Hello! My name is Katie Ciaramella, a counselor with The Arc’s inclusive summer camp program at Camp By The Sea, hosted by the Milton and Betty Katz JCC in Margate. I’m writing to ask for you to support The Arc’s campers by making a camp scholarship donation today! You can donate securely right on this page by clicking the "Donate" button above.
Each year, thanks to generous people like you, children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) experience tremendous growth in their social, emotional, and physical development at Camp By The Sea while playing and learning alongside their nondisabled peers. They leave camp forever changed!
Unfortunately, recent funding changes have left The Arc struggling to find a way to send children to camp this year. In fact, The Arc nearly had to cancel its camp program! That’s why they need your help. If The Arc can raise $28,000 by June 1st, ten children will be able to go to camp for the entire eight week program. Your gift will provide tuition scholarships and support for each child with a trained camp counselor, like me.
As an Arc camp counselor and a special education teacher, I can attest to the difference the eight week camp program makes in the campers’ lives. Last summer I worked with two campers with autism. At the beginning of camp, my campers were hesitant to join in large group activities and interact with their nondisabled peers. By the end of camp, both campers had made incredible strides, amazing memories, and a lot of friends!
Without your support, the campers would not have had the opportunity to achieve the growth they did in the following areas:
Self-Confidence & Collaboration: A camper who had never been on stage before participated in the talent show at the end of camp! Thanks to the friendships he made in his bunk, his fellow campers took him under their wings and helped him follow along while on stage. His family was in the audience and he ran to them with a huge smile on his face when he was finished. They were all so proud of him – and he was so proud of himself.
Language Development: At the beginning of camp, one of my campers would only use single words to ask for something. For example, if he wanted an ice pop he would look at me and say, “Ice pop.” By the end of camp, my camper was expressing himself in complete sentences and would say, “I need an ice pop, please.”
Friendships: The children made real friendships during camp. Two of the nondisabled children in our bunk were especially in tune to my campers. They would sit together during lunch, on the bus, on the rides during field trips, and would often give each other hugs! By the end of the eight weeks of camp, one of my campers was routinely participating in another bunk’s activities because he had made so many friends in that bunk!
The Arc needs your support now so they can continue to help children with intellectual and developmental disabilities have enriching experiences with their nondisabled peers. Your gift today will make a lasting impression on the children we support!
Arc Camp Counselor
P.S. Watch this video from camp a few years ago, which shows Jake and his bunkmates playing a game of basketball. You'll be impressed by Jake's skills, and touched by the support he receives from his teammates!