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 330 families in our three 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 non-judgmental and supported environment.
There are opportunities for both funded and fee-for-service programs for children with autism and their families at the KOC.
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 Autism Program Supervisor, Leslie MacLachlan.
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 $1000.00 per family for the 4-day, 3-night program. The cost includes all of your meals, accommodations and activities. A $300.00 deposit is due upon registration to hold your space in the program. This program is filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Autism Summer Camp
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 $2,050.00. This program is filled on a first-come, first-served basis. A $700.00 deposit is required to register.
Autism Family Respite; Lottery and Fee-For-Service
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 gives your family the opportunity to try new things together and have fun while being in a supported environment.
Funded spaces in the Autism Family Respite lottery
There is no cost for families to attend the Autism Family Respite. As space is limited, a random draw process will be used to select families who wish to attend. Registration is now open, and will close on February 2nd, 2020. Families will be notified of their application status by February 10th, 2020.
The lottery is a partnership between Kinark Child and Family Services and the Ontario Autism Program (OAP) to provide services to families registered with the OAP and waiting for behavioural services.
Please consider the suitability of this program in a remote camp environment before applying, and email Leslie.MacLachlan@kinark.on.ca if you have any questions.
Click here to register for an autism camp program.
Fee-for-service Autism Family Respite program
This year, the KOC has extended the Autism Family Respite program to also be available for families at subsidized rate!
Autism Family Support
Similar to our popular Autism Family Respite program, Kinark Outdoor Centre offers another three-day, two-night, onsite intensive program: the Autism Family Support program. It is designed to build and strengthen critical skills, reduce family stress, strengthen supports and family bonds, and foster continued wellness for families of children with autism. Throughout the program, siblings, parents and children with autism will receive individualized attention and programming to support the needs of each family. Families come together to build social supports and a sense of shared values, interests, and companionship with others in attendance.
Offered at our camp facility just north of Minden, Ontario, this program is sure to meet the needs of your family and offer some fun in a new environment too!
Each program has a maximum capacity of six families. Full food service, one-room cabin accommodation per family, and program equipment provided.
KOC’s autism respite programs are eligible for purchase through an Ontario Autism Program (OAP) Childhood Budget, as well as, the recent interim one-time funding for families on the waitlist who have not yet received a Childhood Budget. For more information about the OAP, please visit the Ministry’s website.