The good news is there is an accessible Jewish camp for every child with a disability. Sadly, it may not be the camp their parents or siblings went to, but there are options. View the resources below for more information.
- Inclusion Training Guide for Jewish Summer Camps: This 201-page inclusion guide for Jewish summer camps, prepared by the National Ramah Tikvah Network and the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC), touches on all aspects of making camps more accessible for people with disabilities. The guide references behavioral strategies and what to expect, various disabilities that campers may have, as well as staff training. FJC also does an excellent job of reiterating that all behaviors and disabilities affect each individual differently, and this guide is not a “one size fits all” approach, but rather a way to help guide the experience for each camper.
- Making Camp Accessible: In this blog post from The Times of Israel, Jeremy J. Fingerman, the CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC), notes that parents often struggle to find a camp or activity for their child with disabilities. He refers to the Yashar Initiative to increase accessibility for campers and staff with disabilities at Jewish day and overnight camps, and to the 113-page study co-authored by Jennifer Lazlo Mizrahi, Jewish Camp for Children with Disabilities and Special Needs.
- Making Camp Accessible for All Families: The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, or JCCSF launched a pilot program to include more campers with disabilities in Jewish camp programs. JCCSF illustrates the importance of having a Youth Inclusion Coordinator, as well as the positive impacts of providing accommodations and support to campers with various disabilities. This simple resource reiterates the importance of including young individuals with disabilities, and the benefits that they provide to the camp.
- Shutaf Inclusion Programs: Shutaf Inclusion Programs in Jerusalem, Israel offers year-round activities for children, teens, and young adults, with and without disabilities. Camp Shutaf’s unique, reverse-inclusion model brings together participants with diverse developmental, physical, and learning disabilities (75% of participants) alongside participants without disabilities (25% of participants). Shutaf has developed extensive, clear, easy to use training materials in English and Hebrew which include visuals and videos on topics such as Inclusive Program Planning, Staff Training and Mentorship, Structured Flexibility, Challenges and Problem Solving and more.