OSWEGO, NY – ARISE is grateful to the Oswego County Autism Task Force for a 2012 mini-grant to bring youth to the Harvest Festival at Wolf Oak Acres.
The working farm in Oneida hosts a Disability Awareness weekend every fall. The grant made it possible for 14 youth with disabilities from all over the county to attend the event on September 22.
“Several youth from the Central Square area enjoyed the experience so much last year that we wanted to open up the trip to youth from all parts of the county,” said Sabine Ingerson, Director of the ARISE Oswego Offices. “Many of the activities at Wolf Oak Acres are designed for students on the autism spectrum. The owners have a special interest in reaching out to families of children with disabilities because their daughter is autistic.”
Although the trip was lengthy, the youth enjoyed the many outdoor activities and cheered each other on as they attempted some of the more challenging activities. They tried out the cow train rides, corn maze, duck derby, and pedal carts. The youth visited the information booths of the not-for-profit vendors, ate lunch, and visited the gift shop.
The rain did not dampen their excitement.
“I love the cow train,” stated Austin Martin, one of the participants, when asked about the event.
The event provided the youth, many of whom are on the autism spectrum, with opportunities for social interaction and helped them to improve social skills and gain confidence to try new experiences. Building friendships and peer support are important aspects of the ARISE youth services programs.
ARISE youth services programs are funded by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Family Support Services funds, which paid for the staff support of this event. ARISE thanks the Oswego County Autism Task Force for providing additional support to make this special day happen for Oswego County youth.