Summer camp is often the highlight of the year for children. A break from the routine of sitting in class, water play outside, ice cream and fun. For young adults with special needs however, the summer often doesn’t include the opportunity for summer camp as the logistics and cost of their care is too complicated and expensive for most camps to manage.
Ilanit Hafuta, the Branch Manager of Meir Panim’s Or Akiva After-School Youth Center, thinks differently. She wants to make sure that everyone gets wonderful summer camp memories. In July she ran a three-week camp, free of charge, for disadvantaged neighborhood children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend, and this month she is coordinating and hosting a two-week camp for young adults with special needs.
The camps have many similar elements – bouncy houses, water play, sweet treats, and entertaining shows; however, the August camp includes all of the necessary considerations for her special guests – the campers. Some campers require a one-on-one staff ratio, some two-on-one, and others three-on-one. Ilanit has it covered. Some have food sensitivities, and others sensory issues, all of which are noted and accommodated for.
It brings Ilanit great joy to be able to give these teens a real summer experience, and we are certain it is an opportunity that they and their families deeply appreciate!