Jewish Summer Camp Welcomes Everyone

Jewish summer camp welcomes everyone - and I mean everyone. Our son Danny, who is now 23 years old, has attended Jewish summer camp for nearly 20 years. His journey began at the Mayer Kaplan JCC in Skokie. And since Danny was headed to Jewish camp, I signed up his younger sister as well. At three and five years of age, Debbie and Danny were eager and enthusiastic to follow in the footsteps of their older siblings as campers. However, for Danny there was a difference.

Danny is on the autism spectrum, and the secular day camp that his older sisters attended did not offer the services and supports Danny needed. Fortunately, an inclusion program jointly sponsored by Keshet and the JCCs did, and off we went.

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Travel Tips For Families with Children with Special Needs

Planning a Vacation? We Can Help!

While traveling with a child with special needs may require a little more planning and adjustment, it's just a different category of family vacationing! - Lissa Poirot

Travel Tips For Families with Children with Special Needs
Check out these tips from our IPI therapists for ways to make the trip easier and fun for the entire family!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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