HHH steps up for autism; Saturday walk to raise funds for summer camps

Published 10:29 am Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Hormel Historic Home is again raising awareness for autism and funds for the summer camps hosted at the HHH.

The HHH will host its fourth annual fundraising walk at 10 a.m. Saturday beginning at the HHH Peace Garden.



“We hold it to raise awareness for those who have needs within the autism community,” Historic Hormel Home Executive Director Holly Johnson said. “And also to highlight the summer camp program we have done.”

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The event starts with a walk from the Historic Home and around Mill Pond. Lunch will be offered with a free-will donation at 11 a.m. with deejay entertainment and a photo booth.

Funds being raised are used to support the summer camps offered for area youth diagnosed on the autism spectrum, which Johnson said has professional staff working with the children.

“All the money will stay in Austin to help the kids that benefit from the camps,” Johnson said.

“Every dollar helps,” she added.

Programming has been offered since 2010 with nearly 50 youth attending each year. Johnson said the event has raised on average about $5,000 to $6,000 each year.

Johnson hopes people will see autism in a new light through these events.

“I hope that they would recognize that there is a large population of youth and adults that are affected by autism,” Johnson said. “Services for those individuals are limited … so the programming we offer gives them an opportunity to participate in something they may not otherwise be able to.”

Registration is open and will also be taken at the walk. The community is invited to attend as a participant or just to enjoy lunch and entertainment. The event will happen rain or shine.

“Even if people aren’t registered to walk, they can come down,” Johnson said.

The HHH has held summer two-day camps for about five years, and this year will add a third camp. Elementary-age campers can sign up for the Circle of Friends day camp, which goes from July 13-17; sixth- through 12th-grade campers can sign up for All Access Community Explorations day camp which goes from the end of June through Aug. 1; and the third camp, Camp Just For Me, is need-based on Mondays from the end of June through the first of August. Open registration is available, and the forms are available online or school personnel can direct parents for where to go.