Over the years, many thousands of Jewish children have had the opportunity to live their Judaism and enjoy the pleasures of summer spent in a camp setting. These campers have become rabbis, cantors, educators, and lay leaders in the Reform Movement. Second and third generation campers and staff now fill the ranks of the URJ camps.
Yet, for children with disabilities – whether physical, mental, or emotional – the camp experience can be a difficult one.
The word “disabilities” is an umbrella term that encompasses a large array of diagnoses. These can include medical, mobility, sight, hearing, behavioral, developmental, learning and/or mental health issues. Each child is unique and their specific needs and abilities can present a challenge when attempting to provide a fulfilling and mainstream camp experience. The URJ has approached these challenges through a number of different methods.
Since 2004, each URJ camp has had an Inclusion Coordinator as a member of the camp professional staff. These individuals work with parents, caregivers, and camp staff to plan for and provide an optimum mainstream camp experience for many children with disabilities. Through intake procedures, ongoing communication, and support, the inclusion coordinators work to ensure the success of campers with disabilities. Learn more.