Special Needs Enrichment Programs

A program of the nationally accredited JCC Day Camps

By providing a range of programming options, support and excellent services, our special needs camp gives children and young adults a space to learn, grow and thrive. It offers opportunities for families to connect with others facing similar challenges, share resources and experiences, and build lifelong friendships.

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Special Needs Camp

Our programs

All special needs camps are tailored to accommodate each child’s unique needs and interests – providing plenty of opportunities for socialization, self-exploration, and communication development. From swimming and sports activities to outdoor exploration, and arts and crafts, there is a broad range of activities to keep children and young adults engaged and motivated. See our special needs programs in action.

For children entering kindergarten through ninth grade

KAT (an inclusion program incorporated within the Camp Kehilla program) gives campers the opportunity to feel included and valued, build self-confidence, increase independence, and make new friends as they participate in the social, physical and fun activities of traditional camp. Each camper is supported by an inclusion counselor who has been trained to provide support and/or assistance, as well as help children develop social connections with peers. KAT campers will participate in activities like fishing, canoeing, arts and crafts, cooking, and swimming. Limited spaces available. New campers will require a meeting with the Director of JCC Special Needs Enrichment Department. Please note: KAT is four consecutive weeks only. Weekly options are not available.

For children and young adults ages 10 to 28

Campers in SNAP are broken into pods based on their level of ability in a 3:1 setting and will participate in a combination of on-site camp fun with the several off-campus field trips each week. In a safe environment, campers are encouraged to explore new interests and enjoy new experiences. Additionally, campers will take part in workshops and activities surrounding independent living skills, healthy eating and food preparation, and other important life skills throughout the session. For support, a wide variety of vendors will be coming to The J to provide entertaining, educational and health-focused programming.

For young adults ages 15 to 28

Campers in YAAT are broken into pods based on their level of ability in a 3:1 setting and will participate in vocational and life skill programming. Campers will work with job coaches to learn and develop both vocational and soft skills, and will practice those skills through community outings. Additionally, a wide variety of vendors will be coming to The J to provide entertaining, educational and health-focused programming.

Bonus: Campers in the YAAT program may be eligible to take part in the Extended School Year (ESY) program during the summer. There, campers will work on their IEP goals under the supervision of ESY-specific staff, and your camper’s school district will often pay for one session of camp.

Thursday Night Social Group meets twice monthly, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., to give special needs individuals with special needs ages 16+ an opportunity to build relationships and engage with peers. Activities include bingo, karaoke, happy hour with mocktails, pizza/movie night, etc. Events are free for participants. Please RSVP to Shayne at  [email protected]

For adults ages 26-35 years.

GRADs participate in social activities, independent living skills (ILS) workshops, and exercise classes throughout the week, in addition to other fun activities. Programming runs Tuesday-Thursday and weekly options are available. Third party payments are accepted.

GRAD is a new component to the SNAP program, with similar goals, programming, and logistics. GRADs will be in pods with a 3:1 ratio of participants to staff.

Registration for GRADs will be available in the upcoming weeks and more information will be available then.

“This camp is more than just a camp to me.” — Tyler Gagnon, YAAT camper

For your peace of mind, please know our special needs camp counselors receive extensive training and certifications, including, but not limited to, nonviolent crisis management, CPR/First Aid, epilepsy, behavior management, and an introduction to autism, inclusion and socialization. 

Questions? Please call (248) 432-5469 or email the Special Needs Enrichment Department at [email protected].