Inclusion programs support growth for people with disabilities

More than 1,000 people, ranging from ages 3 to 76, have participated in a series of inclusion programs, headed by Pozez JCC’s Inclusion and Disabilities Services. Guided by Jewish values of respect and empathy, the programs are part of a long-standing effort to engage people with disabilities in the Northern Virginia community, supporting their growth as they navigate different ages and stages of life.

Many have been diagnosed with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or Down Syndrome. To meet participants where they are, each program is backed by research findings and staffed by experienced educators and trained volunteers. 

“Everyone brings their own unique self to come together to make all that we do so special, and to foster a sense of pride in who they are,” said Alison Pasternak, the Inclusion and Disability Program Coordinator at Pozez JCC. “Our inclusion programs are a place where people come to find acceptance, community, friendship, and fun.”

A series of social skills classes, geared for 3 to 15 year olds, focus on emotional regulation and conversation skills. Children learn by doing — everything from asking and answering questions to winning and losing to making and keeping friends to coping and calming strategies. With growth comes more confidence and independence, and of course, they have fun along the way.

The classes were created in 2008 by a team of four professionals, including Melissa Hochberg, the Resource Specialist for Pozez JCC. With her background in special education, she has been able to support children and their families in a safe, comfortable environment.

“Our participants, of all ages, need a place to feel safe and included,” Hochberg said. “Parents feel safe at the JCC because their kids are not only cared for, but they are loved.”

For those very reasons, Melissa Napoli has been bringing her daughter, Sofia, to Pozez JCC since she was 4 years old. Sofia, now 19, has participated in nearly every inclusion program, starting with social skills classes.

“The JCC programming and excellent staff have been an essential part of the infrastructure that has made Sofia who she is today,” Napoli said. “They’ve given her the confidence to successfully communicate her needs, navigate the community, and create relationships with her peers.”

Napoli said her daughter, who is very outgoing and friendly, learned to recognize facial expressions and respond to social cues, giving her a foundation of skills to better understand and respond to different situations. 

As she grew older, Sofia attended Camp Kesher, a Pozez JCC camp for neurodiverse teens and young adults. Through field trips and hands-on activities, she had the freedom to make friends and gain independence in a warm, structured space.

“Sofia has blossomed into an independent woman who advocates extremely well for herself,” Napoli said. “The best part of her growth is that she is aware of her challenges and knows she has a ‘safety net’ or infrastructure she can count on for guidance and support.” 

For Sofia and her peers, social skills classes in particular have served as a gateway to other inclusion efforts, including a group of social clubs called Going Places! Here, teenagers, young adults, and grown adults build upon their skills and make lasting connections in a low-key setting, created for their age group.

Going Places! used to meet every other month. Some days were spent bowling or mini golfing. Others involved a stroll around a mall or museum. Each outing was planned with intention, giving participants a safe space to make friends and memories. 

“Everyone needs a place to belong,” Hochberg said. “Everyone needs to have an opportunity to make friends. To try new things. To have typical experiences.”

Going Places! was co-created by Pozez JCC and Jewish Social Services Agency in 2008. Hochberg was there from the very beginning, serving as facilitator. She attended nearly every single outing, oftentimes with her husband and kids staffing alongside her. 

During her first of 15 years as facilitator, a young woman piped up after an event and said, “I have friends. I’ve never had friends before. I can’t wait two months to see them.” 

“I said, ‘Okay, we’ll meet next month then,’” Hochberg said. 

The want and need for more face time increased the number of get togethers, which have taken place once a month, sometimes more. Over the years, more people have joined Going Places!, bringing the number of regular participants from 17 to 80. 

With growth, came recognition. In 2010, Going Places! was a finalist for the Mutual of America Community Partnership Merit Award, which recognizes outstanding nonprofit organizations and their contributions to society. Participants and their families were invited to an award luncheon.

As the program has grown, the people have, too. 

“I made wonderful friends at the club,” said Valerie Maizel, a participant. “I have gained confidence, learned how to approach new people, and discovered I can enjoy communicating with them. I greatly appreciate the opportunities I have at Going Places! and the positive effect it has had on my life.”

The club has sparked real relationships, from long-term couples to lifelong friendships. 

Hochberg considers one of the biggest successes to be an ongoing hangout via Zoom, originally created to ease loneliness amid COVID-19. On Monday nights, anywhere from 20-30 people gather virtually to chat, play games, and just be there for one another. 

