SPRINGFIELD, MA (July 2021) – From a STEM Academy to a Learn to Bike program to an integrative occupational therapy initiative, the Summer Camp at the Springfield Jewish Community Center is engaging the whole child this summer — with the help of our community. “As a community center, we are committed to providing an environment where young people can thrive mentally, emotionally, and socially,” said Deb Krivoy, COO of the Springfield JCC. “From teaching our campers how to bike, making science and math activities come alive, and prioritizing behavioral health, our partnerships with local organizations are setting up campers for lifelong success.”
Behavior Buddies – A Partnership with Western New England University
The Springfield JCC’s Summer Camp is inclusive: EVERYONE belongs at camp, regardless of ability level. At the J’s Summer Camp, people with different abilities are assisted by aides and participate in traditional camp so that they can learn alongside their peers. This summer our camp staff is partnering with Occupational Therapy students from Western New England University to launch Behavior Buddies. Our new Behavior Buddies program further enhances the collaboration between our traditional campers and our inclusion campers. By working together, our staff and the WNEU students ensure that all of our campers remain mentally and physically fit by practicing fine and gross motor skills, as well as modelling appropriate social behavior. “This program allows us to encourage our campers to understand how their bodies function better and how it relates to behavior in many aspects of life,” said Kyle Andolina, Camp Director at the J.
STEM Academy – Powered by the Mercedes-Benz of Springfield
The Springfield JCC’s Summer Camp is continuing its partnership with Mercedes-Benz of Springfield to expand its STEM programming. From making slime to building cars and race tracks and much more, campers will have many opportunities to hypothesize, experiment, create, and innovate at the J this summer.
“STEM education is so important to start at an early age and we applaud the Springfield JCC for being leaders in this area…they impact so many children every year at camp, so it just made sense,” said Michelle Wirth, owner of Mercedes-Benz of Springfield. “Increasing exposure to STEM, and bringing it to life in a summer camp environment is important to us, and essential for our community to succeed.” “In our STEM Academy, not only do we create all sorts of STEM-based activities, we also have created a variety of projects that help our older campers learn how cars function,” said Kyle Andolina, Camp Director. “We couldn’t pull this program off without the generous support of Mercedes-Benz and their innovative thinking.”
Learn to Bike – Driven by Family Bike and Elevage Partners
Thanks to generous donations from Family Bike and Elevage Partners, campers at the Springfield JCC will have the opportunity to learn how to ride balance bikes this summer. Learning how to ride a bike improves balance, strengthens campers’ gross motor skills, equips campers with self-confidence, and provides them with a sense of freedom and independence. This program will also teach campers the important safety precautions they need to take when on a bike. “This year we were lucky enough to receive three learn-to-ride bikes and helmets,” said Kyle Andolina. “These bikes give kids at a camp a chance to learn how to ride their bike in a safe way while also being able to accomplish something really cool and out-of-the-ordinary here at camp.”