This summer, children across the island will head to summer camp and spend their days making friends and having fun in the sun. The Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island is committed to the idea that all children—regardless of ability—should have the same opportunity to have an unforgettable summer camp experience. That’s why the JCC is planning another amazing summer for campers in 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, Marvin’s campers participate in a wide array of fun and enriching activities. Campers enjoy swimming, boating, and playing 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, Marvin’s Camp opened several weeks after the JCC’s traditional camp due to a decision by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the state regulatory agency that oversees the program. Recognizing how important Marvin’s Camp is to campers and their families, especially during these challenging times, the JCC fiercely advocated for the OPWDD to amend its decision. When Marvin’s Camp was finally granted permission to open midway through the summer, campers were so excited to return to the campgrounds and the JCC was overjoyed to welcome them back.
This year, the JCC is hopeful that it can give Marvin’s campers the full summer experience they deserve. Bolstered by a proven track record of no positive cases among its staff and 700 campers across summer camp programs at 9 island locations, the JCC continues to advocate on behalf of the special needs population it serves.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “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!”
The JCC is currently accepting registrations for Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs. You can learn more about the camp here. To register, contact Laura Irizarry at LIrizarry@sijcc.com. The JCC also offers an inclusion program in its traditional camp for those who would benefit from it. Interview required for inclusion enrollment.