Camp COAST Director Vickie Shire accepts a check of $500 from club president Bruce Blazej at the Largo/Mid-Pinellas Kiwanis Club meeting June 6.
LARGO – The Largo/Mid-Pinellas Kiwanis Club again contributed to Camp COAST, or Children On the Autism Spectrum Together, giving $500 to camp director Vickie Shire during its meeting June 6.
For the last three years, the Largo Kiwanians have supported the summer camp, designed to meet the needs of children ages 5 to 10 who are considered high functioning on the autism spectrum.
The camp, part of the Clearwater Branch of the YMCA of the Suncoast, has a maximum of 15 campers each week, and runs for seven consecutive weeks Monday through Friday, June 16 to Aug. 1, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Each week has a different theme. Daily activities can include swimming, sensory games, singing songs, and other activities specially designed for children on the autism spectrum.
Each child has his own counselor-in-training, or CIT, a teenage volunteer who supports the child in their daily camp activities and also accompanies them on field trips. The CITs receive intensive training prior to the start of the camp season, and many find it so rewarding that they return in succeeding years, giving up their summer to volunteer at the camp.
Some of the field trips have included Tampa Aquarium, Clearwater Aquarium, bowling, swimming, sailing and Kiwanis Horses for Handicapped. A Pinellas County school bus is used to transport the children at activities away from the Suncoast YMCA property.
Kiwanis is a worldwide service organization founded in 1915, and is dedicated to improving the lives of children through local Kiwanis clubs.
The Largo Kiwanis Club is accepting new members, and meets twice a month: for a breakfast on first Fridays, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., at Royal Palms, 200 Lake Ave. NE. in Largo, and for dinner on second Thursdays, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Roosterfish Grill, 776 Missouri Ave. also in Largo.