Camp Encourage Movie Benefit: Fine Food and Cocktails, Documentary Film and Auction Will Raise Funds to Help Local Children With Autism Attend Summer Camp

KANSAS CITY, MO -- September 3, 2013 -- For area youth who attended summer camp, suitcases have been unpacked, swim trunks are put away for the year, and cabins have been replaced by schoolrooms. But for some boys and girls, the experiences gained at summer camp last long after the counselors wave their last goodbye. Taking place at Tall Oaks Conference Center in Linwood, KS, Camp Encourage offers the region’s only personalized, overnight camp opportunity for youth ages 8 - 18 with autism spectrum disorders in Kansas and Missouri. This past summer, local filmmaker Brandon Parigo took an in-depth look at one young camper and his family as they experienced Camp Encourage for the first time. Unsure of what to expect at camp, Parigo kept an open mind and did not go into filming with a preconceived storyline. “The story here appears to be less about Reagan and more about the parents--their hopes and fears, and what they feel the camp experience is worth--and the counselors,” said Parigo about the documentary that developed during filming. “The Counselors did so much to find out what Reagan liked, and gave him so much attention that within the first day he was treating them almost just as well as I had witnessed him treat his own family.”

Kansas Citians will have the chance to view the entire documentary and help raise funds for Camp Encourage, which gives approximately $55,000 in scholarship funds to campers each year. While no camper is ever chosen based on their ability to pay, often the availability of scholarship funds is the determining factor for some families considering Camp Encourage. Cathy Mahurin, mother of young Reagan who is featured in the documentary, reflected on what those scholarship funds meant to her family. “Since Reagan has such a difficult time communicating without his iPad, I was shocked when he told me he missed camp! It's not easy for him to talk much less communicate his feelings so it had to be a heartfelt moment for him. From the bottom of his heart, he found a way to tell me he had a great time and saying that he missed being there was his way of saying it. As I think back on that moment, I'm filled with humility and gratitude because I think about how he could have missed that experience. He could have missed that moment because we would never have been able to send him without some sort of scholarship. To say that I'm grateful my son got a scholarship doesn't go far enough, it was the absolute reason that we were able to send Reagan. I am very humbled and grateful to the scholarship donors and the team who distributed the funds. I am so glad that my son misses camp instead of missing the experience altogether.“

The Second Annual Camp Encourage Movie Benefit will be held at The Alamo Drafthouse in the heart of Kansas City, MO on Thursday, September 19, 2013. Mitch Brian, award-winning writer and director who hails from Kansas City, will be the Special Guest for the evening. Interested guests can view the film trailer at: Sponsorship opportunities are still available for businesses and service providers who wish to show the larger community that they support families of youth with autism spectrum disorders. Interested parties can email

For ticketing and more information, visit:


Contact: Alissa Jensen Camp Encourage Development Coordinator 816-377-0709

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