Hand in Hand


Camp Hand in Hand is held at Camp Knutson, north of Brainerd in Crosslake, Minn. on a peninsula between Trout Lake and Lower Whitefish Lake. This serene camp location features beautiful woodland settings with modern air-conditioned cabins and bathrooms. All of Camp Knutson’s facilities have been either newly renovated or recently built, including the addition of a large recreation center. Nutritious meals are served in a group dining room.

Activities include swimming, boating, tubing, horseback riding, fishing, crafts, archery, nature exploration, biking, and music groups led by a board-certified music therapist. Activities focus on social interaction and communication. The camp also offers a small ropes course, paddleboats, and canoes for additional fun. Evenings include themed activities, snacks, and time to relax.

AuSM-trained camp counselors and experienced program staff carefully plan and maintain a well-run, relaxed, and rewarding camp experience.

Camp Hand in Hand Directors

Sarah Hauer is entering into her 20th camping season with the Autism Society of Minnesota. She began her Camp Hand in Hand journey as a camp counselor, progressed into the program staff role, and the last four years as a co-director. Camp has inspired the trajectory of her professional career. She currently is in her 13th year working in education, her 10th year as Special Education Teacher and Case Manager, and fifth year as an elementary school teacher within the Centennial school district. Sarah has worked extensively with youth with autism and emotional behavior disorders, and she has been honing her skills in building relationships, addressing needs, and ensuring all will thrive in a safe, supportive environment.

Dustin Suggs is proud to continue co-directing Camp Hand-In-Hand with Sarah Hauer. They believe their strengths and passions are good counterpoints to each other, contributing to the overall success of camp each year. Dustin started as a counselor at Camp Hand in Hand in 2001. That experience inspired him to begin working in adult vocational training, group homes, and school systems while completing his M.Ed. in Special Education. Dustin has been a licensed teacher at Lionsgate Academy, working as a Transitions Case Manager, Foundations Math/Science Teacher, and currently as a Resource Room Case Manager. Prior to Camp Hand-In-Hand, Dustin did not know the joy, perspective on life, and personal growth he could gain from working with the autistic community. Sometimes he tells people the only reason he went into teaching was to keep coming to camp; sometimes people think he’s joking.

Camp Knutson Website


Camp Knutson
1148 Manhattan Pt. Blvd.
Crosslake, MN 56442


The cost of one camp session (five days) will be $1,999 in 2024.


Hand in Hand #1 (ages 18-23) – June 19th-23rd
Hand in Hand #2 (ages 14-17) – June 25th-29th
Hand in Hand #3 (ages 10-13) – August 5th-9th
Hand in Hand #4 (ages 24+) – August 11th-15th

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