Booking a trip and exploring new places is an exciting time for many. But for people with autism traveling can bring challenges and few options. See how one camp is changing the lives of people on the spectrum and opening their eyes to new adventures.
“I think one was Hawaii I remember”, exclaimed Heyden Fenney, who has Autism.
Fenney has not always had the travel bug. Autism used to keep him stuck at home. But a program called Frontier Travel Camp gave him his independence.
Scott Fineman, creator and owner of Frontier Travel Camp told Ivanhoe, “We are a travel program for late teens and adults with people on the spectrum, on the autism spectrum.”
Fineman created the camp because he loves seeing the world and felt everyone should have the opportunity.
“We’ve been to probably 30 countries between Europe and North America”, recalled Fineman .
The camp which has been operating for 21 years- takes travelers from age 16 to adults in their 40’s and 50’s.
“We have a group between 25 and 30 people; our staff ratio is 5 to 1.” Fineman said.
Nurses, social workers and speech pathologists are among the professional staff who keep encouraging their ‘campers’ to take on new adventures.
“National parks, hiking through Yosemite, Yellowstone, really getting them to be active.” Fineman exclaimed.
Heyden wasn’t always adventurous.
Heyden’s mom Joanna Fenney told Ivanhoe that Heyden was “Terrified of rain, terrified of big trees, buildings.”
But Heyden’s first trip at 18 changed everything!
“I cried when he left and he cried when he came home”, stated Joanna.
Heyden says the best thing about traveling is the new friends he makes.
“So I could eat with them and have a chat with them, it makes me happy.” Heyden said joyfully.
His next port of call? A Caribbean cruise in January.
The average cost per week of these trips is three thousand dollars. Heyden helps pay for his trips by selling artwork. For more information on upcoming trips please visit www.frontiertravelcamp.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/frontiertravelcamp or call 866-750-camp
Contributors to this news report include: Janna Ross, Producer; Judy Reich, Videographer; Bob Walko, Editor.
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