Help Your Child Get Ready for Camp!

by Julie Feldman, LCSW Camp Firefly Assistant Director

As camp begins to feel more and more like a reality, it is normal for your child to start to feel anxious about leaving home. Even campers who have been to Camp Firefly before may still feel nervous. Check out some tips to help your family get ready for the summer!

Read more

A Reflection On Camp Firefly

by Elizabeth Robbin and Julie Feldman

We remember our first day of camp as if it was yesterday. Bashful glances and giggles from the children; watchful eyes and tearful goodbyes from parents. The sounds of luggage and legs climbing into bunk beds; counselors chatting and smiling ear to ear.

Read more

How Glick Family Camp Has Inspired Me

by Melissa (Mimi) Goldberg

At Jewish Child & Family Services’s Glick Family Camp, parents, their children with disabilities and siblings enjoy a family-oriented, nature-filled camp experience – together! The camp is offered once each spring at Jewish Community Youth Services Camp Henry Horner/Camp Red Leaf in Ingleside, Illinois. The weekend is filled with a variety of social, creative, recreational and supportive activities. A family camp worker is assigned to each family.

Read more

Camp Does the Mind & Body Good

by Olena Vasilik, Psy.D. Camp Firefly Coordinator

Parents and children alike speak of summer camps with excitement, often reflecting on fond memories from their own experiences.  Summer camps are an opportunity for children of all walks of life to continue to build upon the cognitive, emotional and psychological skills learned throughout the school year. 

Camp Firefly is tailored to the special needs of children, teens, and young adults who struggle in social spheres.  Whether diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Asperger’s, Non-Verbal Learning Disability, Social Anxiety, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or just generally having problems with social communication, then consider Camp Firefly for your child.  The camp offers specialized, therapeutic assistance in boosting self-confidence, engaging with peers effectively, and managing emotional dysregulation within a safe, supported, and fun environment.  At Camp Firefly, youth learn new skills while engaging with like-minded peers.

Read more

Forever Friends: Camp Counselors Share Their Story

By Eliana Wool, M.A. and Caitlin McIlwee, M.A.

“Camp friends are forever friends.” This proverb was the first of many pieces of wisdom passed to us throughout our time as counselors at Camp Firefly.  We were both eager to be counselors, and, like the campers preparing for session, we wondered what our experience had in store for us. Nothing could have prepared us for how rewarding, fun and unforgettable camp was!

Read more

Social Thinking at Camp Firefly

by Ali Katz, Camp Firefly Counselor

At Camp Firefly we have found that the Social Thinking ® approach, developed by Michelle Garcia Winner, has proven to be the most appropriate for our recreational camp therapy model, and best for meeting the needs of our campers.

Social Thinking ® has been described as a way of thinking flexibly about every unique situation and person whom we encounter.  It is not necessarily an approach for teaching basic social skills, but a way to engage a child, teen or adult in initiating and responding to interactions that instill confidence, happiness and success!

The Social Thinking ® approach has various models which help to understand how to tailor strategies for teaching flexible thinking.  One such model is called the ILAUGH ® model.  It is an acronym that describes the skills needed to be successful within social interactions.

Read more

A Week in the Life of a Camp Firefly Camper

by Audra Kaplan, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist and Senior Advisor, Camp Firefly

First day of camp, Mike is quietly keeping to himself. He’s not sure of his new surroundings. Some strange lady is trying to help him put his clothes into the drawers that will hold his possessions and a few favorite objects from home for the next several days. Mike is excited about camp, but if he knew how to express it, he would say he is nervous. This is not only his first time at an overnight camp, this is his first time sleeping away from family. He did have that one sleep over at Aunt Sue’s, but she is still family.

Read more

A Reflection On Camp Firefly

by Julie Feldman, LCSW, Firefly Day Camp Director and Liz Robbin, Speech-Language Pathologist, Firefly Overnight Camp Director

We remember our first day of camp as if it was yesterday. Bashful glances and giggles from the children; watchful eyes and tearful goodbyes from parents. The sounds of luggage moving into cabins and young campers climbing into bunk beds; counselors chatting and smiling ear to ear.

Our first day at Camp Firefly changed our lives forever. As Camp Chi campers and staff alumni, we were thrilled to be back at camp in a different capacity. We returned to camp with skills from our professional backgrounds as well as everything we learned from our years of experience on staff at Chi. And while our studies and work experiences provided a solid foundation for what to expect, we were amazed from the start at the careful planning and preparation the staff undertook – no detail left unnoticed, no hour left unplanned. We saw firsthand how Camp Firefly provides a safe and nurturing camp experience for kids and teenagers with social disorders who often find the camp environment to be overwhelming. As anyone who has been to camp knows, it is a magical place where friendships are formed, new skills are developed and confidence is built.

Read more

Home Away From Home At Camp Firefly

by Lindsay Hardy, M. A., Pre-doctoral Psychology Intern

Camp Firefly has been my ‘happy place’ for three years…friends and family know I am busy every year at the end of July because I make it a point to clear my schedule and head up to camp.”  – Returning camp counselor, 2013.

This counselor’s very special experience of Camp Firefly is not uncommon. A majority of counselors return to work at Camp Firefly each year, placing careers, family, school, and social lives on hold to spend a magical two weeks in Wisconsin under the bright July sun. They help children and teens with diagnosed social disorders such as Social Anxiety, OCD, Asperger’s and others make friends and have an authentic summer camp experience.  Campers and their families arrange their schedules each year to make sure that they are able to participate in yet another summer with the Fireflies.

Read more