Camp Simcha Special FAQ
- What is Camp Simcha Special?
- Who is eligible to attend?
- My child has multiple diagnoses. Can s/he come to camp?
- How do you safeguard campers’ health?
- Who will take care of my child at camp?
- Where will my child live?
- What’s the camp day like?
- What about my child’s diet?
- Can my child continue his/her physical therapy regimen at camp?
- Should I stay near camp while my child is in residence?
- Will you keep me informed?
- Can I visit?
- Do you provide medical supplies?
- Does my child need spending money? Is there a canteen at camp?
- How much does Camp Simcha Special cost?
Camp Simcha Special (CSS) is a medically supervised overnight camp for children and teens living with chronic medical illnesses or physical disabilities who are ineligible for other camps as a result of their conditions.
CSS is open to children ages 8 – 17 whose chronic medical conditions and/or physical disabilities make it impossible for them to attend other overnight camps. Campers’s cognitive functioning should be at grade level.
Campers are accepted after submission of a complete application, including medical forms that must be completed by your physician. All applications are reviewed by our medical director prior to acceptance.
Of course. Our medical staff has experience caring for children with a multiplicity of diagnoses.
Our medical staff is comprised of physicians, nurses, emergency personnel, pharmacist and physical therapist with years of experience caring for children with chronic illness and disabilities, including who require ventilators, wheelchairs, gastric tubes, and other medical equipment. Our physicians are certified in emergency medicine or pediatric critical care. Our medical director is Robert Van Amerongen, MD, chief of the department of pediatric emergency medicine at Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn, NY.
In addition to Dr. Van Amerongen, the medical staff consists of physicians, nurses, paramedics, EMTs, a physical therapist and a pharmacist. The on-site ambulance travels with the campers during any trips out of camp. In addition, a Medevac helicopter is on call and can be at camp within five minutes.
Your child will have his or her owned trained counselor, a loving and compassionate individual whose goal is to ensure your child has a great experience at camp. Children who require additional daily assistance will often have two counselors.
The staff to camper ratio is 2:1. Rotating counselors, specialists, waterfront counselors, and wait staff interact with campers and provide additional assistance throughout the day.
Our entire staff is carefully screened, including reference and background checks. In addition, all staff receives a thorough orientation before camp begins.
Your child will live in a cabin with five other campers and their counselors. All facilities at camp, including the cabins, are climate-controlled.
The camp day includes all the traditional camp activities, including swimming, boating, crafts, workshops, climbing wall and zip lines, paintball, sports, photography, videography, newsletter, and games. We also have interactive games, shows, and concerts throughout the camp session. All facilities are fully handicapped-accessible to ensure that every child has access, and our goal is to give children the opportunity to experience everything that camp has to offer.
To safeguard the health of our campers, we plan two schedules for each day, an outdoor schedule for normal weather conditions and a indoor version for adverse conditions like rain or extreme heat. Cold water and juice are dispensed from free soda machines located throughout the campground, and wait staff often appear in the middle of activities with bottles of cold water.
Despite the fragile health of our campers, Camp Simcha Special looks very much like any other overnight camp. The medical staff keeps medical care in the background so it interferes as little as possible with campers’ enjoyment.
Special diets are accommodated with a big smile from our chef, who takes all dietary restrictions as a challenge to prepare nutritious and very tasty food that campers will love. Children’s diets are customized to meet their needs, so please let the camp know of all restrictions and your child’s preferences when completing the application forms.
Our staff includes a licensed physical therapist who will follow your doctor’s prescription. The therapist is always available to deal with any unforeseen issues that arise and can guide staff in the care of physically disabled campers.
No! Your child’s camp stay is your time off. We urge you to use this time for yourself. Many parents go on vacation, spend time with their other children, or just chill out at home while their children are at Camp Simcha Special. We do ask that you leave a local contact if you plan to travel.
We make every effort to call parents (or their local contacts, if parents cannot be reached) if there is a significant change in a child’s health or in an emergency. In addition, campers can call home at any time, and you can call camp to speak with your child and his/her counselor.
In addition, parents will receive access to the restricted portion of the campsimcha.org website, where the camp schedule, newsletter, and photos will be posted daily. We urge you to check in to see how much fun your child is having.
Sorry, but we do not allow visitors at camp.
Parents are responsible for sending all medical supplies, including medications, and all equipment that campers need on a daily basis. Of course, we will make purchase items that your child has forgotten, and make sure that all his/her needs are taken care of, but we ask that you plan for your child’s two week stay and pack accordingly.
After your child has been accepted to camp, you will receive additional instructions on medication and equipment.
Everything at camp is free, including our well-stocked canteen. Your child does not need any money at camp.
Camp is totally free. We even pay for transportation from your home city. However, we ask that parents pay baggage and oxygen fees levied by airlines.