Southgate Elementary second-grader Aidan Sweet explains the stop sign he drew at the Circle of Friends Day Camp Monday afternoon. The camp, in its third year at the Hormel Historic Home, has about 27 students from across the state. -- Trey Mewes/

Archived Story

Bringing Autistic children together

Published 7:51am Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Circle of Friends is back this year at the Hormel Historic Home.

Creating safe boundaries and interaction for children with Autism, the third annual, week-long Circle of Friends allows those children to learn together. The camp also helps them with life skill goals.

About 27 students are attending camp this year, with children from Austin and all the way to the Twin Cities participating, according to volunteers. Children go through a routine at the camps, which can include a morning activity, group activities, and even community outings.

“Its a safe environment for these kids,” said Lyndsey Petersen, Co- Director of the Special Need Camp.

Angie Nelson, whose son, Gavin Nelson, a third-grader from Clarks Grove, is attending for the second year.

“They have a lot of staff on hand, and they let the kids interact with each other,” said Nelson.

One of Gavin’s favorite activities are the field trips, which this year includes trips to the YMCA, seeing a police K-9 dog, and a bowling trip. With this day camp, children have a place to be safe and still enjoy the community.

“There are not a lot of Autism day camps,” said Nelson.

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