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The SOAR Experience: Another Successful Summer!

West Bergen is pleased to share that the SOAR Experience (Social Skills, Outdoor Fun, Arts & Crafts, & Relationships) enjoyed another successful summer shaping the lives of participants through our one-of-a-kind clinical summer program. For 6 weeks, 18 children between the ages of 6 to 17 were immersed in a specialized program designed to strengthen critical skills such as building relationships, increasing flexibility, problem solving, resolving conflicts, improving social scanning, decreasing anxiety, experiencing newness and change, coping with sensory experiences and more.

Additionally, a mix of 8 teenagers and young adults on the Spectrum enrolled in the Counselor in Training (CIT) Program for ages 14-24. CITs encourage participants to utilize social skills and interact with peers while modeling appropriate social behavior. The CITs prepared arts, crafts, sports, and trivia activities for participants based on the theme of the weeks. Cooperation, professionalism, and teamwork are all skills the CIT’s practice in this role. Building such skills are critical as they pursue future vocational endeavors. 

 A Summer of Fun Activities!

Activities for the SOAR Experience, range from trips to Lake Wawayanda where the kids swim and play in the sand, to the Liberty Science Center, Winslow Therapeutic Riding Center, Turtle Back Zoo, Intrepid Museum, and Power House Studios. Engaging games, arts and crafts, drama, music, yoga, outdoor play, sports and movies, all using West Bergen’s Therapeutic Social Skills approach, are presented by West Bergen’s specially trained staff.  

When possible, the SOAR Experience provides scholarships to select families in need that have a child who would benefit from this special kind of social skills enriching program. This summer, two scholarships, funded by gifts from generous West Bergen donors, were awarded to qualified applicants.

As a nonprofit mental health agency, West Bergen relies on the generosity and support of our friends and community partners, at all levels of giving, to maintain the outstanding quality of care we provide. For more information on giving to West Bergen, contact Barbara Krusko, Chief Development Officer at bkrusko@westbergen.org.

The SOAR Experience is a valuable program for kids and young adults on the Autism Spectrum. We are proud to have positively affected the lives of more than 600 children over the past 10 summers. See you next year!