Autism Spectrum Disorders
Ages 14 – 17
The Insight program provides an appropriate challenge for teens with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Within the adventure program model, teenagers learn how to work effectively as a team toward a goal. They are guided by staff to improve communication skills and learn to rely on both themselves and their peers. Emphasis is also placed on personal responsibility, respectful self-expression, and appropriate risk-taking, as our teens move toward young adulthood.
Each activity is introduced in a gradual and encouraging way, and geared toward the beginner. The small groups get to know each other through initiatives and games, as well as together learning a variety of outdoor sports and camping skills. They learn to rely on each other while hiking, paddling and camping out, both on and off our campus. Between activities, plenty of downtime is scheduled for resting, relaxing, and informal socializing.
Teenagers with Autism must navigate the same adolescent social world as their peers, without the same internal GPS. This can cause frustration and low self-esteem. Within the Insight program, we support friendship-building and social communication through coaching, modeling, and group discussions. The connection between freedom and responsibility is learned through chores, trip preparation, setting up campsite, and working as a group to accomplish goals. Campers practice resolving issues through our group-supported problem-solving sessions. They learn how to advocate for themselves to more effectively meet their own needs.
Insight groups are frequently on the go; they go rock-climbing, tree-climbing, whitewater inflatable kayaking and camping. They also participate in archery, hatchet-throwing, arts and crafts, science lab and swimming and canoeing on-campus. They go on several mountain hikes and camp out for 3 nights, which they prepare for by learning how to set up a tarp, pack gear, safely store food, and manage daily hygiene in the woods while Leaving No Trace. Down time is built in to every day as well, allowing our teens time to relax, process the day, and socialize in their cabin.