LEND Leadership Project Provides Summer Camp Experience to Children with High Functioning Autism

November 19, 2012

Website Link  http://asdoregon.org

When Misti Moxley realized that her son's high functioning autism diagnosis might keep him from having an overnight summer camp experience, she saw an opportunity, not a barrier. She and her husband founded ASD Oregon, a non-profit organization that hosts the only summer camp specifically for children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders in the Pacific Northwest. While planning the inaugural session of camp, Misti was a family consultant trainee in the LEND program at Oregon Health and Science University's Institute on Development and Disability. Her LEND cohort and the faculty of OHSU's IDD helped to transform Misti's dream into an unforgettable camp experience for over forty children, including Misti's son.

The mission of Camp Quest is to facilitate the kind of summer camp experience that most children enjoy with added support, encouragement, and expertise specifically designed for children with these special needs. Camp activities are designed according to the interests of campers and have included computer programming, science club, and arts and crafts. Though Camp Quest has twice the operating cost of a traditional overnight camp, ASD Oregon keeps it accessible by charging families just half of what it takes to run the camp.

The additional funds are raised through generous sponsors and fundraising events like The Camp Quest 5k Run, which started last Spring as another LEND trainee project supervised by Misti.

Now preparing for its fourth summer, Camp Quest has grown to serve even more families and continues to be a popular leadership experience for LEND trainees. As a LEND alumni, Misti understands the importance of giving trainees a leadership opportunity that not only suits their individual interests but develops their unique leadership skills. Trainees are involved in planning camp activities, coordinating logistics for the 5k run, and serving as camp counselors. The collaboration between current LEND trainees and LEND alumni from OHSU's IDD represents the long-term impact of interdisciplinary training on individual trainees and their communities.