Summer camp is a wonderful experience for children of all ages and abilities. Camp focuses on fostering social relationships between all of the campers and the staff to create an enriching and loving environment. Throughout the weeks of summer camp, a sense of community is developed through various programs such as, color wars. Color wars is one example were children from every unit are randomly placed on two different teams represented by colors and compete for the week through different activities. The activities focus on enhancing cognitive and physical abilities. Weeks like these allow children to collaborate and get to know other children who are not in their unit or even their age in a fun and cooperative environment.
A child with special needs can be anyone with cognitive, physical, sensory, social, or emotional difficulties. As an occupational therapy student, I am equipped to recognize these difficulties and the ways that a child can be helped in all environments. Camp is no exception and the environment created by the staff is able to foster development of all children in a fun and exciting way. At camp children are taught everyday life skills such as cooking and gardening; an occupational therapist would call these activities of daily living and they are essential for independence and quality of life. In the eyes of occupational therapy improving participation in these meaningful activities will enhance overall quality of life. This is a huge benefit of camp because it allows children to feel successful which gives them more confidence to participate and try new things throughout their day.
J and R is helping to promote various skills that will be used throughout the camper’s lives. All of the activities focus on team building, interpersonal relationships, and emotional regulation. Being a part of camp as a counselor has been an incredible experience and I wish and hope that more children with special needs get to experience the amazement of camp. I have been able to see children, as young as 4 and as old as teen agers, grow and become more confident in their abilities because of the camp atmosphere and amazing staff.
JCC Staff member
Doctor of Occupational Therapy Student
University of Pittsburgh | Class of 2021