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KOC Autism Programs

The Kinark Outdoor Centre (KOC) offers a variety of adapted traditional camp experiences and enhanced respite opportunities for children, teens and young adults on the autism spectrum. Each year, we have space for approximately 400 families in our core autism respite programs. All families are different and are made up of different types of people, and at the KOC, they all share a common story related to a child’s autism diagnosis. Many of our visiting families have experienced some fear and some grief as they start on their treatment journey. We strive to bring families together in a low stimulus, non-judgmental, and supported environment. 

There are fewer opportunities for directly funded programs at the KOC. All of our programs have fee-for-service capacity. A significant portion of the fee is reimbursable with receipt under the Ontario Autism Program (OAP). Additionally, the KOC autism respite programs are eligible for purchase through OAP funding. For more information about the OAP, please visit the Ministry’s website. 

If you are planning to attend a program at the KOC, understand that the facility is a camp, and not a resort; that trying new things and new food pays off with new skills and new memories; and that meeting other families like your own can be empowering. 

Not all families are ready for respite; and this type of immersive family experience is not for every family. The program coordinators at the camp will explain the program opportunities at the camp and help you decide if this is the right place at the right time. 

The autism camp opportunities and the link to register are below. If you have any questions, please contact our office by calling 1-705-320-0045 or by emailing info@koc.on.ca.

Autism Family Camp

 

Our Family Camp program is for the whole family. Families stick together as a family unit, and parents care for their children throughout the entire program. There is no one-to-one respite component to this program. The Family Camp program is a great opportunity for families to get away for a fun family vacation in a well-supported and inclusive environment. All families attending the program have at least one child diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Throughout the camp, there are many activities and options offered by the KOC staff, including but not limited to: high ropes and rock climbing, archery, guided hikes, sensory gardens, family game time, arts and crafts, and waterfront activities (season depending) such as: swimming, canoeing, kayaking, pontoon boat rides, fishing, sand castle building, and a sauna! 

The cost for this program is $1,575 per family for the 4-day, 3-night program. The cost includes all of your meals, accommodations, and activities. A $475.00 deposit is due upon registration to hold your space in the program. This program is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Click here to see a sample schedule of the family camp.

Click here to register for an autism camp program. If you have any questions, please contact our Program Supervisor, Michelle Durst at michelle.durst@kinark.on.ca or by calling 705-320-0045. 

Autism Summer Camp (Returning in Summer 2023)

 

This unique recreational program is geared to children and youth on the autism spectrum aged 9 to 18+ years of age.?Supported by a specialized team of outdoor educators, campers experience the joys of summer camp in a small group setting that focuses on individual strengths. As a strength-based recreational program, the KOC Autism Summer Camp builds on the interests and abilities of each camper, while encouraging campers to explore peer relationships, step out of their comfort zone, and learn about themselves by using the principles of challenge by choice. During the summer camp, our staff provide ongoing support facilitating personal growth through task completion, a secure learning environment in which to try new things and clearly defined expectations – all with an individualized focus. Our campers enjoy and try many activities during their visits, some of the many scheduled activities include: high ropes courses, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, archery, arts and crafts, campfires and much more. 

Prior to the camp experience a member of our coordinator team will meet with potential campers and their families to ensure that everyone is adequately prepared for the summer camp adventure. 

This overnight, all-inclusive 5-day, 4-night summer camp program is $2,250. This program is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. A $700.00 deposit is required to register. 

Click here to register for an autism camp program. If you have any questions, please contact our office by calling 1-705-320-0045 or by emailing info@koc.on.ca.

Young Adults Autism Program – New Program

 

The Young Adult Program is for late teens and young adults between the ages of 14-17 and 18-25. The program aims to help campers learn and practice independent life skills in a peer supported environment with mentorship and care provided by KOC outdoor educator staff. It is a respite opportunity for parents and these young adults to gain life skills, leadership, volunteer, mental well-being and mentorship opportunities while also having a break from home in a social recreation environment.  

This program is offered as a 5-day model, on a monthly basis, with a 1:2 staffing ratio (6 participants and 3 staff). Participants will engage in meal prep and opportunities to cook with our chef, planning and leading activities, facilitated group adventure, and social recreation time. Best of all, laundry will be complete prior to returning home! 

Prior to the camp experience, a member of our coordinator team will meet with potential campers and their families to ensure that everyone is adequately prepared for this summer camp adventure. 

This overnight, all-inclusive 5-day, 4-night summer camp program is $2,250.00. This program is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. A $700.00 deposit is required to register. 

Click here to register for an autism camp program. If you have any questions, please contact our office by calling 1-705-320-0045 or by emailing info@koc.on.ca.

Autism Family Respite

 

This program is a two-night program for the whole family and is a mix of both respite periods and family time together. Your child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis will be paired with one of our staff during the respite periods. At this time, other members of your family have the opportunity to enjoy our sibling and parent programs respectively. As a parent, you have the opportunity to use your respite time however you feel it would benefit you most. You may choose to join the parent’s program to network and participate in fun activities with other parents, or you may want to use your respite time to sleep, read a book, or go for a drive. The other portion of this program is family options. During family options, family members stay together as a unit to participate in some of the fun and challenging activities the KOC has to offer. Family options give your family the opportunity to try new things together and have fun while being in a supported environment. 

This 3-day, 2-night program is offered at a cost of $1,500 per family. Families with more than one child with ASD will be charged an additional $300 per additional 1:1 staff required for the respite program. 

Please consider the suitability of this program in a remote camp environment before applying, and contact Michelle Durst at michelle.durst@kinark.on.ca if you have any questions. 

Click here to see a sample schedule of the Autism Family Respite camp

Autism Respite Camp – New Program

 

The Autism Respite Camp combines the program opportunities of the family camp program with some dedicated support for your family during transitions and meals. Some built in respite time will also be scheduled for parents although at a lesser amount than in the Autism Family Respite Program. Less staff intensive than the family respite program, but more staff resourcing than the family camp vacation. 

This 3-day, 2-night program is offered at a cost of $950 per family.

Please consider the suitability of this program in a remote camp environment before applying, and contact Michelle Durst at michelle.durst@kinark.on.ca if you have any questions.