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    Established in 1971, the Autism Society of Minnesota is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to education, advocacy and support designed to enhance the lives of those affected by autism from birth through retirement.
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    In partnership with area businesses and organizations, AuSM is pleased to offer monthly opportunities for families and individuals with autism to come together and enjoy fun activities in supportive, welcoming environments.

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  • AuSM's 2015 summer camps - it's an AuSM wrap!
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AuSM's 2015 summer camps - it's an AuSM wrap!

ausm camp logo WEBFor nearly four decades, AuSM's summer camps have offered excitement and adventure to individuals with autism. The 2015 summer camp season has come to a close, but the memories made will carry on for years to come. We are pleased to share this AuSM summer camp recap. (Don't miss the clips music video at the end of the article!)

ausm camp logo WEBFor nearly four decades, AuSM's summer camps have offered excitement and adventure to individuals with autism. The 2015 summer camp season has come to a close, but the memories made will carry on for years to come. We are pleased to share this AuSM summer camp recap. (Don't miss the clips music video at the end of the article!)

AuSM's day camp, Wahode, included two sessions held at Camp Butwin in Eagan. Wahode is the place where our youngest campers, boys and girls ages 6-12, come together, make friends, and have fun. Campers swam, climbed, played with legos, explored nature, and made music. Campers also participated in daily sessions of occupational and music therapy with counselors. 

Wahode campers were a buzz with excitement on their way to a newly added field trip to the Minnesota Zoo. Campers loved the animals and the amazing connections they made. 

A mom of a first time camper said, "I want to thank you so much for making my daughter feel welcome! She came home and told me that this was the first time in her life that she felt accepted for who she was, and that she made friends who were just like her. It made me cry." 

Camp Hand in Hand, AuSM's largest camp, included four sessions that ran over four weeks during the summer. Each Hand in Hand camper received one-to-one attention from counselors, making it great place to build friendships and try new things. 

After her daughter returned from a session of Hand in Hand, AuSM therapist Tamara Phillips said, "Camp Hand in Hand is the absolute best part of my daughter's summer. We are very appreciative."  

Many Hand in Hand campers come back year after year with amazing stories of growth. One young man, a multi-year Hand in Hand camper, took a risk this year and bravely rode a horse for the first time.

The age range for Sessions 1 and 3 of Camp Hand in Hand expanded this year to include adults with autism. Staff, volunteers, parents, and campers who previously had "aged out" of AuSM camps were thrilled with the expanded age range. The oldest camper was 43, a first time camper who greatly enjoyed all of the activities. Some campers had such a good time that their siblings called up and asked if they could work at the following Hand in Hand sessions.

Camp Discovery had an amazing year, celebrating its 20th anniversary with two camp sessions and one week of Extreme Adventure. Not only did campers get the typical camp experience of swimming, biking, hiking, arts and crafts, and canoeing, but they also got personal attention from mentoring adults with ASD. Discovery also included small interest groups focused on history, science, cooking, arts, animals and nature, survival skills, games, fishing, robotics, and fitness and recreation. Highlights included dissecting a squid, building a lego robot, and some amazing LARPing (live action role playing) during which campers made their own characters and costumes to complete quests.

AuSM's 2015 summer camps were a great success. We are grateful to staff, counselors, volunteers, families, and our brave, adventurous campers. Can't wait to do it all again next year!

Click here to view a short music video of Hand in Hand and Wahode campers enjoying camp activities.