Outcomes and purposes: Autistic young adults will plan and lead a family wilderness camp for autistic children and their families. There are three important outcome areas. The first is for parents – sharing new ideas for how to work with us and giving the families a way to meet each other for support. They will be able to get insight from autistic adults in areas such as setting up a sensory friendly home or communication techniques.
The second is for staff – giving autistic people the benefits of genuine contribution, gaining experience in working with children with complex needs, and giving us a chance to change the dialog about autism to include us. It also gives those planners a transitional work experience, socializing with peers to combat pervasive isolation, and builds a community that goes far beyond what on-line communities can do.
The third outcome is addressing the polarization and politicization in the autism world through facilitated listening and other techniques from high-tension conflict resolution.
Dates: June 10-27, 2022
Pay: The budget is not finalized. but the pay will $500 (possibly more) for helping with the camp, plus some travel assistance, food and lodging. This has been made possible through a grant from NEXT for AUTISM from the proceeds of Color the Spectrum.
Skills needed: Reliability and follow through in tasks, have a genuine interest in the project, willingness to divide up the work and do your part, and ability to de-escalate conflicts by listening to opposing viewpoints. Physical stamina is needed to hike and keep up with active children, and be on call for emergencies. Qualities we will need from at least some of the staff are experience in childcare, experience in autism-specific childcare, and camp/retreat experience (such as cooking and leading games). Additional specialized skills and knowledge can be integrated based on interest of the group. We will also need people who can do video editing and other follow up tasks to publish the experience.