Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta summer camp provides fun, friendship for autistic children – WABE

by Fulton Watch News Feed

When Anna Steers first arrived at Camp You Be You in 2021, she immediately felt at home.

Steers has been a veteran of summer camp and outdoor activities since she was a child, and she has a rich history of working with autistic children.

As an employee of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Marcus Autism Center, she was offered the opportunity to volunteer with Camp You Be You. What was only supposed to be a week of giving back soon transitioned into a new career path.

Steers has been a camp director for over two years. She and her team ensure that everything is ready and waiting for the roughly 60 campers who will arrive at the camp’s Rutledge location site in June.

In partnership with Camp Twin Lakes, a nonprofit that provides year-long camp experiences to children with disabilities, Camp You Be You offers autistic children and teenagers ages 8 to 18 the opportunity to engage in a traditional summer camp experience.

“I can’t tell you the amount of families that email me the week after camp just saying that they finally felt heard, they finally felt seen.”

Anna Steers, camp director at Camp You Be You

For one week every summer, the facility offers sports like archery, tennis and swimming, as well as accommodations for campers with sensory issues and behavioral health resources.

“In the dining hall, we don’t have loud music playing because we know many kids can be sensitive to that,” she said. “For kids who have issues with touch, [for example] if they don’t want to make slime, we don’t make them.”

She notes that each camper is different and that autism does not look the same for any one child — or even adults.

“Every kid, every camper with autism is going to be different, and to not assume that just because one child has a sensitivity towards something means that another child will have that same sensitivity.”  

The camp maintains a 1 to 5 staff-to-camper ratio, with the…

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