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A Week of Camp for Children with Autism or other Medical Needs

Item # 66539

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Help give a child with autism or other medical needs a magical week of happiness at camp!

Many children with a diagnosis like autism, sickle cell disease, hemophilia, or asthma cannot attend a typical summer camp because they need specialized support. It's difficult for a traditional camp to provide expensive medical support or a specially trained staff. Too often, kids with a diagnosis stay at home all summer and miss out on the independence, confidence, and friendships that other children find at an overnight summer camp.

Dragonfly Forest was established to provide a week of summer camp to children with autism or special medical needs. Located in Eastern Pennsylvania, this program has a 24-hour medical team, specially trained counselors, and an array of activities. All kids attending Dragonfly Forest can ride the zip line, roast marshmallows, go swimming and laugh with their new friends! Their program is donation supported—allowing children of all socioeconomic backgrounds to attend. Families of children with autism or other medical needs already have to bear the high cost of medical bills, support staff, and individual therapy for their children. Additional funding is needed to give financial assistance to kids who need it most.

You can help. Just $15 covers the cost of food for one child at one day of camp. Help kids with autism or other medical needs feel special at Dragonfly Forest!

Make your donation of $5 or more an ongoing gift by checking the "Make this a Monthly Gift" box and you will help fund camp for children with Autism, each and every month.

Update from the Field

March 2017

In 2016 over 290 children and teenagers with autism and medical needs went through the innovative summer camp program. Over 79% of the children who attended in 2015 returned to attend in 2016! Only 60% of their overall attendees were returners, which means the team effectively recruited over 100 new children and teenagers to join the program! The funds provided by the Greater Good Grant helped them get close to their goals and provide an affordable (or in many cases, free) camp experience for some of the most vulnerable and deserving people: children with a developmental or medical need that they will manage and live with for a lifetime. Children like Torey (pictured left with a camp counselor). Torey interviewed her mother Susan about the impact this program had on her. Torey has attended both the session for children with autism and the session for children with asthma over the past four years. Here's an excerpt from that interview:

Donkey Sanctuary 1

Torey: What was I like before I went to Dragonfly?
Susan: You weren't as vocal as you are now. When you went to Dragonfly, it just took you out of this shell that you were in. You were quiet. You kept to yourself. You didn't like people. You shut down. You didn’t really like to talk to a lot of people but after that first summer of Dragonfly, it just opened you up. You were a while new girl. You weren't shy anymore. You were outgoing. You were proud of yourself. You actually went on stage, which is something you never ever did before.
Torey: I remember that moment. It was so hard for me to do that.
Susan: Dragonfly helped you do that!
Torey: And now I love performing!

June 2016

Thanks to your support, Dragonfly Forest continues to give children a magical experience at summer camp. Recently, Dragonfly Forest shared with us testimonials from fellow camper Landon, who has had the best experience at summer camp every year he's attended.

Landon is one of our campers with 22Q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. Also known as 22Q. This syndrome has developmental similarities to autism, however it has many possible health conditions associated with it including cleft palate, heart abnormalities, digestion issue, and more. Landon has attended Dragonfly Forest for many year and his mom had this to say:

"First time at camp...he went wearing diapers and came home NOT wearing diapers. Second time at camp...he left sleeping in our room and come home sleeping in his bed. Third time at camp...Landon always needed help to clean up..now he does it on his own...even brushing his teeth. Woo hoo!"


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