(Courtesy of Camp HASC) Over 500 staff members spent an intensive three days training for the upcoming summer at camp, featuring comprehensive presentations, workshops and sessions led by professionals from Camp HASC, as well as outside experts in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities and special needs.
With team building programs and topics ranging from sensitivity trainings, communication, understanding disabilities, New York State health and safety regulations, halachic and hashkafic perspectives and understanding autism, staff orientation at Camp HASC is a fulfillment of Chazal’s instruction that “there is no kedusha (holiness) without hachana (preparation).
In the opening “Parent’s Perspective” session Rav Aryeh and Rebbetzin Brenda Socoloff of Kew Gardens Synagogue, long time Camp HASC parents, showered praise and expressed their appreciation for staff, speaking emotionally about the impact camp HASC and staff members have made on their son and family. Camp HASC alumnus Charlie Harary shared his experiences as a counselor for two summers and described the incredible impact working at Camp HASC had on his life choices, personal and religious development and family.
Daunting responsibility and hard work await the staff: In providing direct care for individuals with specialized needs including administering feeding tubes, dressing , bathing and facilitating all their daily needs, as well as working collaboratively with occupational and physical therapists, staff members at camp HASC assume real responsibility. There are more than a dozen departments at Camp HASC, including therapy, a professional medical, academics and adaptive recreational programming, and comprehensive training is essential to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their special campers.
Incubating leadership, cultivating achrayut and motivated by the directive and value of ahavat Yisrael, the dedicated and altruistic staff members go way beyond their comfort zones every day throughout the summer, with selflessness and love. In the words of Andy Goldsmith of Cedarhurst: “We take our teenagers and we send them to Camp HASC. We make them responsible for the care and feeding of another human being - and they astound us with their capacity!”
Here’s to these incredible young men and women—and another awesome season at Camp HASC!