All campers are B’tzelem Elohim

by | Mar 30, 2023 | Other News

Camp JCC is a place for children to explore, challenge themselves, learn, grow, and experience new things outside of the construct and expectations of a classroom.

Each camper, camp staff member, camp parent, and camp supporter have their own strengths, challenges, interests, needs, talents, skills, and special gifts that they offer this world. Everyone is created B’tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image of God, and every camper, no matter the circumstances, deserves to be enriched and fulfilled at Camp JCC.

Over the past two decades, many Jewish summer camps, including Camp JCC, have implemented inclusion programs for campers with special needs. The goal of inclusive programming is to remove obstacles that would otherwise prevent campers from participating. Whether it be through physical accessibility modifications, behavioral support, or trained care specialists, the guiding principle is that children requiring additional accommodations should be able to participate to the best of their abilities. These children are also created B’tzelem Elohim and deserve to be enriched and fulfilled by the camp experience.

A movement to a MESH model to provide support has gained momentum in recent years. MESH (Mental, Emotional, Social [and/or Spiritual] Health), acknowledges the needs of youth at this moment. MESH, like inclusion, is a holistic approach meant to actively provide support and remove obstacles to participation.

In the spirit of both inclusion and MESH, Camp JCC is establishing its own “Camper Care” team to support the camp community this summer and beyond. While many of the approaches previously used at Camp JCC will remain, the scope has changed to ensure that every camper is included in this holistic approach. By reinforcing positive social skills, instilling character development, creating a sense of belonging, “Camper Care” will enable more participation for campers with varying needs and backgrounds.

To learn more about Camp JCC, or to hear about year-round opportunities for teens in the community, contact Dave Flagler, director of camp and teen engagement, at or 757-452-3182.

-Dave Flagler