Wondering how to talk to your kids about inclusion at Camp Judaea? Our Inclusion Coordinator, Becky Borak, wrote a letter to her own children about being a good friend to others this summer at CJ.
Dear Haiden and Elissa,
I am so excited for you both to start another summer at our home away from home, Camp Judaea. I know you have already experienced so much of what CJ has to offer, but this summer, I’d like to see what you can offer CJ; use your knowledge and heart to help others around camp feel like they are part of the loving CJ community.
I know that you both have so much tenderness and understanding for your cabin mates and like to make sure everyone is having a great time. I realize that this will continue because you are both such wonderful friends.
This summer, I want it to be your goal to find one or two campers who really need a friend. Maybe they tend to sit out on the sidelines instead of participating in the peulot, maybe they have trouble during menucha or bedtime because they miss home, maybe they are new to camp and don’t know anyone yet, maybe they are overwhelmed by the noise or endless activity happening around them. When you notice these campers, reach out to them. Talk to them. Listen to them. Make them feel like part of the CJ family, too. Your love for CJ and your friends will shine through you when you reach out to others and spend time with those campers who need that extra little encouragement.
I am already so proud of the support you will emit to so many new and old campers that will help them have wonderful Camp Judaea experiences.
I can’t wait to hear about the things you do at camp this summer and see your smiling faces in pictures daily! I love you both very much and will be refreshing my picture page every chance I get.
“The biggest barrier to creating an inclusive program is not the lack of resources, knowledge, or accessible facilities. The biggest barrier is actually one of attitude…we must understand that inclusion is first and foremost a philosophy. It is a mindset and a belief that everyone has value and something to contribute. It is a willingness to see the ability in everyone and match skill with challenge. It is an understanding that what our programs really provide at their heart is the opportunity to build relationships, learn who we are, and develop skills. It is being committed to the process of making our programs accessible — not only in the physical sense, but also by ensuring that each person’s participation is meaningful….Once we understand that inclusion is not a place, a program, or a time-limited opportunity, and that it is a state of being and a way of operating that says “all are welcome,” we can overcome the practical barriers of resources, knowledge, and accessible facilities.”
ACA (American Camping Association)
Attitude! What is an attitude? What is your attitude towards going to camp? What is your attitude towards your friends at camp? What is your attitude towards the counselors at camp?
What attitudes affect you at camp? How do these attitudes make you feel?
How can you use that feeling to change your attitude towards those or to include those who are differently abled so that they can experience camp like you?
Ask yourself these questions before you go to camp. Remember that everyone is different and we all have something that makes us unique. These qualities are what make the world go around. Use these questions to help others appreciate the special qualities in people who are not like you and how you can include everyone in some way or another.
How is awareness shown?
It is shown when people who have different abilities are treated as a whole person and not only in terms of their disability.
A way to do this is to welcome them and make them feel part of a particular setting. This can make a big difference in their everyday lives.
A key theme throughout the day should be the importance of people with disabilities being involved in all activities and in the camp as a whole.
It is vital to break down barriers and challenge negative attitudes. We need to promote a greater use of universal design principles to ensure that the built environment is accessible to all campers.
Positive things in a person’s life can change their life. Your attitudes of others can make that difference.