The group wanted to keep meeting, even after shuttered venues, face masks, and homebound days became norms of the past. So they did, with encouragement from Hochberg. She supported two participants as they learned to facilitate the hangout, and they’ve kept the momentum going.

“They did it,” Hochberg said. “They learned the leadership skills to keep this event on the calendar every week. And that’s a big win.” 

Connections have led to meaningful relationships, which continue long after participants complete inclusion programs at Pozez JCC. Even those who have moved away still make an effort to remain in touch, especially with Hochberg. 

One former participant has become a penpal, sending postcards about her new life in Montana. Others text her with life updates. And some parents still email her for resources, even if their child is no longer a child. 

“These are real relationships,” Hochberg said. “These are real friendships.”

Celebrating Success & Community: 3rd Annual HorizonWALKS

What an incredible day it was at our 3rd Annual HorizonWALKS event on Sunday, April 14, 2024, held at National Harbor on the banks of the Potomac River. This year, bringing his energy and empathy to the stage, Shomari Stone, FOX5 reporter and news anchor, hosted the in-person event that drew participants from all around the Metro DC area.

We are grateful for the strong turnout and unwavering support from our amazing walkers, donors, fundraisers, volunteers, and staff. With 31 spirited teams and more than 150 enthusiastic participants hitting the trail (nearly 200 registered!), alongside the heartfelt presence of 30 devoted staff and volunteers, the sense of community was inspiring. Each step taken was in support of our campers and their families.

This year, it is anticipated that camp enrollment will surpass 100 campers – tripling its inaugural summer of 32 campers. The growth in demand for the camp underscores the importance of having the community step up to help raise the critical funds needed to offer Horizon Day Camp and its year-round programming to these families completely free of charge.

Continuing the Journey

We are thrilled to announce that, thanks to all this support, this year’s WALK has raised nearly $108,000 so far, and every single dollar stays here in the DMV! This incredible achievement ensures that the more than 70 children, who have already registered this year, will have the opportunity to experience the magic of camp and rediscover the joy of childhood, even in the face of cancer.

But our journey doesn’t end here! The HorizonWALKS donation link will remain active until April 30th, providing all of us with the opportunity to continue making a difference. It costs $6,000 per child to provide camp and year-round activities. We encourage you to rally your teams, family, and friends for one final push to help us reach our goal of $125,000 and send even more deserving children to camp.

Together, we are crafting moments of ellation and allowing children to just be children by participating in camp spirit days, swimming, singing camp songs and learning dances, shining during talent shows, and more! Let’s continue our journey, raising the needed funds to bring joy and so much more to the campers.

Thank You 2024 HorizonWALKS Sponsors!

  • Presenting Sponsor: Reston Limousine
  • Sponsor support from: AvalonBay, BARE International, Care Camps, National Harbor, Pride Staff, Golden Boot Soccer, Patient First, EagleBank, All Round Foods, Hardesty Concrete Constructions Inc., Spectra Credit Union, Flight Adventure Park, DC Divas, Tasos Katopodis, Harris Teeter, Select Event Group, and Pupatella

To continue to be part of this incredible journey of hope, community, and celebration, visit our event website at www.sunrise-walks.org/metrodc for more information and to get involved.

More Than A Walk

Sometimes it feels like the world is a scary place and then a friend, or family member, or someone you trust comes along and can make the worry go away with just a smile or a hug. Unfortunately, we can’t make cancer go away for the kids who attend Horizon Day Camp, but what we can do, and do REALLY well, is to bring smiles and laughter to their summer… every day they are at camp, that is our goal.

Because the camp is no charge to the families whose children attend, the camp is dependent on philanthropy to cover the expenses.

HorizonWALKS is our largest, annual community event to benefit the J’s Horizon programs which includes a six-week summer day camp, as well as year-round in-hospital programs and fun days for children with cancer and their families.  As mentioned, all programs are free to families and are only possible thanks to the generous philanthropy of community members and partners.  

On April 14th, more than 200 people from across Metro DC will come together at National Harbor to help us reach our $125,000 goal to support this magical program. But it’s much more than a walk. It’s a chance for everyone who cares so deeply to appreciate the smiles, the friendships, the connections, and the support that Horizon provides. 

