Experience Belonging at NJY Camps
Round Lake is a unique inclusion model at NJY Camps designed for children with diverse needs. Our program is built upon a philosophy of opportunity and choice for all campers. At NJY Camps, our approach to inclusion ensures that campers who are part of the Round Lake program are fully integrated into the camp experiences at Camp Nah-Jee-Wah and Cedar Lake Camp. Campers enjoy everything that a traditional sleep away camp experience has to offer, while benefiting from additional support.
To this end, campers are simply Nah-Jee-Wah and Cedar Lake campers, and are a part of the Round Lake program, in which staffing and housing are structured to meet their needs.
The Round Lake Goal
Each experience at Round Lake is designed to help develop confidence, independence, and improve peer interaction, as well as to have fun and feel secure in their camp environment. Communal living provides campers with an abundance of opportunities to learn about themselves and how to work with others. While keeping a strong focus on group dynamics, campers gain social skills and develop the friendships they often struggle to make outside of camp. Our program is flexible and individualized such that each camper’s interests, needs, and goals can be met. The camp experience is designed to offer campers life skills that lead to success and a feeling of accomplishment, and developed to encourage our campers to be part of a group.
Camp Life at Round Lake
Round Lake is an inclusion program at Camp Nah-Jee-Wah and Cedar Lake Camp for children between the ages of 7 to 17 with a wide array of needs. Campers come from both private and public educational environments in which they have been a part of resource programs, self-contained classrooms, and general education settings.
Acceptance is contingent upon interviews and supportive materials which are consistent with camp’s philosophy. Our campers present with a variety of diagnoses including, but not limited to, social communication disorders, ADHD, anxiety, and learning differences.
Professionals are available to provide speech therapy and occupational therapy as per campers’ Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) at no extra cost. Tutors offer academic enrichment in both individual and group settings and our mental health professional is also on site to provide support to our campers and staff. Our Round Lake staff offer the compassion, patience, and personal touch that help make camp a profound experience on multiple levels.
Our 7 to 11 year old Round Lake campers reside in dedicated bunks at Camp Nah-Jee-Wah, while campers 12 years and older live in dedicated bunks at Cedar Lake Camp. Our campers benefit from the support of a high counselor to camper ratio. In particular, the campers have scaffolding during the unstructured parts of the day, for example, during meals, clean up, rest hour, and shower hour. In addition, staff utilize visual aides, such as schedules and calendars, to provide the predictability and routine our campers seek.
Round Lake campers ages 15-17 in Teen Village participate in an internship program 4-6 days a week. Campers are placed at one of many locations on camp. Examples of placements include animal center, arts and crafts, STEM, and the administrative offices. The campers spend anywhere from 1-3 periods a day, depending on their ability and interest in their chosen area. This provides them the opportunity to develop life skills and gain a sense of responsibility and confidence, while also contributing to the community. Our social worker provides an in-service to campers, teaching interview skills and resume building.
Additionally, Teen Village campers travel on field trips one or two days per week to participate in community service projects. They love boarding the bus and venturing out as a group. An example of a community service trip that is enjoyed each year is our visit to the AFYA Foundation, an agency committed to sending surplus medical supplies to countries in need.
Meet the Team
Our Amazing Staff
Our staffing infrastructure is truly unique. Between our senior leadership, inclusion supervisors and coordinators, and frontline counselors, our team is built to provide the highest level of care and to implement the very practices our philosophy of inclusion is grounded in. A well-qualified, well-trained staff is the key to success at Round Lake. All lead staff are professionals in their fields, as teachers, social workers, nurses, occupational therapists, speech therapists, Jewish educators, and more. Each of our staff come with the experience, skills, and training necessary to provide the high level of care and program that our camp families have come to know. Each summer, we are privileged to have a team of remarkable individuals who demonstrate the patience, compassion, and energy that our campers deserve.
Counselors are mature, good-natured, and carefully selected because of their interests in working in the area of special needs. Many of our counselors are college students majoring in education, psychology, social work, or a related field. Every staff member participates in a specific, week-long training program. Throughout the camp session, counselors receive routine support and guidance formally and informally through in-service sessions and hands-on supervision. Each of these efforts culminates in a team that is primed to meet the challenges and joys of our work.