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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 acceptance, 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 with their camp group and are supported by an Inclusion Counselor who provides social, emotional, and behavioral support. Inclusion Counselors provide individualized support and modifications to ensure your camper has a successful summer. 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. We offer 1:1 or 2:1 support for inclusion campers based on each child’s specific needs. Sarah Goldstein, Inclusion Camp Coordinator, is happy to discuss the various support options with you to help find the best fit for your child. 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.

Camp registration for the 2021 season opens on April 14, 2021.
Start your payment plan now, discounts for pre-payment. Scholarships* are available on a need basis.

Inclusion Camp Process

Before registering on CampDoc (J-Camps’ online registration) make sure you’ve completed the steps below:

  • Contact Sarah Goldstein, Inclusion Camp Coordinator, 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 Sarah Goldstein.
  • Schedule a Tour!

*If you are applying for scholarship or having a family support agency cover camp tuition, please check with Sarah Goldstein before registering online on CampDoc.


Sarah Goldstein
Inclusion Camp Coordinator
(413) 739-4715

Frequently Asked Questions: Camp Questions Answered

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 and greet and tour with the Director of Kehillah, will assist in determining the right placement for each camper. We currently have two options for potential campers:

 1) Inclusion Camp (8 weeks): The Inclusion Camp is our traditional J-Camps 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.

 2) Camp Kehillah (1 week): This special needs camp week works 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 or 3:1 (depending on classroom) with additional specialists on staff for the week.

What are the dates and hours of camp?

J-Camp Inclusion Camp will run from June 21, 2021 – August 20, 2021 from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM.

Camp Kehillah dates are TBD.

Elementary through Teens:  9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Older Teens through Adults: Monday – Thursday 2:00 P – 7:00 PM and Friday 12:00  – 6:00 PM

Can I sign up for just one week of camp?

Yes! You’re welcome to sign up for as many weeks of camp as you’d like.

Can my child sign up for a partial week?

Unfortunately due to space limitations, we can only accept campers for full weeks.

Can I supply my own support staff?

Yes, you may supply your own staff through your school district or personal care assistants. If you do so, your camp cost is $260/week for members, $320/week for non-members.

What is the cost and do you have scholarships?

J-Camps – Inclusion Camp Rates:

$495/week for 2:1 (members), $570/week for 2:1 (non-members)
$655/week for 1:1 (members), $740/week for 1:1 (non-members)

$300/week (members), $365/week (non-members)*
*Additional cost is support is needed

Camp Kehillah Special Needs Camp:

9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, Monday – Friday, Members $260, General Public $340

Teens – Young Adults from 2:00 – 7:00 PM Members $340, General Public $405

Scholarships and 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 April when camp registration opens and go through June 21, 2021.

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, and Association for Community Living.

What should campers bring for lunch?

We keep a kosher-style lunch area. The Springfield 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 J 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 Tina Edwards at (413) 739-4715.

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. To protect all children who come to camp and to prevent you from making an unnecessary trip, we ask that you 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 which is 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 J-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, Inclusion Camp Coordinator, should be contacted as soon as possible so that the situation can be resolved. If she is not available, please leave your name and phone number with the front desk and they will return your call as promptly as possible. Email is the best way to reach staff during the camp day (8:30 AM – 4:30 PM). If there is an emergency, please leave your message with the front desk and they will radio the 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 as needed.

Is the facility air-conditioned?

Yes, the J 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: 

Sarah Goldstein 
Inclusion Camp Coordinator

Camp Kehillah

Ages 4 to Adult
Camp Dates: TBD

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, as well as friends (with our Directors pre-approval) are welcome as peers at half-price. Our Camp Kehillah has predictable days, visual schedules, fewer transitions, and a 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

Ages 4 through 7
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

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 “let’s play together.”

Elementary Special Needs Camp

Ages 8 through 12
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

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

Ages 13 through 16
9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

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 Young Adult Special Needs Camp

Ages 17+
2:00 PM – 7:00 PM

This exciting camp offers fun options 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 Older Teen and Young Adult Camp requires an interview with the parents and older teen/young adult to ensure we can support each individual in navigating the community safely.