Camp for Youngstown-area kids with autism wraps up Friday

Camp F.R.I.E.N.D. was organized by the Autism Society of Mahoning Valley and the Rich Center for Autism

The third annual Camp F.R.I.E.N.D. wrapped up Friday morning at Camelot Lanes in Boardman.

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – Friday marked the end of an activity-filled week for some kids across the Mahoning Valley.

The third annual Camp F.R.I.E.N.D. wrapped up Friday morning at Camelot Lanes in Boardman. The camp was organized by the Autism Society of Mahoning Valley and the Rich Center for Autism.

The week-long camp is held for kids with autism and includes crafts, bowling, swimming and a trip to Oh Wow! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology. It also includes positive reinforcement.

Robin Suzelis, parent and camp organizer, said it was important to give the kids a chance to do something they normally don’t get to try.

“Often, our kids don’t get into the community as much as they need to, and the more exposure they get in the community, the better they’ll do long-term,” she said. “So it’s pushing them out of their comfort zone and letting them succeed in going different places.”

This year’s Camp F.R.I.E.N.D. included 20 kids, ranging in ages from three to 17.

Along with 14 special education teachers from the Rich Center, several local students all volunteered their time.

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