May 30, 2024
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May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Camp HASC is often called ‘Heaven on Earth,’ an appellation it received for good reason. When a camper enters her gates, they are whole, worthy and perfect. They are able, free and welcome. Camp HASC is a place that sees each person for what they can do, for what they can accomplish and for who they are.

With over 300 campers, ranging in age from 3 to over 70, our job is to create a summer home where people of all ages and abilities can flourish. Almost half of our campers are in wheelchairs, and most need 1:1 care. Many do not see, hear or speak and all have various degrees of cognitive disability. We are able to care for campers with specialized medical needs, such as seizure disorders, feeding tubes and prosthetics, with our state of the art, around-the-clock medical center, staffed by 12 nurses, doctors, EMT’s and paramedics. We employ 2 full-time psychologists, 3 behavior specialists and over 25 people in our recreation department. Our therapy department has approximately 25 NYS licensed therapists providing full time speech, occupational and physical therapies each day, as well as feeding specialists available for every meal. Our academic program has over 20 classrooms, each staffed with licensed teachers and aides to help our campers maintain their abilities and strive for further developmental growth. And making it all happen day to day, are 350 college aged young men and women caring for our campers with love and dedication that is unparalleled.

With its beginnings in the 1960’s as a family run group-home for young men and women, Camp HASC has expanded year after year to meet the growing needs of the community. We now have 3 custom tailored programs; our academic program serving children ages 3 to 21; our recreational program serving older teens and adults ages 21 and up; and our newest addition, a highly specialized program for children and young adults with autism.

As Camp HASC’s application season begins, we find that we receive more and more requests each year to accommodate children with autism, a growing population in our communities. While many people believe that children who cannot relate easily to the world around them prefer to be alone, we believe strongly that they deserve to be with others. We believe that they can be happy and productive members of our camp community, given the right structure, support and environment. So we open our gates to them and embrace them as full members of our camp family.

Our next stages of growth include plans for improved resources in our Autism program, including therapeutic farming and a sensory kitchen where campers can learn productive vocational skills while enjoying nature. We hope to hire more vocational staff to improve our ability to help our campers learn the skills to be active, contributing members of their communities.  And of course, we will continue to brainstorm to think of more ways to creatively and effectively meet our campers’ needs, ensuring that their summers are truly ‘Heaven on Earth.”

Want to help? A community wide fundraising event will take place to benefit the HASC Summer Program on Sunday, April 21st at 6pm, at the home of Rella Feldman, 1649 Hanover Street, Teaneck, New Jersey.  There will be guest speakers, firsthand accounts from counselors and entertainment.

Please give your support to help children with special needs enjoy a thrilling summer in the beautiful Catskill Mountains. For more information please call 718-535-1989 or 917-439-3355

By Rabbi Avi Pollak, Boys Head Counselor

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