Special Needs Camp (Tikvah)

The Constance & David Blacher Children’s Special Needs Program


Tikvah, which means "hope" in Hebrew, is a unit of Camp Shalom for children in Kindergarten to age 22 with mild to moderate exceptionalities such as cognitive, emotional, developmental, and learning disabilities.

We incorporate an inclusive camp environment for all campers. This allows all participants to have opportunities throughout the summer to socially and recreationally interact with one another. The Tikvah unit also provides programs specifically geared towards enhancing and developing skills that are crucial to our campers such as sensory, occupational, music and yoga therapies, just to name a few. Daily swimming is part of the camp calendar as well.

Staff embraces each participant’s individuality, and supports campers in their efforts to improve abilities and achieve their individual goals. Our low camper to staff ratio provides our campers with an opportunity for adventure and accomplishment with the safest supervision standards.Campers are grouped in Tikvah according to their age and level of development. Campers need to be able to participate safely in activities and may bring their own one-to-one support if necessary.

New campers must have an intake interview with the Director of Inclusion. The Mandel JCC provides a 1:3 counselor to camper ratio.

Kehilla Inclusion Program (KIP)

Available for campers in Grades K - 5

Kehilla means "community" in Hebrew, and that’s exactly what our KIP participants should feel a part of … the Camp Shalom community.

We believe that every child can succeed, every child can participate, and every child can make friends. We believe that the Kehlilla Inclusion Program is good for everyone — kids with and without disabilities, families, staff, and our community! KIP campers will participate with their typically developing peers when appropriate with a little more supervision.

The Kehilla Inclusion Program at Camp Shalom is an enhanced program designed to meet the needs of all of our campers. Participants in this program will be placed in an inclusion group based on their needs and preferences. The Inclusion Specialist and Director of Special Needs will design a schedule that is structured to ensure each camper has the best possible camp experience. Campers will be able to participate in any camp activity with support. This program will allow campers to build on their strengths and preferences to reach their full potential. Campers in this program will participate in alternate activities when the assigned activity does not match the camper’s strengths. A weekly home note will be sent home to show what activities the camper participated in during the week. Inclusion support will be provided during all activities throughout the day.

New campers who wish to participate in KIP must have an intake meeting and get approval from the Director of Inclusion prior to registering for camp.

Space is limited. Returning campers will be given priority for admission to the inclusion program.

Who is a good fit for the Kehilla Inclusion Program?

  • Campers with mild exceptionalities in Grades K - 5 who benefit from an IEP, 504 plan, Functional Behavior Assessment, and/or Behavioral Intervention Plan.
  • Campers aged 5 -14 years old, need to be able to change clothes, eat and toilet independently. While inclusion staff gives individual support when campers need it, each inclusion staff member serves 3 - 4 campers.


Available for campers in Grades 4 - 8

Ruach means “spirit” in Hebrew, and this group will feel the spirit of camp in a structured setting to set each camper up for success.

We believe that every child can succeed, every child can participate, and every child can make friends. This program was designed for campers with challenging behaviors that require a higher level of support than our general camp program offers.

The Ruach group of Camp Shalom is designed for children who would benefit from additional structure and support while going through the traditional camp schedule. Campers will follow an age-appropriate schedule, with support infused into each activity. Components of Applied Behavior Analysis will be incorporated throughout the day on both a group and individual child level. The staff members in the group come with specific training in the areas of classroom management and behavior support. Each camper will complete an intake, which will allow the Camp Shalom staff to design an individualized program to meet his or her needs. The additional supports will be faded over the course of the summer to prepare each camper for the school year.

Camp Shalom and JNightZ are not affiliated with the Yeladim Camp program. Yeladim operates as its own entity.

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