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Summer Special Needs Camping

Everyone is welcome at the J!

We make an intentional and active commitment to embrace differences and create a sense of belonging for children, teens and adults with different abilities. This requires more than just tolerance, acknowledgement and an awareness of differences – it requires actions to make every opportunity available for every child that comes to J-Camps.

Inclusion campers attend all camp activities just like any other camper. They are supported by Inclusion Counselors that act as facilitators of self advocacy, social interactions and activity modification for each inclusion camper as needed. Our emphasis is that every camper comes to camp for the same reason, to have fun and make friends.

An intake and interview are required prior to registration for all new inclusion campers. Each of our Inclusion Counselors are assigned to two campers within a camp age group. Campers who require 1:1 staffing can register for that support level. Inclusion Camp works well for campers who have had success in a partial or full inclusion environment with shared support, but we have had success introducing an inclusion environment to children who are in substantially separate programs during the school year.

Start your payment plan now, discounts for pre-payment

**Scholarships are available on a need basis.

Inclusion Camp Process

*Before registering on CampDoc (the J’s online registration) make sure you’ve completed the steps below!

  • Contact Tina Edwards, Director of Kehillah, 413.739.4715 to discuss your child’s needs, and to receive an intake form.
  • Read through the FAQ’s below
  • Fill out and return the Intake Form to Tina
  • Schedule a Tour!

Camp Registration opens on February 1st – Start a Payment Plan in February!

Scholarships available on a need basis. *If you are applying for scholarship or having a family support agency cover camp tuition, please check with Bethany before registering online on CampDoc.

JCC Inclusion Camp and Camp Kehillah


Tina Edwards
Kehillah Director

FAQs: Camp Questions Answered

Frequently Asked Questions

The Springfield Jewish Community Center’s Special Needs Department is called “Kehillah” which means “community” in Hebrew. We offer two camp options for your child to get the most out of their summer experience.

Which camp is right for my child?

Our special needs intake form, along with a meet + greet and tour with the Director of Kehillah, will assist in determining the right placement for each camper.

   Inclusion Camp (8 weeks): The Inclusion Camp is our traditional JCC Summer Camp program with extra support of 2:1 staffing or 1:1 staffing.  It provides all the fun, energy, and activities of a traditional camp to the camper who does well in an inclusion setting and wants to spend time with their peers without special needs.  This camp is for ages 4 to 16.  Some older campers do go on to camp counselor training or vocational camp experiences on an approval basis. 1:1 staffing is available.

   Camp Kehillah (1 week): The special needs camp week does well for everyone from the child in full or partial inclusion, to the child in a substantially separate classroom environment.  Our days are predictable and structured to prepare for school starting.  We have daily swimming, music therapy, arts and crafts, social skills games and structured free play.  Staffing is 2:1/3:1 (depending on classroom) with additional specialists on staff for the week.

What are the dates and hours of camp?

Camp Hours:

To ensure that your child gets the most out of their camp day (and summer!), we have 3 options available. Your child can attend camp for a half day, 9-12:30pm, 12:00-3:30pm; full day, 9-3:30pm; or, Friday only.

Summer Camp 2020:

June 22 – August 14

Kehillah Special Needs Camp:  August 17 – 21

Elementary through Teens; 9am – 1pm

Older Teens through Adults; Mon. – Thurs. 2pm – 7pm & Fri 12pm – 6pm

Can I sign up for just one week of camp?

Yes, sign up for one, two, five or all nine weeks.

Can my child sign up for a partial week?

No, unfortunately, because space is limited we can only accept campers for full weeks.

Can I supply my own support staff?

Yes, if you supply your own staff through your school district or personal care assistants, your camp cost is:

Members – $260 Per Week

Non-Members – $320 Per Week

What is the cost and do you have scholarships?

Springfield JCC Summer Camps – Kehillah Inclusion Rates

1/2 Day Member 2:1 – $300

1/2 Day Non Member 2:1 – $370

1/2 Day Member 1:1 – $460

1/2 Day Non Member 1:1 – $539

1/2 Day Friday Only Non Member 2:1 – $90

1/2 Day Friday Only Member 2:1 – $80

Full Day Member 2:1 – $460

Full Day Non Member 2:1 – $530

Full Day Member 1:1 $600

Full Day Non Member 1:1 – $685

Full Day Friday Only Member 2:1 – $110

Full Day Friday Only Non Member 2:1 – $125

Camp Kehillah Special Needs Camp

9 – 1pm, Monday – Friday, Members $260, General Public $340

Teens – Young Adults from 2 – 7pm Members $340 General Public $405

Scholarships & Payment Plans: Partial scholarships are available through the generosity of the Springfield JCC InFUND, Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Korn Family and Sadye Silver Fund for Special Needs Programming. Payment plans are always available. Payment plans can start in February when camp registration opens and go through August 15th. Final payment must be received no later than September 15th if setting up a payment plan with special approval.

