'Sensory camp' saved for Vancouver kids

'Sensory camp' saved for Vancouver kids


by Tracy Barry and KGW.com Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @tracybarrynews


Posted on August 14, 2012 at 5:41 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 15 at 6:33 AM

Finding the perfect summer camp for your kids can be tough. But if your child has autism or other special needs it's next to impossible.

So when a special camp in Vancouver was cut from the budget, a group of moms rallied.

Water fights in the afternoon sun. The sound of kids having fun, and making friends.

Facebook: Save sensory camp

"We do all the same fun stuff that other camps do. But this camp is for children with autism and other special needs," Leader Lauren Mizrahi said.

For kids who can find regular camps too loud, too crowded, just to have a place that they love and to be accepted it's really a powerful thing.

At sensory camp they find small groups, structure and attention. Lots of attention.

When Vancouver-Clark parks and rec had to make deep budget cuts this spring, sensory camp was canceled.

"Very much despair, that's the word for it. Despair," mom April Sutherland said.

While the parents understood, they were distraught. Because for their children, there were no other options. They faced with a summer of isolation.

"They can't go play outside by themselves, they can't ride on bikes with their friends," mom Beth Pederson said.

A handful of the mom's set out to save the camp.They cut costs and sold bracelets. The brother of one camper even got his band, known as Anonymous, to put on a benefit concert.

And to their own amazement, the frantic fundraising paid off.

Within 26 days, they came up with $27,400 - enough money to make sure the songs and splashes, fun and friendships continue for one more summer.

"This is the only place he can go and have friends and be safe, it's just a wonderful camp," mom Sara Brandon said.