Based at YMCA Camp Copneconic in Fenton, POWER Camp is a summer day camp exclusively tailored to those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In 2018 we will celebrate our 8th year! POWER Camp was developed to help expand the capabilities, confidence, and social experiences of youth with autism. The program includes "Peer Buddies" who are typically developing children aged 10-15 who serve as a friend and mentor to campers with autism. Led by adults with specialized ASD training and supported by "junior counselors", the camp encourages fun, learning and social interaction in a supportive and loving setting.
The ASRC, in partnership with our trusted friends at YMCA Camp Copneconic, provides a tailored one-week summer day-camp experience for children with a confirmed ASD diagnosis. The ASRC is pleased to offer this twice during the summer! POWER Camp is also proud to offer the Counselor In Training (C.I.T.) program for ASD teens wishing to secure employment with YMCA Camp Copneconic in the future. Click here to learn more about this amazing employment training opportunity!
Where and when is camp held? POWER Camp is held at YMCA Camp Copneconic. They are located at 10407 N. Fenton Rd, Fenton, MI 48430. Camp is held approximately from 8:30am-3:30pm Monday-Thursday. An optional overnight is offered during one of the weeks. Dates will be announced by February each year.
When is registration? Registration will be available by March and is on a first come, first serve basis. Required items for registration include completed enrollment form, signed waiver, completed health intake form, copy of full IEP or psychological evaluation and full payment by June 1st. NO EXCEPTIONS. Refund policy is noted on application.
Who can attend? POWER Camp is open to campers with a confirmed ASD diagnosis who are ages 7-18. ***NEW TO CAMP IN 2017*** Young adults who have higher needs and are not yet functionally independent (ex. students enrolled in Elmer Knopf or similar programs for those up to age 26) may also enroll, but contact the ASRC first to determine if camp is a good fit.
Diagnosis is confirmed by school IEP, psychological evaluation or medical diagnosis. In an effort to make it an inclusive experience, we also incorporate typically developing Peer Buddies ages 10-15 who come recommended from their teachers based on their ability to mentor and be a good friend to those with autism.
What activities are offered? Your child may engage in the following types of activities. All activities are supervised by Camp Copneconic staff as well as ASRC professional volunteers. Life jackets are provided and required for certain water activities. You will have an opportunity to tell us about your child's swimming ability in the registration packet.
Arts and Crafts
Does POWER Camp serve the whole autism spectrum? The activities are all planned so participants can access them regardless of where they are on the spectrum. Campers can have lower or higher needs and can be verbal or non verbal. We do ask that campers are toilet trained. We can offer assistance with dressing and we are able to offer verbal prompting to walk them through their routine, but we are unable to physically wipe. Camp provides a wonderful and well supervised environment for our ASD youth, however, we are a non-restraint program. Along with that comes potential dangers for those who frequently elope such as open woods, water areas, and access to main roads. Campers who need 1:1 assistance throughout the entire day (either because they are in danger of running away, need physical assistance for most activities, or who are routinely aggressive to themselves and others) might not be a good fit for our program. Please contact us to see if this program is a good fit for your child’s specific needs.
How are campers grouped? Campers are reviewed by our professional staff of educators and social workers. Based on their clinical profile they are carefully placed into groups of about 3- 6 campers, depending on level of need. They are joined by 2-4 peer buddies, again depending on level of need of the campers. Campers and Peer Buddies may request to be placed together in a group.
Who leads the campers and peer buddies throughout the day? Typically we keep our camper:adult ratio at 2:1. Camp Copneconic has 2 of their counselors who are the "camp experts". They provide instructions on the activities offered each day. They have received autism training and many have worked at POWER Camp in the past. The ASRC also has approximately 2-4 adult counselors in each group. These adults are professionals who work with the ASD population. Professions include special education teachers, OTs, SLPs, social workers, paraprofessionals and respite workers. Many of our volunteers return each year and some have been with the program since it's inception. We also encourage Junior Counselors (JCs) to apply to our program. JCs are typically developing students age 16-18 who come recommended to POWER Camp due to demonstrated leadership within their school environment. Often times, they are in programs in their high-school that help support those with autism. All adult leaders undergo a background check. What should we bring? Campers must arrive at camp having already eaten breakfast. Camp provides a morning and afternoon snack and lunch and water is readily available. Menus will be provided in advance of camp. Gluten free options are available. Children are permitted to bring their own lunch/snacks that are NUT-FREE (this includes Nutella). The following is list of items to make it a successful experience.
Tennis shoes required. No flip flops or crocs
One piece swimsuit required (or wear a tshirt if a 2 piece). Tankini’s are considered 1 piece
Backpack for extra change of clothes and supplies
Watershoes (not required, but some children find them useful if they don't like the feel of the lake floor)
The overnight is a fun experience for campers. It is recommended that the child have successful overnight experience prior to trying it at camp for the first time. If your child is staying overnight, please provide the following additional items:
fitted sheet or sleeping bag
toothbrush & toothpaste
extra change of clothes
comfort items such a stuffed animals or other "lovies"