Liam has always thrived in a camp environment (Talisman Summer Camps, Tryon's Adventure School Summer Camps). The Outdoor Academy is an accredited residential semester school for high achieving sophomores. Focused on intellect, environment, community, and craft, OA delivers rigorous high school academics infused with experiential education. The inclusive OA community offers students the best opportunity to better understand themselves, how they learn most successfully, and how important they are to the world around them. The Outdoor Academy offers an extraordinary environment where all members of the community are encouraged to reach their full potential as thinkers, citizens, and leaders. Students that have attended the program have later enrolled at pretigious college and universities (but that is not why we are sending Liam).
The OA is not a program for autistic students and we were very transparent (from the very beginning) about Liam's strengths and our concerns. The school did diligent research with his current teachers, therapist, and past camp counselors. They (as are we) are confident that Liam will thrive in the close-knit community (24 students total; ratio 1 to 4). We are hoping we can help Liam find again his passion for adventure, sense of self and his once-easy smile.
The timing for Liam to attend the Outdoor Academy for his "spring semester" of his 10th grade year is perfect for him; but not financially for us. Our daughter is in her sophmore year of college and we are still licking our wounds from Tim's 9-month unemployment (company merger). We will make as many sacrifices as we can; unfortunately our hands are currently tied so tight that the cuts would be very, very deep. Tim and I are working as many additional part-time jobs as possible (trivia and karaoke host, local consulting etc) in addition to running a volunteer-staffed not-for-profit coffeehouse.
Liam recieved a $10,000 scholarship based on his application, school transcripts, and interview. The school's full costs are $27,000 (16 wk tuition, housing and meals). We need to raise the remaining fees.
$27,000 (full tuition, housing, meals and fees)
-$10,000 (Liam's scholarship)
- $5,000 (family contribution)
Liam was accepted and awarded a scholarship from the Eagles Nest Foundation right before the holidays. The school has given us an extension -- we need to raise the funds by April 15th. ALL funds raised will go DIRECTLY to Liam's Outdoor Academy payments.
We are so appreciative of ANY help that comes in -- and if you cannot contribute, please consider sharing to friends or colleagues that support Autism, education, hiking, outdoor education and programs that focus on the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is a watershed opportunity for our son. We are beyond grateful and in the future, we hope to raise additional monies for other students to attend this program.
More about The Outdoor Academy:
Quick OA video