Keshet Avodah at Camp Chi has been named one of 18 leading Jewish programs committed to fostering inclusion of people with special needs in a new supplement released alongside the 2013-14 ninth annual Slingshot Guide. Slingshot and the new disability and inclusion supplement recognize the most inspiring and innovative organizations, projects, and programs in the North American Jewish community, selected from among hundreds of finalists by professionals with expertise in grant-making and Jewish communal life. The Guide highlighted Keshet Avodah at Camp Chi for meeting a critical need, creativity of programmatic approach, impact, leadership in their sector and effectiveness at achieving results. The Guide states, "Evaluators are excited by the continued growth and innovation of [these] programmatic offerings… which address an essential issue within the community."
Since its launch in 2007, 95 percent of Avodah participants return to the program until they age out at 22 years old. "Keshet is proud to be among the organizations included in this year's disability and inclusion supplement for meeting those standards," said Abbie Weisberg, Keshet CEO/Executive Director.
Avodah provides individuals with special needs the opportunity to continue participating in overnight camp through their later teen years and as young adults, after most camp programs have long since ended. This extension provides greater real-life opportunity to practice independence and self-help. Through individualized vocational training alongside engaging recreational opportunities and life skills development, Avodah participants are afforded the opportunity to work at camp and contribute to the success of the operation. At a camp like JCC Camp Chi where it is common that typically developing campers and campers with special needs live in the same cabins and play on the same athletic fields, it is the next logical step that the camp staff be inclusive of those with special needs as well.
For more information, check out the official Keshet Avodah at Camp Chi video at vimeo.com/77516331.