Camp Friend Adds Career Exploration to 2024 Offerings

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Camp Friend (Finding Rewards in Every New Day) has expanded its services to offer career exploration to autistic young adults in August.

Collaborating with Vista AST, a component of the Youngstown Business Incubator, the Autism Society of the Mahoning Valley will offer young adults (ages 18-25) with autism a specialized curriculum focused on developing career adaptability skills.

Career Exploration Week is scheduled for Aug. 5-9 and will allow up to 18 participants to work through the Vista AST program with experienced autism educator Jennifer Groce from Potential Development, along with Vista AST interns and the Camp Friend support staff.

“This partnership represents a significant milestone in our long-standing goal to create meaningful employment opportunities for individuals with autism,” Groce said. “We are grateful for the support of Vista AST and our financial partner, State Farm Insurance, which has made this innovative initiative possible.”

The curriculum cultivates essential skills such as design thinking, collaboration, problem solving and creativity, while introducing participants to digital equipment and technical resources.

“We are thrilled to expand camp with this transformative program designed to bridge the gap between education and employment for our young adults on the autism spectrum,” said Robin Suzelis, director of ASMV. “By providing hands-on experience across various employment sectors, we aim to enhance their job readiness and empower them to thrive in the workforce.”

The registration deadline is July 15. For more information and to register, click HERE.

Camp Friend, founded in 2014, is an annual summer day camp program offered by ASMV for students with autism, as well as their friends. It provides two weeks of camp experiences for children on the autism spectrum from Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties, including fitness, music, art, swimming and other activities.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.