This year, we are thrilled to have 29 teams walking (at the time of this writing… and teams are registering every day!). Walkers include camper families, counselors, corporate partners, and community champions. Check-in and family fun activities begin at 8am and our short, mile-long walk begins at 9am. 

There’s still time for YOU to join us!  Visit our WALKS site to register to walk with us. Not available on the 14th? Use the same link to make your donation. 

It costs $6,000 per child to provide our year-round activities. Help us bring joy to as many children battling this terrible disease as possible by helping to raise as much money as possible. We are well on our way to meeting our goal and YOU can help us get over the top! 

Nurturing Tomorrow: Upholding the Rights of the Child through Early Childhood Education

In the intricate tapestry of human rights, the rights of the child stand as an indispensable thread, weaving together the fabric of a just and equitable society. Among these rights, the significance of early childhood education shines brightly as a cornerstone, laying the groundwork for a flourishing future. Following WWII, the citizens of Reggio Emilia, Italy, recognized the intrinsic value of early childhood education in fostering the holistic development of children while championing their inherent rights, and ultimately contributing to a more moral and just society.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) enshrines the fundamental rights of every child, emphasizing their entitlement to protection, provision, and participation. Central to these rights is the principle that every child deserves the opportunity to thrive, irrespective of their background or circumstances. Early childhood, encompassing the formative years from birth to eight, constitutes a pivotal stage wherein these rights must be safeguarded and nurtured. While the 54 articles detailed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child consist of what may be deemed undeniable human rights, including “You have the right to be protected from kidnapping” (Article 11) and “You have the right to play and rest” (Article 31), the United States is the only UN member to not have ratified it.

Early childhood education transcends mere academic instruction; it is a holistic journey encompassing cognitive, emotional, social, and physical domains. Through purposeful interactions and enriched environments, children embark on a voyage of discovery, curiosity, and self-realization. Within the ECLC, key components such as a constructivist approach, play-based learning, supportive relationships, and inclusive practices foster a fertile ground for exploration, creativity, and resilience.

Cognitive Development:

Early childhood education lays the foundation for cognitive abilities, nurturing skills such as language acquisition, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Engaging experiences stimulate neural connections, cultivating a lifelong thirst for knowledge and inquiry.

Emotional Well-being:

By nurturing emotional intelligence and empathy, early childhood education equips children with essential tools for understanding and managing their emotions. A nurturing environment fosters resilience and self-confidence, empowering children to navigate life’s challenges with courage and compassion.

Social Competence:

Interactions with peers and caregivers within the early childhood setting promote the development of social skills, including cooperation, communication, and conflict resolution. These experiences cultivate a sense of belonging and interconnectedness, fostering inclusive communities grounded in respect and understanding.

Physical Health:

Promoting physical activity, healthy habits, and nutrition within early childhood education settings lays the groundwork for lifelong well-being. By prioritizing holistic health, educators instill values of self-care and respect for one’s body, nurturing a generation empowered to lead active and fulfilling lives.

As we champion the rights of the child through early childhood education, we must confront systemic inequities that threaten to undermine these aspirations. Disparities in access, quality, and resources perpetuate cycles of disadvantage, denying countless children the opportunity to fulfill their potential. Addressing these disparities requires concerted efforts at local, national, and global levels, prioritizing equitable policies, investments, and partnerships that dismantle barriers to education and opportunity, advocacy work that the ECLC is actively engaged in.

In the intersection between rights and realities, early childhood education emerges as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path towards a brighter, more inclusive future. By upholding the rights of the child and investing in their early years, we sow the seeds of progress, compassion, and resilience. Like the citizens of Reggio Emilia, we strive to work towards a world where every child, regardless of circumstance, has the opportunity to flourish and soar.

We look forward to inviting the Pozez community to celebrate NAEYC’s upcoming Week of the Young Child (April 6-12, 2024), during which the ECLC will raise awareness for the importance of early childhood, high quality early learning, and the critical role that early childhood educators and families play in young children’s growth and development.

In honor of Week of the Young Child, we’ve planned a week of special days for our children, families, educators, and fellow community members to participate in!

“Music Monday”: Dance Party! At 11am, the ECLC will drop whatever we’re doing and dance together in celebration of early childhood – all are invited to participate!

“Tasty Tuesday”: We’ll show our appreciation for our family partnerships by offering a coffee bar and refreshments for families in the lobby in the morning.

