Campers take part in publishing a book at the YM-YWHA; photo via FaceBook

By Cindy Davis

When one thinks of summer camp, activities like swimming, sports and sing-alongs generally come to mind. While those are all important parts of the camp experience, one group of campers with special needs at YCC summer day camp at the YM-YWHA are adding book publishing to their summer lineup.

Thanks to a partnership with the Jewish Public Library (JPL) and the Kids Write Network – an organization that encourages children to self-express through writing – the campers in the manhigim (leader) group at the day camp are taking part in writing workshops that will culminate in the publication of their own book on their camp experience. The published work will be available on loan at the JPL, and the participants will each receive a copy. There will also be a launch party for the participants to celebrate this enormous accomplishment at the end of the summer.

“The goal is to give [the campers] a voice and to enter their world to better understand what they are going through,” says Helen Georgaklis, founder of the Kids Write Network and leader of the workshops. “We’ll also highlight how they feel about camp and how it benefits them – how they feel safe, happy and secure there. It will bring awareness to the benefits of summer camp for kids with all needs.”

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