SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 UTAH) A pilot program, aimed at helping Utah teens with special needs, is being called a success. And what seems to be making it work is the partnership between the state and Camp Kostopulos. 
 
Welcome to vocational training at Camp K. Seven students, two teachers and a lot of information. “They are learning about how to appropriately dress for an interview. How to appropriately dress for a job. They are learning about things like paychecks.The importance of interacting with their peers and co-workers in an appropriate way.” That from Nicole Fraedrich of the Utah Division of Rehabilitation Services. Fraedrich is part of the Rehabilitation Services team overseeing the instruction of this pilot program. She says the goal is straightforward – prepare special needs students to transition from high school to the work force. 
 
Fraedrich says the state could have used any number of service providers to help with this pilot program, but she says Camp K’s work with children and adults with disabilities made for a perfect fit. “We wanted to connect with them to use their skills and proven track record in order to serve our clients.”
 
And when we visited a recent class those “skills” were on display from both Camp Kostopulos instructors. Shannon Talton is one of those helping to teach the students. “We want lecture them, want to teach them, but how do we do this in a fun way? We’ve done our best job to have an equal balance there and we really want them to walk away with something, but remember they had a great time doing it as well.” 
 
The program is two 8 week courses and Talton says they focus on things like  “Job foundation skills. Communication. Building communication skills.”  Plus, there is clerical training, grounds and maintenance training, food handling and customer service training. 
 
Each week the students, who attend various schools in the Salt Lake Valley, come to Camp K in Emigration Canyon to learn those new skills. Chloe Moss, a student at Spectrum Academy says she’s “been learning about finances and how to save money.”  And fellow Spectrum Academy student Jaden Cash says the hands on instruction is hitting home. “First, you think you get a lot of money, but they pull out taxes and then you get left with a small amount of money, that you have to learn how to budget throughout the month.” 
 
After watching the class first hand Fraedrich says the implementation of the the program by Camp K was even “better than expected.”
 
The first courses of this pilot program started at the beginning of March and will run until the end of April. 
Camp K – a Salt Lake City charity has provided opportunities for those with disabilities for nearly fifty years.
We also want to mention that Camp K is having it’s biggest fund raising event of the year on May 6th at the City Creek Marriott. For more information visit: www.campk.org