Traverse Traveler to Host Scavenger Hunt to Benefit TCAPS Students with Autism
The first annual Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism will take place in Traverse City, Michigan on Saturday, April 14, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. In this one-day event participants will use the Traverse Traveler smartphone app to conduct a scavenger hunt throughout downtown Traverse City. Utilizing an innovative approach to fundraising, the event will raise money to purchase iPads for Traverse City Area Public Schools students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Here’s How The Scavenger Hunt Works:
- Participants register as teams for one of two event tracks: the Family Track featuring kid-friendly activities and less walking, and the Challenge Track geared toward adults and teens. All courses are family-friendly, walkable and fun.
- Teams of up to 5 people will navigate from business to business, use the Traverse Traveler smartphone app (available for FREE in the iPhone App Store) to ‘check in’ at each location, complete tasks and collect prize tickets along the way.
- Instructions for each activity and clues to the next location are supplied by the app.
- At the end of the scavenger hunt, all teams will cross the finish line at the City Opera House to celebrate their accomplishments, enjoy refreshments and win prizes.
- Corporate and individual donors commit to ‘Pledge Per Check-in,’ whereby increasing the fundraising efforts with every person, and every stop.
Brandy Wheeler, creator of the Traverse Traveler app, a handy mobile guide to the Traverse City region, designed this unique event to increase community awareness about Autism, a disorder that affects 1 in 110 children — including her 9-year-old son.
There are approximately 120 students in TCAPS with Autism. It’s a neurological disorder that can impair an individual’s ability to communicate and develop social skills. The severity of the disorder and the symptoms vary dramatically. Some children are unable to develop speech, some experience sensory issues, and others, diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, are highly intelligent but lack basic social skills most people take for granted.
In early 2011 Wheeler discovered a pilot program launched by TCAPS to place iPads with 9 students within the district who receive special education services for autism. Each device was loaded with a set of apps chosen to meet the specific needs of that child. Autism apps range from touch-screen visual schedules, to social skills practice, to full-scale communication aids.
Jame McCall, Executive Director of Special Education & Early Childhood Programs for TCAPS explains, "Our goal with using the iPads— or any other assistive technology— is to remove the barriers to education. To be able to put a device in the hands of a child that’s socially acceptable, and is something they are able to use and maneuver easily, that aids in communication, will help them in their learning."
Traverse Traveler approached TCAPS last fall about designing a fundraiser to help grow the iPads for Autism program at TCAPS. "I was thrilled that Brandy contacted me and told me about her plans to do a scavenger hunt and her thoughts about raising money for TCAPS students to put more iPads in the hands of our children that needed them. TCAPS is proud to be a partner with the Traverse Traveler."
Brandy Wheeler reached out to business owners, community members, educators and parents to bring this event to life. "Children with autism are magnetically drawn to technology," she said, " With this event we can combine the power of mobile and social media to create positive social change. It’s technology for technology."
All proceeds from the event will be donated to purchase iPads and apps for TCAPS students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Aspergers Syndrome. In addition to monies raised by the event, Traverse Traveler will donate $10 for every new business listing on the app between now and April 30, 2012.
Here’s how you can help!
The Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism is currently seeking event sponsors and Downtown Traverse City businesses who would like to participate in this event. For more information and to register a team, visit the Traverse Traveler website at: http://TraverseTraveler.com/Autism. TCAPS is also accepting tax-deductible cash donations for the iPads for Autism program at http://www.tcaps.net/autism.