Take 2: Teaching Children w/ Autism Washington, DC

by Take 2: An Innovative Program for Social Learning
Vetted

What an incredible summer we had. 

If you followed us on Facebook, you may have noticed our outdoor Activity Time adventures or our epic "unexpected party." Or maybe you saw that Ms. Rachel came back for her third year in a row to teach improv to our middle school campers. Perhaps you noticed that our Pokémon fever rivaled the Pokémon Go release or that I got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk around Union Station in a cheeseburger print bucket hat for a scavenger hunt.  

Even if you did see these captured moments, sometimes photos aren't capable of telling the whole story.  If they were, they would tell tales of teammates who worked hard togeher to compromise on excursion plans; selfie-loving water-balloon launchers who braved the heat and kept their cool even when they lost; and kids who made memories and friends. 

I feel fortunate to know all of the hard work and success stories behind these pictures, and I am grateful to you for your partnership and support of Take2. Many of these memories could only have been made as a direct result of your generosity.  

On behalf of Take2 Camp, I thank you for helping to make this summer camp such a successful, wonderful experience for our campers for yet another summer.   

Links:

Today is Bonus Day!  

This means that any contributions you make will be matched by Global Giving at 40%! 

We also have a surprise for you!  Last summer, our good friend and teacher-turned-producer, Lindsey Sitz, collaborated with us on a short video that would capture the greatness of Take2 through the lens of our incredible campers.  We have wanted to share the Take2 experience with our families and donors for so long; Today, we are thrilled to be able to do just that.  

With only a few weeks left before our 2016 camp, we are all eager to work with these kids and share new memories with them.  Take a look at our 2 minute video--your contributions are supporting our campers in big ways.  

Watch the video!

Sincerely, 

Callie

Rules of the Friendship Game
Rules of the Friendship Game

Our parents used to tell us, "It's not about winning or losing; it's about how you play the game."  At Take2 Camp, we couldn't agree more.  But we're not taking about soccer or checkers; we're talking about the Friendship Game.  The Friendship Game has four tenets that help us accomplish the goal of encouraging people to play with us again: 

  • Follow the rules - everyone has to be playing the same game 
  • Be a good sport - win and lose with integrity
  • Be flexible - be open to unexpected events during the game
  • Share the experience - games are more about who we're playing with and less about what we're playing 

When we follow these rules, everyone has fun, and people want to join us again next time.  Conversely, if we don't follow these rules, we're likely to end up playing a boring game of solitaire.

The beauty of the Friendship Game is that you can be a winner no matter the outcome of the game.  It doesn't feel great to lose, but when we shift our focus from objectively winning to giving our opponents (and teammates) good thoughts about us, suddenly the score seems less important.

To our wonderful supporters: thank you for helping us bring this and other invaluable lessons to our kids each day at camp. 

Take2 Camp Hack #12: Expect the unexpected.

Middle school campers at Take2 plan everything about their excursions: transportation, cost, travel time, schedule, weather forecast.  Despite even the most comprehensive plans, our campers sometimes find that the most memorable excursions are the ones that don't follow the schedule.

"Expect the unexpected." It's less about flying by the seat of your pants and more about problem-solving flexibly.  It's also what brought our campers on a scenic (and shaded!) detour through the Mellon Auditorium after missing a metro stop on their way to the Smithsonian. 

Equipped with this strategy that day, our campers stayed as cool as the path they didn't plan to take. 

 

With gratitude for your support,

Callie

To continue reflecting upon the challenges and triumphs experienced by our Take2 campers, I’d like to share a story from this summer’s middle school camp teacher, Laura H.:

    We had just completed our “flexibility” week with the kids, and while we knew one another better than we did at the beginning of the week, everyone was still working on building relationships. This particular excursion was decided by the staff but planned by the campers, so it was already a bit of a challenge in the sense that we weren’t entirely sure if they would be motivated to tough out any obstacles presented by this excursion. Armed with a map and a plan for the trip, we set out to take the bus to a local park to play field games and have lunch. The group seemed to be in high spirits as they left the building.

    The journey began with a short wait for the bus—the leader of the group checked the times and noticed that a bus would arrive in minutes—and the campers readily embarked. Unfortunately, the campers didn’t realize that they were going in the wrong direction. We knew, but they didn’t. With a little prompting to verify the direction, the camper checked in with the bus driver, who informed him of the error. The group’s first flexible moment rested in their decision to adapt the course and take a detour suggested by the bus driver.

    Despite keeping cool (metaphorically—outside, it was a hot day), each challenge sort of compounded those before it: not having exact directions for the detour, mistakenly leading the group to a neighborhood block, lots of walking in the heat, challenges with different opinions from the campers, not knowing one another for more than a week.

    We continued praising them for thinking flexibly and going with the flow. We knew they were frustrated, but we also recognized how many victories were happening in this one trip. So we continued to support them, and suddenly, an oasis of sorts emerged. It wasn’t beautiful, but it would work: a flat, green space near an overpass with a small pavilion, and the only shade that could be found in DC. One camper said, “Why don’t we just settle on this place instead?” It was a long shot to get 9 other campers to agree to this, but they did. They all agreed!

    Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, instead of playing ‘dead’ on the grass, the campers initiated a vote, which led them to play a kickball game that didn’t require teams—just a rotating pitcher and a line of kickers. They used some of the materials we had brought as makeshift bases. It was a very proud moment for all of us, and you could tell that the campers felt successful too. Halfway through the game, I heard the pitcher shout to his fellow campers, “This is so much fun, isn’t it?” The whole experience was a victory that I think will stick with the kids as much as it will with us.

 

Thank you for your continued support of Take2 Camp.

Sincerely,

Callie

 

 

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Organization Information

Take 2: An Innovative Program for Social Learning

Location: Bethesda, MD - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.take2camp.org/​
Project Leader:
Lisa Greenman
Washington, DC United States

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