • Staff and program content that supports play skills, social skills and participation in group activities
  • Camp facilities (such as the shallow water front & streams and nature trails) offer opportunities for natural gross motor activities that satisfy sensory needs and encourage communication
  • Traditional camp activities like archery, canoeing, fishing, arts and crafts, and nature walks

 

 

 


 

 

Your Child Will Succeed
in This Program!

 

We will have a customized & consistent schedule based on your child's specific abilities.  To do this we want to meet you and your camper before the start of the session, so that we can learn more about your child and his/her needs.  

We value the interaction and learning opportunities each camper will have with other campers.  One of our focuses will be the buddy system.  Allowing your camper to be paired with other campers which will help them develop their social interaction throughout the session.  We feel that by doing this, we can improve social awareness and acceptance of everyone both at camp and in the community.  Camp Argo has a non-bully zone and our continued focus will be for all campers to demonstrate behaviors that HERO's exhibit daily, such as compassion and acceptance.  

Please reach out to the Camp Argo office immediately so that we can schedule a private meeting to better understand the needs of your child.  Your input and support will help Camp Argo provide the most engaging camp environment for your child to thrive! 


 

Our Personal Relationship With You -
How It All Began

 

The Camp Argo Director Jason Nevis and his wife Courtney welcome new & returning families and campers, including those on the autism spectrum.   
 
Courtney and I feel very blessed to have our spunky daughter, Maggie (7.5yrs) and two boys on the autism spectrum, John (5yrs) and Beau (2.5yrs). Magnolia (aka Maggie) is finishing up an amazing school year in first grade at Turkey Hill School, and has developed a love of reading that still amazes us. Combined with her huge energy, quest for adventure, love of great white sharks and icky snakes, passion for art, and her silly social personality, Maggie has been a great older sister and role model for the boys who are both high-functioning. As our very first camper, Maggie is excited to continue honing her skills at archery and exploring new challenges such as canoeing, while meeting new friends.

John who is entering Kindergarten next fall at Mary L. Tracy School, is our wanderer, following things we may not always see. He is anxious around a group of people, and calms himself by scripting Pixar movies or reciting Pete The Cat books. His memory is fascinating, his love of books is tremendous, and his heart is so big. With guidance, routines and schedules, John is opening up, thriving in school, and taking on new challenges both socially and with self-help skills. This year will be his first summer at camp, and he can’t wait.

Beau, who’s our little “tank” and too young for camp yet, will still make his boisterous appearances throughout the summer. Beau has Sensory Processing Disorder, and is constantly seeking deep pressure, and stimulating experiences. He loves to wrestle, climb, dump his toys, and charge into every room with boundless energy. He currently has no speech, but is responding terrifically to the therapies we are providing him. Beau’s deep pressure needs combined with his loving personality is all a parent needs when he runs to us with open arms, and the tightest hugs and kisses one could ask for.

All three of our children have talents and abilities that we are so proud of, and all have moments of challenges.  As parents, we were searching for a traditional summer program that could accommodate all of our kiddos, so they can gain similar summer experiences. Realistically, we too understand how difficult it is to juggle busy schedules. To have a camp where all of our children can come, enjoy, thrive and leave together as a family, was a place we needed to create.

This is why we know the Camp Argo Autism Inclusion Program will be so beneficial to the community.  It is being created around the needs of families like ours that are in search of balance, normalcy and adventure that we grew up knowing as kids. Our top priority for our children is safety first and foremost. And being able to customize a program that will provide the benefits of occupational and physical therapies disguised as camp games and activities, sets our mind at ease that our children will not fall behind during the summer months. Our hope is to allow our children on the spectrum to learn social skills from their peers, and break down the barriers that so often prevent them from participating in everyday life activities.

Early on, when Beau was just born and John was first diagnosed, my wife found it easier and safer to keep the boys home. The stress level was high whenever we had to go out, whether that be to the store, the park, birthday parities or if we were invited to the aquarium with our extended family – crowds terrified us. Courtney and I felt alone tackling this huge responsibility, and struggling to keep our children safe whenever we’d leave the house. Accompanied with meltdowns that created awful scenes in public, and the personal challenge of ignoring the stares, my wife immersed herself in reading about children on the spectrum so that we could approach this new life we found ourselves in, in a more appropriate and healthy way. Knowing that we were not providing a stimulating environment for our children to fall, make mistakes, and learn from the everyday hustle of the world outside our door, we chose to make a change. Camp Argo will be a place our children can one day, reflect back and see the ways in which they were provided a safe environment to develop socially, mentally, and physically, while making lifelong memories. 

Camp Argo has always been about family, friendships, and bringing the community together at one location.  We invite you to be part of this journey with us! 
 
Jason Nevis
Camp Argo Director