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A Day at Camp Victory

Excitement and laughter filled the chilly April morning air as children from local school districts arrived at Camp Victory. They were welcomed with friendly smiles from CSIU and camp staff, as well as hundreds of iridescent bubbles floating in the air.

Teachers and students from nine school districts and CSIU classes, totaling 136 students and staff, participated in this day of adventure, which was planned in conjunction with Autism Awareness Month. The agenda for the day was packed with activities like sensory scavenger hunts, an obstacle course, a nature center and even rocket launchers.

“This day at Camp Victory gives the kids an opportunity to relax, have fun and practice skills they learn at school in an environment outside of the classroom,” said Emily Smith, CSIU autism consultant, who helped coordinate the event. “That includes communication and social skills, such as meeting and interacting with new people.”

According to the Autism Society of America, autism spectrum disorder is a complex developmental disability and affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language, difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation, difficulty with reasoning and planning, and sensory sensitivities.

“This day is important for the kids because they work so hard throughout the year. It's nice for them to come out and be around people that understand their condition. Camp Victory provides a setting where everyone knows and understands autism. No one is looked at in a negative light or as being different,” Emily explained.

As the day campers navigated the paths and romped through obstacles throughout the camp on that special day, their joy and excitement could be seen, heard and felt. 

Located in Millville, Camp Victory is a free camp for children with special needs, and every activity at the camp is accessible. The staff works with various groups and hosts many kinds of different camps throughout the year.