February 2013 is the 5th Annual Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month. A month dedicated to raising awareness and expanding the inclusivity of the Jewish community. URJ Eisner and Crane Lake Camps remains committed to inclusivity and to creating programs for a children with special needs.
This past August, just days after second session ended, Camp Chazak began for it’s second summer. Camp Chazak is a one-week program for children with various special needs, giving them the opportunity to have a Reform Jewish camp experience enriched with Eisner and Crane Lake traditions. Campers utilize all of the facilities and programming that camp has to offer with the support they need so that they can have a successful camp experience. We hear from parents throughout the year about the positive experiences that Camp Chazak provided for their children, and in turn for their entire family. The entire URJ Camps community was strengthened by Camp Chazak. During the one-week program, campers were inspired to make connections, acquire Jewish identity and build community.
Camp Chazak’s impact reaches far beyond the campers who participated in our first summer. The Eisner and Crane Lake community has grown and strengthened, and has embraced Camp Chazak. One of the corner stones of the Camp Chazak program is that it runs concurrently with NFTY-Northeast’s Summer Institute. Because of this, our campers have the opportunity to interact with teenagers throughout their week at camp. The teens and campers join together for programming, services, campfires, and so much more. This year, the NFTY-NE teens have been working throughout the year to help plan and fundraise for Camp Chazak and they can’t wait for summer 2013!
As we plan for Camp Chazak’s third summer, we hope to grow by reaching more campers and families. Think of the children in your congregation, community and in your life who would benefit from Camp Chazak. We will be holding meetings in Boston (March 6th at Temple Shalom in Newton) and New York(Date TBA) and would love for new and prospective families, as well as returning campers to join us there.