By Rose Klein
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The A.S.K. (Always Support Kids) Club is a club within 4-H, devoted to children touched by autism. Becky Bennett, the Extension Agent for 4-H, along with A.S.K. moms and Cherry Lake Camp Director Neva Baltzell, developed B.U.D.D.Y. (Building and Understanding Diversity through Dynamic Youth) Camp for these children, as well as other children who may have ADHD or other developmental challenges.
B.U.D.D.Y. Camp allows these children to experience things they normally might not get to experience, and also allows their moms to come along for the ride. These mothers, who are especially attentive to their children’s needs, created their own group called M.A.P. (Madison Advocate Parents). Michelle Register, the A.S.K. President, says the camp allowed the kids a fun learning experience while it gave the moms a time to relax, because they knew their kids were completely taken care of by the camp counselors, whom she referred to as “autism gurus,” and said they did a great job.
Fun things the counselors planned out for the kids included a lot of hands-on, tactile activities and were organized to allow them to decide how long they wanted to do the activity or even if they wanted to participate. Some of these activities included making slime, painting, making shakers and rattlers, making bubbles and making snowmen out of shaving cream and corn syrup. The kids had a movie night on their first night at camp and on their final evening went on a relaxing boat ride that was followed by a swim and campfire.
The two-day camp that accommodated A.S.K. children, ages three through 12, and their mothers, was at no charge to them thanks to fundraisers held by the community. Register is thankful and says the camp is something both kids and mothers look forward to all year long.