Support Agency Billing: If you would like, we can invoice DDS or your family support agency with pre-approval of available funds. We work with many agencies but some include Autism Connections, SC@N 360, Down Syndrome Resource Group, Multi Cultural Services, Association for Community Living and many others.

What should campers bring for lunch?

We keep kosher style lunch area. The Jewish Community Center asks that you send in a non-meat lunch (peanut butter, cheese, tuna or yogurt). We do not allow children to share any food. All camp lunches will be refrigerated. Please write your child’s name on his/her lunch bag or reusable lunch bag. The JCC can provide water at lunch time, and throughout the day. If you have any questions or concerns on what to bring for lunch please call Bethany Young.

What kind of medical arrangements does camp provide?

We are equipped to handle minor illness and boo-boos. In cases where we feel the child should not stay at camp, we will ask the family or contact person to pick up the child. We wish to protect all children coming to camp and also to prevent you from making an unnecessary trip to camp so please keep your child home if they are not feeling well. If your child needs to take medication during camp hours or has complex medical needs, please contact Tina Edwards for the necessary forms and arrangements.

What should the parents expect of the swim program?

We are extremely proud of our safe and fun swim program run collaboratively by the staff of our pool, inclusion and traditional camp. Campers are tested and placed in their appropriate swimming group based on age, ability and previous water experience. Receiving these wonderful swim lessons and open swim time to practice is an incredible perk of coming to JCC Camps. During instructional swim, campers will develop and learn aquatic skills and endurance. Pool safety will be emphasized. Special attention will be given to campers who are having difficulty adjusting to the water. Please send your child with swim diapers if applicable.

When and how should I communicate with Camp?

Open communication is key to the success of our program! We ask that you communicate concerns, questions and kudos regarding our program or facility. If any challenges arise with your child’s experience at camp, Sarah Goldstein and Tina Edwards, should be contacted as soon as possible so that the situation can be resolved.  If they are not available leave your name and phone number with the front office and they will return your call as promptly as possible.  Email is the best way to reach staff during the camp day (8:30-4:30pm). If there is an emergency – leave your message with the Front Desk and they will radio staff immediately.

What are the campers allowed to bring with them to camp?

Please keep all toys and valuables at home! This includes cell phones, iPods and electronic games. If your child needs one of these items to help them throughout the day (i.e. reward, communication, calming) the item will stay with their Inclusion Counselor until needed.

What about my child’s food allergies?

Please make sure we know all the details of your child’s allergies, intolerances and/or autoimmune issues.  We have peanut free tables and will adjust per individual’s dietary requirements.

Is the facility air conditioned?

Yes, the JCC is air conditioned. In summer most of our activities take place outside, but we will adjust schedules based on each child’s heat tolerance and needs.

For answers to questions not listed here please contact: 

Sara Goldstien 
Inclusion Camp Coordinator

413-739-4715 x325

Tina Edwards
Kehillah Program Manager
Inclusion Camp Coordinator

413-739-4715 x315

Camp Kehillah

Programs for ages 4 to Adult
Camp Dates: August 19 – 23rd

Camp Kehillah, our substantially separate camp, will run the week prior to the new school year beginning. This camp is for all campers with special needs but works well for those campers who need extra support. Siblings and friends with our Directors pre-approval are welcome as peers at half price. Our Camp Kehillah has predictable days, visual schedules, fewer transitions and smaller group size than inclusion camp. Age groupings are flexible and appropriate options/accommodations are determined on a child by child basis.

Young Elementary Special Needs Camp, 9am – 1pm, Ages 4 to 7

Experience fun and learning through structured circle and cooperative play times as well as opportunities for individual exploring of imaginative play areas. Swimming, music therapy and social skills are included. This groups theme is “lets play together”.

Elementary Special Needs Camp, 9am – 1pm, Ages 8 to 12

This camp group includes daily swimming, gym time (stretching, ball skills and introduction to group sports and turn taking), arts and crafts, social skill practice games and music therapy. This groups theme is “making friends”.

Early Teen Special Needs Camp, 9am – 1pm, Ages 13 to 16

This camp group focuses on social skills, cooperative game skills and creating music as a group. This group has swimming and art daily. This group focuses on “teamwork.”

Older Teen and Adult Special Needs Camp, 2pm – 7pm, Ages 17 and up

This exciting camp offers fun options within the JCC such as art, cooking, swimming, basketball, and dance as well as spending time on community outings, shopping for our dinner supplies and attending museums. This will be a camp that is geared towards working as a team and respecting each other’s strengths. Our Teen and Young Adult camp requires an interview with the parents and teen/young adult to ensure we can support each individual in navigating the community safely.