Registration is now open for Camp Firefly, an overnight camp experience uniquely designed for children ages 9 to 16 with Social Anxiety Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, and other Social Skills Impairments. New for this year, Jewish Child & Family Services and partner JCC Camp Chi will offer two sessions, July 29 to August 5 for youths ages 9 to 14, and a new slightly longer Teen Camp from July 27 to August 5, for ages 14 to 16.
“Camp Firefly really does light up my summer!” said Steve*, age 12, who has been going to camp since he was 8. “We were always busy having fun, so no time to be homesick. It’s the best camp in the universe,” he added.
Typical camp activities include swimming, arts and crafts, boating, lakefront activities, fishing, music, ropes courses, wall climbing, campfires, cookouts, and special outings. The daily schedule also offers children appropriate, interactive therapeutic group activities, and appropriate time for breaks and smooth transitions between activities, all designed to foster friendships and positive social interaction.
The camp curriculum for teens includes opportunities to be mentors for younger campers, to participate in a service project and to take a special teen-oriented field trip. While group activities will allow teens to build friendships and hone social skills, there will also be a chance to explore issues specific to being a teenager.
“The low camper to staff ratio means that we spend time with your child to support their individual needs, and offer strategies for working toward mastering skill sets that are important life lessons,” said Audra Kaplan, Psy.D., and Director of Camp Firefly. “At Camp Firefly, kids experience the joy and magic of overnight camp. They are accepted and understood by both peers and counselors.
“Camp Firefly is so awesome and life changing,” said camper Susie.* “I hope I can go every year!”
Camp Firefly runs takes place at JCC Camp Chi, just outside of the Wisconsin Dells. Registration is available at www.campfireflyjcfs.com, or by calling 847-412-4363.
Camp Firefly is a program of Jewish Child & Family Services (JCFS) and JCC Camp Chi.
For over 150 years JCFS has been the first and best connection to trusted, innovative care. We provide help, healing and caring services that redefine what’s possible in the lives of people in our community. We are committed to meeting the individual needs of each child, teen, adult and family we serve through: counseling and support; developmental, cognitive and behavioral services; special education; inclusive camps and recreation; child welfare; services for people with disabilities; and community programs.
JCFS also operates Group Firefly, weekly therapy sessions for children who need to build social skills and friendships throughout the school year. Visit jcfs.org to learn about JCFS services.
Dr. Kaplan received her doctorate of psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in 1996 and has been on staff at JCFS since 1997 and practices psychotherapy, conducts assessments, educates and trains professionals, and has extensive residential camp experience.
JCC Camp Chi has been enriching campers’ lives with memories that last forever for 90 years. It is a magical combination of activities and fun, friendships that feel like family, and growth and adventure that enhance our campers’ vibrant worlds.
JCC Chicago is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring a strong and vibrant Jewish life and community for generations to come. For information visit www.gojcc.org.
JCFS and JCC are partners in serving our community, supported by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation.