Health & Wellness

West Essex YMCA Offers Inclusive Summer Day Camp for Children with Special Needs

3b6dd383b2231406653c_M_kickball.jpg
5a27146bbc5f78e68cca_PT_website.jpg
3b6dd383b2231406653c_M_kickball.jpg

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Aware of the summer camp conundrum that faces parents who have a child with special needs, the West Essex YMCA has created an integrated program at its Pioneer Trails Day Camp.

The West Essex Y is hiring and training additional camp counselors to give children with special needs support to participate alongside their peers, thanks to a $12,000 grant from the Lisa Beth Gerstman Foundation.

“This gives parents an opportunity to send their child to a mainstream camp experience, where they are able to enjoy all the fun of all the activities, because they have the additional support,’’ said Camp Director Joanne Browne.

Sign Up for E-News

The program is entering its second season at Pioneer Trails Day Camp, which runs for seven weeks at Caldwell University. The Gerstman Foundation, which has been funding inclusive summer camps since 2003, first awarded a grant to the West Essex YMCA in the summer of 2015.

“I couldn’t imagine a better partner than the Y,’’ said Linda Gerstman, a founder and board member of the foundation named for her late sister. 

Lisa Gerstman was only 11 years old when she perished in a bus accident along with six other children on their way to a camp trip in July 1970. Lisa’s love for summer camp inspired her family to establish the foundation in her memory.

“People with special needs can do great things, and this gives children the opportunity to get in the game and make their mark,” said Linda Gerstman. Children without disabilities “get to see that, and I think that helps to chip away at the distance between them.”

Gerstman also noted that every dollar donated to the foundation goes to provide summer camp experiences. The foundation supports more than two dozen camp programs in New York and New Jersey.

“The beauty of the Gerstman grant is that it allows us to have this conversation with parents up front, so that we know what support a child needs before they arrive,’’ said Browne, who is also the West Essex YMCA’s associate director of child care and camp.

In its first year, the initiative served 12 children, with specially trained counselors each overseeing two children with special needs.

Children with a range of disabilities participate in tennis, swimming, archery, outdoor and indoor games, performing arts, and much more alongside children without disabilities.  

“Children with special needs get the support they need but are also part of the group. It’s a very inclusive, blended program,’’ said Browne.

The West Essex YMCA also runs an “Everyone Can Play” program for children with disabilities, and a fitness initiative for Livingston School District middle school and high school students with autism.

For more information about the camp and programs, families may call (973) 992-7500 or visit westessexymca.org. Families interested in Pioneer Trails Day Camp may also email Browne at JBrowne@metroymcas.org.

TAPinto Livingston, TAPinto West Essex and TAPinto West Orange are proud to highlight one of their sponsors this week, The West Essex YMCA.

TAPinto thanks The West Essex YMCA for its continuing support to help us deliver important news to the residents of this community on a daily basis. Because of sponsors like The West Essex YMCA, TAPinto is completely free to subscribers.

To learn more about becoming a sponsor of TAPinto, contact Jackie Schatell at (201) 618-7444.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Livingston

James Caldwell High School Locks Down Following Threatening Message

February 24, 2018

WEST CALDWELL, NJ — Police confirmed that James Caldwell High School was under lockdown on Saturday afternoon during an all-day “Music Marathon” event after concern was raised about a threatening post. The West Caldwell Police Department is currently handling the investigation.

"West Caldwell Police was notified of a potential threat at the high school," said ...

How Do I Decide Which College to Attend?

Now that college acceptances are rolling in, how do I decide which to attend?

Your hard work in high school has paid off. You took your SAT/ACT exams, got the best grades you could, and filled out as many applications as you needed to. Acceptance letters are starting to come in and you need to make a decision on where you will go in the fall. It's hard to decide!! Here are some tips and ...

Shouts of Racial Slurs During "Black Panther" Bring Police to Sparta Theatre

February 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night because of a woman shouting slurs in a screening of Black Panther.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including “look at these ‘n-word’” and “can you believe these ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b9dfd7fd9ec06f34f8cd_coriphoto

Sat, February 24, 4:00 PM

Lobby - Office Building, Livingston

Gun Violence Prevention & Congressional Candidates

Other

Carousel_image_198d9d8e60fbe2b63cf4_be01635f448f7ee17d10_flyred_photo1

Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM

CycleBar, Livingston

Cycle Red for Heart Disease to Benefit Heart ...

Giving Back

Mon, February 26, 1:30 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Monday at the Movies: WILD OATS

Arts & Entertainment

NJ Acting Health Commissioner Cites Inglemoor as Example of Best Practices in Flu Prevention

February 22, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — With one of the worst flu seasons in recent history taking a daily toll across the nation, New Jersey Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal visited Inglemoor Rehabilitation and Care Center this week to meet residents and praise clinical staff for their success at keeping the flu at bay.

"There are best practices that Inglemoor has already implemented ...

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  

 

The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...