JCC MetroWest Launches EC + Me, a Parallel Day Camp Program to Exploration Camps;
Thursday, August 22, 2013 • 4:21pm
JCC MetroWest is proud to launch this summer the only special needs day camp inclusion program of its kind in the suburban Essex area, EC + Me. Campers with special needs are attending this parallel program to Exploration Campus (EC) at the Leon & Toby Cooperman JCC in West Orange for four themed weeks. They are enjoying a summer camp experience while receiving the support and modifications they need to make each day a success.
JCC MetroWest Exploration Camps for Grades K-2 and 3-6 run for one week increments and include three hours of specialized instruction in the week’s theme (magic, travel, Olympics, cooking, and more) as well as daily free swim, gym time, and trips/special events. EC + Me campers participate to the greatest extent they are able and are provided with supplemental activities when appropriate. The program is supervised by highly qualified staff with extensive backgrounds in special needs.
The program launched on August 5 with campers attending 9:00am-4:00pm, their schedules individualized and integrated to the greatest extent possible. Fees are the same as Exploration Camps; an intake interview is required for new participants.
“These are children who would have great difficulty succeeding in the Exploration Camp program, even with a shadow counselor, but who will enjoy the flexibility of a smaller, parallel program which coincides with mainstream Exploration Camp activities,” said Rebecca Gallanter, Director of Special Needs Services, JCC MetroWest. “We anticipate that the program will grow quickly next year due to the complete shortage of day camp programs for this population.”
EC + Me runs for four weeks in August, following extended school year programs. It offers support, socialization, and stimulation after school programs are finished and allows parents to maintain their daily work schedule.
One parent comments: “Prior to discovering JCC MetroWest, we had found there to be a paucity of social and community opportunities for our child. While other neighborhood children left each day to enjoy camp, until this year at the JCC, options remained limited for a summer camp for our child to experience. A very natural environment for inclusion is provided, with many fun activities including games, swimming, music and art. The staff is experienced, flexible, interactive, friendly, and attentive. Our child enjoys being at the JCC so much that he will now eagerly do almost anything (including speech therapy, eating his organic chicken and rice cheese sandwich without complaining, etc.) when the reward is going to the JCC afterwards!”
JCC MetroWest also offers Teen Tracks Travel, a very special daily summer travel program for teens and young adults with special needs, ages 13-21. This camp, also the only one of its kind in the suburban Essex area, runs four weeks through August 23 and takes participants to locations in the NJ/NY metropolitan area. Trips include museums and attractions, the Jersey shore, summer fairs, and more. The program is supervised by certified teachers and special education professionals; an intake interview is required.
Additional JCC MetroWest programs for children with special needs include Camp Friends at Camp Deeny Riback in Flanders and inclusion opportunities at Early Childhood Camps in West Orange. Sunday afternoon respite is also offered during the summer. For more information about JCC MetroWest day camp programs for individuals with special needs, please contact Rebecca Gallanter at 973-530-3478 (firstname.lastname@example.org).