“Work Together Wednesday”: Educator Potluck! The ECLC staff will work together to put on a delicious spread to be enjoyed together.

“Artsy Thursday”: Chalk the walk! Our ECLC children will be invited to transform the sidewalk into a work of art.

“Family Fridays”: In addition to our in-person Shabbat, we’ll be providing postcards for family and community members to sign and send to policy makers advocating for the importance of early childhood.

Building Ramps… Not Stairs

If you told me that when I graduated with a degree in social work, that I would be working in the camp field, specifically at an inclusive camp, I would never have believed you.

Hi! My name is Lauren, and I work as Camp Achva’s Inclusion and Belonging Coordinator. My role has two interrelated sides – firstly, by implementing supports for the mental, emotional, social and spiritual health of every camper, staff member, and family that is a part of the Camp Achva community, and secondly, by intentionally creating a safe environment for everyone to be their most authentic self.

I bring to this work a personal perspective on sticking out, the challenges of finding spaces I belong in, and contributing to causes bigger than myself, because, like so many in our community, I am neurodiverse.

Summer camp was my place to just be…me. To show up, and be welcomed fully for who I am, not what I could or could not do. It was a space for me to move away from a diagnosis and be seen for more than my ability level.

I am so grateful that I am in a role where I get to actively help create that space for another generation of campers & staff. It is through working hand in hand with the families and individuals that I, and the Camp Achva team, serve together to create individual success plans – at Camp Achva we believe in people over programming and connection before content. We live that ideal by adjusting our entire program for the one, to better the whole – which is inspired by a training opportunity our team was a part of that talked about their belief in building a ramp instead of stairs. Everyone can use a ramp, whereas only some can use the stairs. There has been a lot of exciting work from the Camp Achva team as we prepare for our best summer yet!

In a practical example of this work, our team has been discussing the length of our activities and how time affects learning outcomes and skill development. Our team has been discussing whether we should move from 30-minute activities to 35- or 40-minute activities. We are looking to adequately balance the need for an activity time length that holds camper and staff’s attention for duration and the number of activities everyone experiences in a day, with giving enough time to build skills and explicitly engage in conversations about what campers are learning. We see benefits of both and are continuing to weigh the pros and cons of each side.

We are working to improve our lunch programming as well – this is a time our campers and staff have given us feedback about, and so we are examining how to make lunch more like a ramp than the stairs it currently feels like to many. Lunch can be overwhelming! To some of our community, lunch feels loud, unstructured, and socially uncomfortable. To others, they feel perfectly in place, with lunch feeling structured and comforting. Our team is working on providing a structure that meets everyone’s needs with ideas from – camp trivia to weather reports, conversation starters to jokes, riddles, and word puzzles.

I am excited to continue these discussions and many others I get to be a part of through my work as the Inclusion & Belonging Coordinator of Camp Achva. I am so grateful for the work that I do. In this past year working with Camp Achva and for the Pozez JCC, I have learned that inclusion is not a choice, it is a lifestyle. I am working to make all the spaces that I am a part of inclusive.

While written in a different context, a quote that I have come to appreciate, rely on, and sums up my inclusion and belonging work is from Ijeoma Oluo: “every time you go through something, and it’s easy for you, look around and say ‘Who is this not easy for? And what can I do to dismantle that system?’”

Getting to know the ECLC Fairfax’s Atelier

Aligning with the principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy, the Pozez JCC Early Childhood Learning Center established an Atelier in 2010. Over the years the ECLC’s atelier has become an integral part of the children’s learning experiences at school, as an active space where curiosity is sparked and creativity flourishes.

But what is an Atelier in an early childhood context?

Atelier is a French word defined as a workshop or studio. For the young children that attend the ECLC, the Atelier is a space, a laboratory of sorts, where they can express themselves authentically, question, wonder, and discover new knowledge through aesthetic experiences.

Children live in a world of relationships, and use multiple senses, such as touching, smelling, tasting, and listening, to investigate and process connections between themselves and the world around them. This interconnectedness is not limited, but incorporates materials, provided, or discovered. In the Atelier, materials are presented in visually appealing ways, and the quality and authenticity of materials are essential in supporting the children’s thinking and learning. Children are given agency to explore these materials through poly-sensorial investigations. As children become more familiar with a material, it evolves into a ‘language’ for them to further communicate their thoughts and ideas. Intentional considerations of materials demonstrate deep respect for children’s capabilities and the importance of aesthetic experiences in learning.

