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  • The magic of KidsConnect Camp

    Aug 28,2015


    How does one capture the magic of two amazing weeks of KidsConnect Camp in one short blog post? This is an impossible feat. Let me share a few snippets that have been shared with me or those that I have witnessed myself.

    Days begin with a group cheer, often led by a camper or MIT (Mentor in Training). Craft activities follow. If you are an artist yourself, you likely recall the “zone” you go into during your creative process. Well this same zone happens here. Whether it is beading, making puppets, working with clay or mosaics, you will find that the campers really go into a calm place. Swimming too, offers a feeling of serenity and relief from the heat on a summer day.  Later each day, there is a different featured activity. We’ve had horseback riding, relay races, Tae Kwon Do, yoga and more. An annual highlight that is deeply cherished is the evening potluck cookout and campfire; this year, over forty campers and family members attended.

    The MIT’s have a special lunch time group discussion in which they learn leadership skills. They have all been campers in the past and now delight in being role models for the younger campers. A few of the activities that brought important lessons home included:

    • Learning to read facial expressions; what do they mean?
    • Practicing boundaries; how to give personal space
    • The good old fashioned game of telephone, and how communication can go awry…and what to do about it!
    • Concrete tools of helping others; ways to offer support, get assistance and encourage those that need it

    There are moments when visiting KidsConnect Camp that I ponder, how does this fit into the agency’s mission? It just feels like a fabulous summer camp experience. I then have to pinch myself. Yes. That is it. This is a group of about forty children, all with disabilities having a great time. JFS Orange is here to “empower all people facing challenging times to live with dignity, hope and strength”. KidsConnect Camp is a source of empowerment for all of the counselors, volunteers, family members and most certainly the campers. We hope to see you all next year!