Camp Encourage

Kansas City, MO   |  campencourage.org

Mission

The mission of Camp Encourage is to provide youth with autism spectrum disorder meaningful experiences in which they build the knowledge, courage, and skills to be empowered participants in the community.

Ruling year info

2008

Principal Officer

Mrs. Kelly Nicole Lee

Main address

4025 Central Street

Kansas City, MO 64111 USA

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EIN

26-0797076

NTEE code info

Autism (G84)

Recreational and Sporting Camps (Day, Overnight, etc.) (N20)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Summer camp overnight programs for youth with autism spectrum disorder

Camp Encourage provides a safe environment for youth (ages 8 - 18) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) where: abilities are celebrated, campers are comfortable taking risks and trying new adventures, campers grow and become more socially confident and independent, and the necessary supports are in place to meet their needs. Our overnight summer camp sessions last four days and three nights. With all of our camp sessions, we combine a mixture of traditional camp activities such as horseback riding, arts and crafts, fishing, singing around the campfire,  and swimming with additional activities throughout the day that are individualized according to each camper’s needs and abilities. Past offerings have included photography, videography, Lego construction, theater, chess, art, and music therapy. Individual camper needs are met throughout the day (and often, night), and may include positive behavioral supports, frequent sensory breaks, and other individualized supports and instruction.

Population(s) Served

Camp Encourage provides a safe environment for youth (ages 8 - 18) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) where: abilities are celebrated, campers are comfortable taking risks and trying new adventures, campers grow and become more socially confident and independent, and the necessary supports are in place to meet their needs. Our Overnight weekend sessions last two days and one night.  We combine a mixture of traditional camp activities (depending on the season) such as horseback riding, arts and crafts, fishing, and singing around the campfire with activities throughout the day that are individualized according to each camper’s needs and abilities. Choice activities that allow campers to pick activities based on their interests and abilities, rather than having to participate in activities they may not like or cannot do. This also reduces the instances of negative behavior, and allows our campers to meet, interact with, and make friends with other individuals who have similar interests.

Population(s) Served

CONNECTIONS are well-designed and structured social opportunities tailored to support campers with ASD. With quality evidence-based supports and trained professionals, campers gather, connect, grow, are encouraged, and learn from one another in a family-like, accepting atmosphere in the greater Kansas City area. Activities will vary but the messages will be clear: You are enough, you are capable, and you are loved. Sample activities that occur within the community may include: art based activities, music based activities, navigating through the city on public transportation, dining out, bowling, fishing, playing structured games, team building, activities focused on enhancing self-esteem, attending sports games, and nature based activities.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Studies show the benefits of overnight camp opportunities include: creating a greater sense of independence as youth learn to do more things on their own without the help of their parents or caretaker, connecting with individuals who have similar interests, having a sense of belonging, feeling free to “be who you truly are,” increasing social skills, and trying new things. For youth with ASD who require additional supports and structured activities, opportunities for overnight camp experiences are sparse. A lack of recreational services and overnight camp opportunities for these youth puts a greater strain on families who often already feel the stress of their situations. Many campers come to Camp Encourage having never spent the night away from home; many parents have never had the opportunity to have an evening out, let alone a night or three of respite away from a child who requires additional attention. This has a tendency to affect not only the parents and siblings, but also their larger families, peers, co-workers, and surrounding community. We have a goal to meet that need—to support families with quality care, to empower youth with ASD and to give those served the support and confidence needed long after camp has ended. It is our goal that campers with ASD: Increase skills of independenceIncrease one’s own personal self-esteem, self-understanding and awarenessIncrease social abilities and connectionsIncrease awareness of recreation opportunities and skills of recreationThese goals are broken down in detail with measurable objectives and evaluation methods. We strive to provide a place where each camper: feels proud about who he or she is, can shine by exhibiting his or her talents, is able to share positive experiences with others with similar interests and abilities, can connect and keep in touch with new friends, and knows that there is a place where judgments and teasing are absent. Being able to extend this opportunity to additional families and children is needed and would be great growth toward the continuation of extending the services of Camp Encourage.

After each camp session, Camp Encourage measures the effectiveness of its programming and its mission through an online survey. Through the years, professionals have assisted Camp Encourage in strengthening the survey to yield relevant and telling results. Parents, campers, peer model campers, and volunteers provide input against each goal and regarding general details we believe are important when providing a quality service for youth with ASD. We are hoping the results reveal that each camper gains increased confidence, skills of independence, and self-acceptance. Further, it is our intention to create successful social connections, build relationships, and introduce campers to recreational activities they may not otherwise be exposed to. Through the experience, we also hope to provide parents with much needed respite.The surveys are qualitative (getting valuable heart-tugging remarks) but also quantitative in that a 4 point Likert Scale is used. Results are evaluated to ensure quality.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    The programming growth that we have had through the years is most certainly tied to feedback from those involved in our mission. From large decisions regarding growth direction to the tiniest of details, every ounce of input is valuable and shapes discussions, reflections, and future planning.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Some goals we target are difficult to QUANTIFY. However, we are creative and outcomes are meaningful,

Financials

Camp Encourage
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Camp Encourage

Board of directors
as of 8/17/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Stephanie Bond

Sarah North

Community Volunteer

Yumiko Robinson

Community Volunteer

Julius Karash

Julius Karash Communications

Kaye Otten

Assistant Professor of Special Education: University of Central Missouri

Sarah Otto

Case Management Services, Inc. and UMKC School of Special Education

Brian Henke

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Jeannie DeVeney

Littler Mendelson

Madison Holcomb

Staci Mathes

Lee’s Summit School District

Justin Farmer

MMGY Global