Even though Radford University's annual Summer RiteCare© Clinic hasn't begun yet, director Diane Millar already knows what the end result of the camp will be–lessons that will last a lifetime, families brought closer together and a renewed sense of living life to the fullest.
On Monday, June 11, 30 children with autism, ranging in age from toddlers to teenagers, will arrive on campus for the first day of the three-week camp, sponsored by the Scottish Rite Foundation. This year's theme is “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work” in honor of the Summer Olympics.
Twenty clinicians and volunteers will be on hand to lead the campers in arts and crafts, storytelling, games and more.
"We are very fortunate and extremely grateful for the opportunity to host this unique camp another summer," says Millar, an associate professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. "We are so excited to begin and look forward to three weeks of smiles, laughs and huge accomplishments."
Parents of the participants also attend workshops that prepare them to help their children at home with the lessons learned at camp. Families apply to participate in the program and attend for free with a stipend offered to cover costs such as transportation to and from campus.
The Scottish Rite Foundation and the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders have collaborated to offer an annual summer program on Radford University's campus since 1995. To date, the foundation has given more than $750,000 to the university to support initiatives that enhance children's literacy and language skills.
Camp concludes June 29 with a special Olympic-themed ceremony and a luncheon honoring the Scottish Rite Foundation.