In the Atelier, small groups of children visit at a time.  There are many benefits to working in a small group context, as there tends to be fewer distractions, establishing a place for children to observe, interact, listen, and learn from each other. Through small group interactions, children not only learn from their peers but also develop crucial social skills and a sense of belonging within the learning community.

This year, the intention of the atelier has been focused on mark-making. The goal is to continually offer a variety of materials to explore different impressions, scribbles, patterns, and shapes, which is simply the beginning of emergent writing. In the early stages of mark-making, utilizing different types of tools, from watercolor paints to clay, strengthens hands while children are engaged in the simple physical pleasures of making marks. When children realize that they can control their marks and share their ideas through these various forms of languages, mark making becomes a form of connection, as the traces that are left are purposeful. Each child is on their own journey, as they practice coordination and creativity through their own aesthetic lens.

A new video highlighting the happenings of the ECLC’s Atelier is being featured in the Pozez JCC lobby. As the children that attend the ECLC are the largest population that inhabit the community center daily, showcasing them and the work that they do shares to the children that they are valued, seen, and are contributing members of the community. Please enjoy!

ECLC Atelier Video

Let’s Say a Shehecheyanu!

As we start the 2024 secular New Year, I am left reflecting about our start of our school year in September. New beginnings feel like they bring so many possibilities and a great time to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing (a common Jewish prayer to celebrate special occasions) as well as to delve into the newness we feel as we start a new year Shehecheyanu Blessing.indd (1).pdf. The ECLC started the school year introducing our staff to the Shehecheyanu prayer as we thought about new possibilities a new school year holds. This feels just as true as we say hello to 2024. We will continue our school year wondering what possibilities this new year brings and where we can be grateful for what we have in our lives. We look around at our ECLC community within the larger JCC community and continue to build, grow and come together as a community.  As we begin anew with the start of 2024, the Shehecheyanu prayer brings with it a way to have gratitude for the new experiences that come with a new year.

At the ECLC, celebrating Shabbat this school year has opened new possibilities. We have been hosting once a month, in person, Shabbat’s as an ECLC community. This has brought with it extreme gratitude for our families, educators and children at the ECLC who help fill this space monthly with warmth, Shabbat songs and prayers including families helping to lead the weekly Shabbat prayers. This contributes to a greater family-school connection that we look forward to monthly.

I continue to look forward to the new possibilities that come with this new year as we continue reflecting and growing our ECLC and J community. 

The ECLC Explores Chanukah

Chanukah is a fun holiday that has underlying concepts of joy, miracles and light that lead to expanding learning opportunities for our young children at the ECLC. One of our educator’s favorite parts is being able to join in on the JCC’s door decorating contest. It is always exciting to see the creativity of the children and educators as they have fun decorating for Chanukah and bringing the holiday’s spirit into the building.

From the beginning of the school year, our ECLC educators have been taking part in a variety of professional development evenings that offer opportunities to learn about Jewish holidays through multi-sensorial play experiences.  Beyond providing the histories and traditions of these holidays, our intentions are to offer new ways for our educators to think about deeper meanings and consider new connections that can be translated to our young students. During our recent Chanukah professional development evening the educators spent some time in our revamped light atelier – a studio space inspired by the Festival of Lights. In this space, the educators had an opportunity to explore small manipulative lights, including some that spin or project onto the wall, a shadow stage with Hanukkah shadow puppets, and light tables to use with colorful toys and Hanukkah items such as menorahs and dreidels. It is important to provide this time for our educators to explore the beauty and possibilities of light before introducing these concepts in their classrooms. Over the past week and for the upcoming month, small groups of children along with their educators will continue to visit the light atelier to engage in curiosity-piquing, playful explorations, as they engage their senses, and celebrate the miracle of light. 

We look forward to lighting the Hanukkyiah, dressing up for our ECLC Spirit Week, and cooking and eating fried latkes and donuts.

We want to wish everyone a joyful Chanukah as we try to bring in even more light this year. 

Camp Achva’s 55th Summer

Most mornings I have a crucial decision to make – which Camp Achva T-shirt do I wear? This is a pivotal decision. Do I wear one from the early 2000’s with the sun logo? Do I choose one from the late 2010’s with “Camp Achva” written above the logo? Or do I pick one of our current designs? The choice on its face seems simple – pick a T–shirt. However, to me, this is not a simple choice, and this is not a choice that I take lightly.

