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Camp Simcha Prepares for Its Largest Season Ever

Camp Simcha gets ready for its biggest season ever.

Camp Simcha gets ready for its biggest season ever.

In the words of a well-known politician, “It’s going to be HUGE!”

That’s the advance word on this summer at Camp Simcha/Camp Simcha Special, the overnight summer camp designed to meet the medical and social needs of children and teens with a wide variety of serious illnesses. read full story

Heard From a Client…

The impact of Camp Simcha lasts way beyond the summer.

The impact of Camp Simcha lasts way beyond the summer.

 

Rivky Schwartz, girls head counselor at Camp Simcha/Camp Simcha Special, received this text from a longtime camper. (We’ve changed a few of the details to protect our camper’s privacy.)

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Chai Lifeline Brings Chanukah to 10,000 Across the Globe

There were latkes and sufganiyot, desserts and delightful gifts at every Chai Lifeline Chanukah event this year. But what people came for – and found in abundance – were the distinctive Chai Lifeline friendship, camaraderie and support that will help them cope with the crises and challenges of living with illness or loss in their homes.

“Chanukah is a joyful season that we all look forward to,” explained Rabbi Simcha Scholar, the organization’s international executive vice president. “Unfortunately, there are myriad situations that affect the joy that families expect to experience. Some children will be in the hospital, which means that their siblings will be forced to celebrate without them. Others will be ill, but at home. Some will be saddened by the illness or loss of a sibling or parent.  Our mission this time of year is to make sure that no child is forgotten, and every child’s celebration is enhanced.”

The organization goes all out this time of year. Chai Lifeline offices around the globe put their distinctive spin on the holiday. read full story

1100 Show Support for Chai Lifeline at 2017 Annual Gala

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The 2017 Annual Gala celebrating the work of Chai Lifeline internationally was an evening of laughter and tears, amazement and awe.

Master Mentalist Lior Suchard astounded us with his abilities. At one point, two members of our audience multiplied several numbers important only to them. When they revealed the number on their cellphone, he revealed the number on a huge scroll. when the scroll was turned upside down, the numbers spelled out “Chai Lifeline.”

We were brought to tears by the hauntingly beautiful “We Are Strong: The Faces of Hope,” written by Malky Storch, Bracha Goldstein and Miriam Storch. They sang the song to their beloved sister, Hudis, as she lay dying. It was sung publicly for the first time by 8th Day at the Gala. read full story

Then…and Now

Madeline's illness took a chunk of her childhood - but not her spirit or zest for life. Her experience at Camp Simcha inspired her to give forward. She now plans a professional life of helping others.

Madeline’s illness took a chunk of her childhood – but not her spirit or zest for life. Her experience at Camp Simcha inspired her to give forward. She now plans a professional life of helping others.

When I was two years old, I was diagnosed with cancer and Chai Lifeline changed my life! They were always there for me when I needed someone. Camp Simcha changed my life and I made so many friends there. I still speak to them from this day! When I grow up, I want to be an American Sign Language teacher to help kids who are deaf. Thank you Chai Lifeline!

Madeline Benoff

Camp Simcha Works Its Magic for 440 Campers

Camp Simcha was turned into a Magic Kingdom this summer.

Camp Simcha was turned into a Magic Kingdom this summer.

It’s always enchanting to watch the buses pull in to Camp Simcha. Four times a summer, children alight into the waiting arms of counselors, go through a purple arch and emerge into a world where illness recedes and fun awaits. read full story

“Just Keep Trying” Adaptive Athlete Tells Camp Simcha Special Girls

Adaptive athlete Lindsay Hilton had a clear message for the girls of Camp Simcha Special: "Just try."

Adaptive athlete Lindsay Hilton had a clear message for the girls of Camp Simcha Special: “Just try.”

Lindsay Hilton was born without lower limbs on her legs or arms, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming a CrossFit sensation, company spokesperson, and award-winning adaptive athlete. This summer, she added motivational speaker to her long list of accomplishments when she broke numerous barriers for the girls of Camp Simcha Special. read full story

MID-ATLANTIC “ENTOURAGE” BRINGS YOUNG VOLUNTEERS TO JOHNS HOPKINS

Entourage offers younger volunteers the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of  peers living with illnesses.

Entourage offers younger volunteers the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of peers living with illnesses.

A unique collaboration between Chai Lifeline Mid-Atlantic and Johns Hopkins Medical Center is integrating young volunteers into Chai Lifeline while creating exciting programs for children battling a number of medical conditions.

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New Video Shows That There Are No Limits to What Sick Kids Can Do.

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Despite having lost both his legs to illness, Benji maintains there are no limits to what he will accomplish in life.

 

Too often, our default emotion when we hear about childhood illness is pity. It’s natural to feel awful when confronted with the reality of pediatric illness, but does it really reflect how children with illnesses see themselves?
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Two Questions To Ask Yourself About Summer Camp For Your Child

Two Questions To Ask Yourself About Summer Camp For Your Child

The right camp experience is the one that offers children fun, friendship, and a chance to enhance their social and emotional toolbox.

The right camp experience is the one that offers children fun, friendship, and a chance to enhance their social and emotional toolbox.


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While most parents of overnight campers are already thinking about trunks and sunscreen, there remains a group of moms and dads who are still on the fence about sleepaway camp. Many parents of children who are ill or disabled haven’t found the camp that meets their child’s needs.
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Rivkah Reichmann, the associate director of Camp Simcha Special, a camp for chronically ill and disabled children and teens in Glen Spey, NY, has counseled hundreds of parents since the camp was established in 2001. She asks parents two questions to help them decide on camping options.
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Can the child’s health and safety needs be met by the camp?

Clearly, this is the most important concern regardless of a child’s health status. Parents should ascertain that the camp’s facilities are appropriate. If the child needs a wheelchair or walker, there should be easy access to every building so that the child can participate in all aspects of camp life. As important, maintenance and cleanliness standards must be high. Parents should also check the medical program: is there staff who can deal with both day-to-day needs and emergencies? Does the camp have emergency procedures in place? What about medication? Injections? Does the camp feel confident that its medical staff can deal with your child’s health requirements? Do you?
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What about your child’s social and emotional needs?

Summer camp is about friends and fun, but it’s also about growth and self-enhancement. The best camp for your child is the one that will allow him or her to shine through friendships and new skills. When the choice is between a “normal” camp and one designed for children with special needs, parents should consider the child’s social life throughout the year. Children who have to work to keep up may do better in a camp where everyone is working at their pace.
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“Sometimes children with illnesses or disabilities are the only kids who are sick in school. They are labeled. They feel left out. They may have few friends. These children may do better in an environment of peers, where all the children are struggling with similar challenges,” said Mrs. Reichmann. “They learn to appreciate their own strengths and differences. They are no longer isolated. The ‘bump’ they get at camp may be enough to make a difference all year long.”

 

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