For immediate release

NEW SUMMER CAMP PILOT SUPPORTS YOUTH ON AUTISM SPECTRUM
Camp Level Up Offers Media-Based Career Pathway and
Skill Building Experience

APRIL 11, 2022 – MESA, Ariz. – Families in Arizona have a new summer camp option in Mesa, Arizona as part of the newly-formed Mesa Regional Foundation for Accessibility, Diversity & Inclusion (Mesa ADI).  Camp Level Up is now seeking applications for their limited three-week summer program tailored for children and teens on the autism spectrum and neurodivergent youth.

Camp Level Up focuses on providing participants with opportunities and support to develop skills in gaming media by building virtual worlds including video games, contemporary cinema, and virtual reality. The camp was developed in partnership the leadership teams at Arizona State University (ASU) Herberger Institute, Mesa Arts Center, video game production company Endless Studios and Mesa ADI. Copa Health, one of Mesa’s largest private non-profit corporations dedicated to changing the lives of those with developmental, intellectual, or behavioral challenges, will provide onsite therapeutic support for campers.

“Camp Level Up was inspired by a critical need to create opportunity, connectivity, and a skills pathway for youth from neurodivergent and diverse backgrounds in our community,” said Alana Langdon, Mesa ADI board member and Camp Level Up steering committee co-chair. “It is truly exciting and heartwarming to see this program come to fruition which offers a forum of acceptance, learning, and accessibility to a hopeful future for these students and their families.”

The brand-new ASU Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center will be the host of Camp Level Up, serving up a one-of-a-kind technology-first campus as part of the new development in downtown Mesa. The MIX Center will also feature studios, screening theaters, a large exhibition space and gathering areas for students and the Mesa community. The ASU site will focus on groundbreaking technology and entrepreneurial development.

“We are thrilled to be able to advance this partnership as one of the very first public events in the new Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center facility,” said MIX Founding Director Jacob Pinholster. “Professional development programs for neurodiverse individuals are a critical need, and we firmly believe that the worlds of gaming and emerging media will be better for more inclusion of them.”

Visit Mesa, the City of Mesa’s destination marketing organization, established the Mesa ADI Foundation to enhance and implement equity, diversity and inclusion for youth and adults within our community. Camp Level Up is one of the Foundation’s signature programs that will eventually expand to run throughout the school year, with the intention of revealing educational and career opportunities for children on the spectrum as they grow into young adults. Mesa ADI’s mission is to celebrate diversity and promote a more accessible and inclusive community.

“I am so proud to be part of an organization that recognizes, celebrates, and provides significant programming for our diverse communities,” said Mesa ADI President Deanna Villanueva-Saucedo. “Camp Level Up is a testament to what many of us already know about Mesa – we are welcoming, supportive, and inclusive.”

For more information about Camp Level Up, please visit https://mesaadi.org/programs/camp-level-up/.


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MEDIA CONTACT: Alison Brooks, Executive Director Mesa Regional Foundation for Accessibility, Diversity and Inclusion
Phone: 480-682-3635, Email: alison@mesaadi.org

Mesa Regional Foundation for Accessibility, Diversity and Inclusion: The Mesa Regional Foundation for Accessibility, Diversity, and Inclusion is a 501(c)(3)* non-profit organization, dedicated to improving the daily resident and visitor experience by elevating Mesa’s already leading position as an accessible, equitable and inclusive city through purposeful education and innovative technology. www.MesaADI.org
*Pending IRS approval

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