Summer Camp

Parenting Concerns in a Covid World

Without a doubt, Covid-19 threw us all on a road we never expected to be travelling down. Parents and students alike grappled with school closures, online learning, working from home, and social isolation. More than anything, parents and children of all ages had to learn how to deal with the effects of these new stressors on their mental health.  

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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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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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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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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.

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