Staunton Farm Foundation Grant will Broaden Inclusion at JCC Camps

Posted by Rachael Speck on November 30, 2018

We are excited to announce that JCC camps, Emma Kaufmann Camp and James and Rachel Levinson Day Camp, received Beyond an Inclusion Policy: Ensuring Children and Adolescents Reach Their Developmental Potential, a $100,000 two-year grant from The Staunton Farm Foundation. Our overnight and day camps will utilize the grant to pilot an innovative community project to broaden inclusion at both camps, and also to define and implement an expanded vision of inclusion related to “invisible disabilities” and “fear of missing out.”

The JCC will create a 3-year strategic plan of broader inclusion at the camps that will include empowering and equipping staff, improving physical facilities, and documenting efforts and the impact they will have on staff, campers and their families.

This will include creating a sensory room at each camp. These specially designed rooms combine a range of stimuli to help individuals develop and engage their senses as a therapy that helps children calm and focus themselves so they can be better prepared for learning and interacting with others.

The initiative also will include training all camp staff in “Mental Health First Aid” to build mental health literacy and help them identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness.

Emma Kaufmann Camp currently is part of a national research study being conducted by the JCC Association in collaboration with Screen Education, a non-profit organization that conducts research on technology and human wellness.  The “2018 Camp Smartphone Deprivation Study” is surveying 12-16 year-old overnight campers about their behaviors and emotions related to being “unplugged” at camp.

The Staunton Farm Foundation believes in investing in a future where behavioral health is understood, supported and accepted.  This grant will allow the JCC to put an exclamation point on inclusion research by having access to national experts to create a community conversation around inclusion and the connection between mobile devices and mental health and what can be done to mitigate the impact technology is having on children and teens, including FOMO.

The Staunton Farm Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of people who live with mental illness and substance use disorders. The Foundation works to enhance behavioral health treatment, support and recovery through grant making to nonprofit organizations in 10 southwestern Pennsylvania counties (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland).

Rachael Speck is Associate Director of Camping & Innovation at Emma Kaufmann Camp.

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