Archived Outdoors

Occupational therapy students visit Full Spectrum Farms

Students with the participants of the Full Spectrum Farms kid’s camp are, back row from left: Kristen Sawyer, Elisabeth Trantham, Western Carolina University student Pierce Muth, Erin Hyde, Haley Hamrick, Amanda Canzone, Leah Cody and Ashley Mull. Students with the participants of the Full Spectrum Farms kid’s camp are, back row from left: Kristen Sawyer, Elisabeth Trantham, Western Carolina University student Pierce Muth, Erin Hyde, Haley Hamrick, Amanda Canzone, Leah Cody and Ashley Mull.

In June, Southwestern Community College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program teamed up with Full Spectrum Farms to allow SCC students to work with the children during the farm’s kid’s camp. This doubles as a learning experience and also a day full of fun for both the students and kids.

Full Spectrum Farms is a non-profit organization that was established in 2002. Located in Cullowhee, the farm is dedicated to serving those with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Farm Director Erin McManus oversees operations and works with SCC’s OTA program coordinator, Anna Walls, to get the students on the farm, working for several days with the children.

“With SCC, we have worked together and evolved this camp over many years,” said McManus. “We would not be able to do our kid’s camp without SCC. Our clientele get one-on-one OTA attention and can grow leaps and bounds within a short amount of time with that attention.”

The Occupational Therapy Assistant program provides students with the tools they need to learn how to take care of those who are overcoming mobility or motor-skills limitations. OTA students learn about human growth and development and practice various therapeutic activities to help people like the children at Full Spectrum Farms.

Activities on the farm included tabletop games like checkers, working in the garden to plant seeds and dig up special items, and a refreshing snack time.

“It is such a joy to watch the children progress during the week of camp,” said Walls. “It really connects classroom learning to community service. It is a wonderful experience for everyone to be a part of a team that is dedicated to providing children with a camp experience that fosters their physical, social and emotional development. The OTA students learn the most from the children they are privileged to work with, and they also have the opportunity to learn from Erin.”

SCC and Full Spectrum Farms have been working together since 2016, giving OTA students experience needed for their field of study by working one-on-one with the children.

To learn more about Full Spectrum Farms, visit fullspectrumfarms.org.

To learn more about SCC’s OTA program, contact Walls at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828.339.4334. 

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