This summer, children across the island will head to summer camp and spend their days making friends and having fun in the sun. All children—regardless of ability—deserve the same opportunity to have an unforgettable summer camp experience. That’s why the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island started Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs.
Marvin’s Camp, located at the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds, provides an educational, creative, social and safe environment for kids and teens with developmental disabilities. Led by highly experienced staff with degrees in special education, social work and school psychology, children at Marvin’s Camp participate in a wide array of fun and enriching activities. Campers enjoy swimming, boating and sports, along with hands-on activities like crafts and woodworking. Low staff-to-camper ratios ensure that each child receives excellent care and attention.
Last summer, the Marvin’s Camp opening was delayed due to a decision made by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). The JCC fiercely advocated for the OPWDD to grant permission for it open midway through the summer so that campers of all abilities could return to the campgrounds and enjoy the summer.
This year the JCC hopes to give the children of Marvin’s Camp a full summer experience. They had no positive cases among the staff nor the 700 campers across their camp programs at nine locations on Staten Island. Their goal is to serve the special needs community all summer long.
“Marvin’s Camp is so special to us and we look forward to it all year, just like our campers do. We know that many of them are feeling isolated and lacking some of their usual respite services, so it’s more important than ever that we’re here to offer them the support they need. We can’t wait to see the smiles on their faces when we welcome them back to camp this year,” said Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC.
The JCC is currently accepting registrations for Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs. You can learn more about the camp at camp.sijcc.org/marvins-camp.html. To register, contact Laura Irizarry at [email protected]. The JCC also offers an inclusion program in its traditional camp for those who would benefit from it. An interview is required for inclusion enrollment.
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