Camp Achva is in its 54th year of existence and approaching our 55th summer. Over that time, Camp Achva has grown and changed significantly – from the programming thought of and offered, to the size of our camper and staff population, to our registration systems and the sessions offered, to our logos and our name, and to our summer location.

Currently, my team and I are focused on two areas of growth – programming and inclusion.

Programming

In the past two summers, a human foosball court, a slingshot range, mystery trails (a walking version of escape rooms), and a virtual sports room featuring Nintendo Switch Sports & Just Dance have been added to the program offerings at Camp Achva. In the DMV area, we are one of the only camps that has these programs available, and we are certainly the only camp that has all of them available. We aren’t stopping there either. We believe that our program design has lots of room to grow and for our 55th summer we are homing in on teaching lifelong games by adding three different types of golf activities: foot golf, frisbee golf, & bucket golf.

In the next 3-5 years, many more activities will be added. We are already planning for what those are, where they will be, and how to make them accessible and enjoyable for all at Camp.

Inclusion to MESSH (Mental Emotional Social Spiritual Health)

The camp industry, generally, has begun to expand the thinking around disability support services, under the label of inclusion, into the idea of MESSH. At Camp Achva we are fully embracing this notion and are enjoying the learning process as we continue to grow in this area. Our first step was to have a dedicated administrative staff position to elevate our understanding of how to support the authentic self of every person who is a part of Camp Achva. This can be seen in our updated Child Profile Form, in the way that we recruit, interview, and train our staff, in the Camp Achva Pride Flag raised at Gesher and the Pozez JCC Pride logo in our email signatures, as well as, in the language we use by offering our pronouns, for using caregiver &/or guardian, and having space for participants and staff to tell us their gender on all forms.

In the next 3-5 years, we hope to be a camp that fully expresses the word inclusion. We are committed to training our professional and seasonal staff towards this end and we are committed to making Camp Achva as joyful and accessible for our campers, their families, and our broader Pozez JCC CommUNITY.

Through all this change and growth, there are Camp Achva traditions that live on and provide continuity within our framework – wearing white on Shabbat, having Ruach (a weekly showcase where each group performs), Maccabbiah (color war), field trips, changing the color of the t-shirt, & the long lines at carpool that we try to move as smoothly as possible. In recognition of our Camp Achva traditions, we look ahead to our 55th summer and the theme we have conceived to match this moment.

55 Summers of Impact

In 2024, Camp Achva is celebrating our 55th summer impacting children from all across Northern Virginia. This year’s summer theme, “Camp is More Than a Bagel,” was inspired by the Camp Achva album Jewish Is More Than a Bagel, Songs for Jewish Children, by Shirley Grossman. Through her unique perspective and awe-inspiring songwriting skills, Shirley wrote songs for Camp Achva with Broadway flair. She, along with our founders Adele Greenspon, Shirley Waxman, and Judy Frank, created a recipe for a Camp that has become more than just one thing – Camp Achva is a community, a family, a home. In honor of our founders, Shirley, our alumni, our current campers, families, staff, and the wider Pozez JCC community, we are proud to say that Camp Achva is more than a bagel!

Each Director has helped Camp Achva grow and change to fit the needs and wants of the community around it in their own way along with input from stakeholders. I have seen the growth and change firsthand as a camper, a staff member, the Assistant Director, and now as the Director. Camp Achva has always been my home, no matter the logo, the theme, the programming offered, the location, or the T-shirt color. Deciding which Camp Achva T-shirt to wear is a hard and pivotal decision for me because each one says something different. It says what programs we offered, what field trips we took, what Ruach presentations happened, who won Maccabbiah, who the Director of the time was, and what theme was explored each summer. Each T-shirt is a memory and a reminder to me that I have the most important and wonderful job I could have ever hoped for – to make Camp Achva a home for those now coming to Camp and to dream of how to make it a life-impacting experience for those coming to Camp Achva in the future, as it has been for me and so many others.

By the way, Tuesday, November 7, 2023 is International Summer Camp T-Shirt Day… I hope all who have fond camp memories, Camp Achva or otherwise, will proudly wear your favorite camp t-shirt!