We know it may be hard to imagine leaving your child for a week or even for a night. Your son or daughter may never have slept away from home, may rely on you a great deal, and may even have a difficult time making social connections at school or in the community.
But at Camp Living Wonders something magical happens. Suddenly your child is surrounded by other kids who have similar experiences. Concerns about being different are replaced by a sense of belonging. Strong camper friendships form quickly as do attachments to counselors and staff. And the level of fun and excitement is absolutely over the top.
Your child deserves this kind of experience. And you and your family will be blown away when your child comes home with new friends, new skills, and a new level of independence.
Unlike inclusion programs that bring kids with special needs to mainstream camps, Camp Living Wonders follows a progressive approach that embraces a homogenous start (a camper environment comprised primarily with kids who have special needs) progressively sprinkled with more inclusive elements -- all focused on strengthening social connections, and empowering the individual with the tools to successfully integrate into group and communal living with confidence and independence.
Homogeneous groupings (in our case, Jewish kids with special needs) foster an incredibly strong sense of community and belonging. In this contained environment, campers gain the skills they need to be more successful in an inclusive environment.
At Camp Living Wonders, campers measure success according to their own accomplishments and improvements. Instead of trying to beat a peer in a race, campers will try to run faster today than they ran yesterday. Instead of looking around at “everyone else who is sitting so quietly," a camper will take pride in the fact that s/he is sitting quietly today.
As data collection is critical to the success of this approach, our counselors quietly keep track of every success and micro-win as well as every obstacle as we work to accomplish the following goals:
To improve camper behavior, increase confidence, and strengthen independence
To improve campers’ ability to function successfully in a group
To instill in campers a sense of pride in their Jewish heritage and a feeling of belonging to and being valued in the Jewish community
To cultivate a love of nature and increase environmental consciousness
True success happens when these learnings extend beyond camp
into the school year and at home.