Make your home page

Summer camp designed for autistic kids underway

MARTENSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – Kids with autism are back at Camp Rocks in the Bradford Woods.

Camp Rocks run from Sunday-Friday.

Camp counselors said this is the first year the camp has reached pre-pandemic levels since re-opening.

Joseph Gasta, 16, is one of the longest-running camp goers.

“This is my seventh year,” he said. “I just remember each day is a new day and each day your parents will miss you. But you have to keep moving forward knowing that you’ll see them on Friday.”

Karrie Veteto, the dir. of autism and behavior at Easterseals Crossroads, said 1 in 63 children in Indiana are diagnosed with autism. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the national average is 1 in 36 kids.

Veteto said Camp Rocks opened in 2010.

“So it is a typical camp experience. Obviously, we want them to have fun and we want them to feel confident and have those experiences of, ‘I climbed the fire tower,’ or ‘I was afraid to get in the boat and I did it,’” she explained.

Forty kids from ages 10-18 have registered for this year’s camp.

“We have, actually, more girls this year than we have had in the past,” Veteto said.

Ava Hammond, 12, has attended Camp Rocks for two years.

“When I’m too old for it I’m probably going to sign up for it and work here,” she said.

Campers must be between the ages of 10-18 and have an autism diagnosis.