Julia’s Experience Working at Camp Kulam

Over the summer, I was a volunteer counselor at Camp Kulam. Camp Kulam is a two week day camp program at the JCC for kids with special needs ages 4-18. During my time at Kulam, I worked with the 8-12 year olds, and the 12-18 year olds. Prior to this experience, I had never worked with children with special needs, and I was quite nervous about the idea of working with kids who I (at the time) categorized as “different” than the children I had come accustomed to working with, through babysitting, and other child-related programs. The kids in the program all had some form of autism, but they differed greatly in their levels of functionality. Some kids were able to talk and play all day, and have conversations on a level that is similar to those of a typically developing child. While other children were completely non-verbal, and relied solely on hand gestures and incoherent noises as their form of communication. Whatever their level of functionality, each and every one of these kids added something unique and interesting to our group dynamic. While working at Kulam came with its fair share of challenges, especially in regards to communication with kids who have a hard time expressing their feelings, the experience that I had was overwhelmingly positive, which has led me to be an active participant in the JCC’s youth special needs programing throughout the year. I am so lucky to have been introduced to these amazing kids over the summer, some of whom I still see on a weekly basis through a similar program that I’m a part of. I had assumed that working with kids with special needs would be an interesting summer experience, but I can now say that the two weeks I spent as a counselor have persuaded me to continue working with kids with special needs throughout this year, and the years to come.

One thought on “Julia’s Experience Working at Camp Kulam

  1. Julia,
    Thank you for your thoughtful reflection. The work that you completed this summer is so important, and I am happy to hear that it might become something that you continue to work on in the future. Keep us posted if you participate in any similar work in the future.

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