FROM THE DIRECTORS
Bring Camp into your Home!
We hope you are all healthy and safely at home with your loved ones. As we all continue to navigate school and work from home, our JCC Camps at Medford team is working to bring you continued camp sunshine! Over the last few weeks we have sent out the following through Facebook and email:
- Camp t-shirt day- Make every day a camp t-shirt day so we can all dream of summer together!
- Camp Song Video Challenge- Check out Jared’s hilarious video on our Facebook page!
- Write a Letter to a Camp Counselor- Send it to us and we will send it to that counselor!
- Summer Camp Memories Journal
- Alef-Bet Yoga- Try some Hebrew alphabet yoga poses with Benny Sideman on our Facebook page.
- Where are we riddles?- See if you can answer some of Jared’s WHERE IN CAMP ARE WE Riddles!
- Virtual Trivia and Bingo Nights!
We will continue to try to bring some camp joy to you each day. You will also continue to see regular camp emails from us, as our hope is that camp is starting on time and as planned. To ensure that we are prepared for Summer 2020, we are still moving full steam ahead!
Sending lots of love to our camp family!
Sara, and Jared
HOW TO MANAGE MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, AND SOCIAL HEALTH RIGHT NOW
We know that these are trying times for everyone, and it is just as important to focus on mental and emotional health right now as it is to focus on physical health. A huge thanks to our Camper Care Director, Gina Neri, for sending us this great website of resources: https://parents.cmionline.com/
Additionally, we received resources from the Child Care Health Consultants, and we felt that a few of these points were very important to share:
Recommendations to support and protect children’s emotional well-being during the pandemic:
Understand that reactions to the pandemic may vary.
Children’s responses to stressful events are unique and varied. Some children may be irritable or clingy, and some may regress, demand extra attention, or have difficulty with self-care, sleeping, and eating. New and challenging behaviors are natural responses, and adults can help by showing empathy and patience and by calmly setting limits when needed.
Ensure the presence of a sensitive and responsive caregiver.
The primary factor in recovery from a traumatic event is the presence of a supportive, caring adult in a child’s life. Even when a parent is not available, children can benefit greatly from care provided by other adults (e.g., foster parents, relatives, friends) who can offer them consistent, sensitive care that helps protect them from a pandemic’s harmful effects.
Social distancing should not mean social isolation.
Children—especially young children—need quality time with their caregivers and other important people in their lives. Social connectedness improves children’s chances of showing resilience to adversity. Creative approaches to staying connected are important (e.g., writing letters, online video chats).
Provide age-appropriate information.
Children tend to rely on their imaginations when they lack adequate information. Adults’ decisions to withhold information are usually more stressful for children than telling the truth in age-appropriate ways. Adults should instead make themselves available for children to ask questions and talk about their concerns. They might, for example, provide opportunities for kids to access books, websites, and other activities on COVID-19 that present information in child-friendly ways. In addition, adults should limit children’s exposure to media coverage, social media, and adult conversations about the pandemic, as these channels may be less age-appropriate. Ongoing access to news and social media about the pandemic and constant conversation about threats to public safety can cause unnecessary stress for children.
Create a safe physical and emotional environment by practicing the 3 R’s: Reassurance, Routines, and Regulation.
First, adults should reassure children about their safety and the safety of loved ones, and tell them that it is adults’ job to ensure their safety. Second, adults should maintain routines to provide children with a sense of safety and predictability (e.g., regular bedtimes and meals, daily schedules for learning and play). And third, adults should support children’s development of regulation. When children are stressed, their bodies respond by activating their stress response systems. To help them manage these reactions, it is important to both validate their feelings (e.g., “I know that this might feel scary or overwhelming”) and encourage them to engage in activities that help them self-regulate (e.g., exercise, deep breathing, mindfulness or meditation activities, regular routines for sleeping and eating). In addition, it is essential to both children’s emotional and physical well-being to ensure that families can meet their basic needs (e.g., food, shelter, clothing).
Keep children busy.
When children are bored, their levels of worry and disruptive behaviors may increase. Adults can provide options for safe activities (e.g., outside play, blocks, modeling clay, art, music, games) and involve children in brainstorming other creative ideas. Children need ample time to engage in play and other joyful or learning experiences without worrying or talking about the pandemic.
Increase children’s self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy is the sense of having agency or control—an especially important trait during times of fear and uncertainty. Children often feel more in control when they can play an active role in helping themselves, their families, and their communities. For example, children can help by following safety guidelines (e.g., washing their hands), preparing for home confinement (e.g., helping to cook and freeze food), or volunteering in the community (e.g., writing letters or creating art for older adults or sick friends, sharing extra supplies with a neighbor).
Create opportunities for caregivers (which may mean yourself!) to take care of themselves.
Children’s well-being depends on the well-being of their parents and other caregivers. Caregivers must take care of themselves so they have the internal resources to care for others. To this end, adult caregivers can engage in self-care by staying connected to social supports, getting enough rest, and taking time for restorative activities (e.g., exercise, meditation, reading, outdoor activities, prayer). Seeking help from a mental health provider is also important when adults struggle with very high levels of stress and other mental health challenges.
Seek professional help if children show signs of trauma that do not resolve relatively quickly.
Emotional and behavioral changes in children are to be expected during a pandemic, as everyone adjusts to a new sense of normal. If children show an ongoing pattern of emotional or behavioral concerns (e.g., nightmares, excessive focus on anxieties, increased aggression, regressive behaviors, or self-harm) that do not resolve with supports, professional help may be needed. Many mental health providers have the capacity to provide services via “telehealth” (i.e., therapy provided by telephone or an online platform) when in-person social contact must be restricted.
Emphasize strengths, hope, and positivity.
Children need to feel safe, secure, and positive about their present and future. Adults can help by focusing children’s attention on stories about how people come together, find creative solutions to difficult problems, and overcome adversity during the epidemic. Talking about these stories can be healing and reassuring to children and adults alike.
CAMP APP UPDATE
The camp app has started to update for Summer 2020! The camp app will serve as a great resource for you all summer long to receive camp updates, push notifications, calendar reminders, photos and it is your contact camp whenever you need. Please know that only currently enrolled (Summer 2020) camp families are uploaded in the app. If you had previously enrolled in the app, you will be able to login with the same credentials as last year. Only emails registered with your campers’ enrollment are included in the app database. If your email was not used and you would like to gain access, please click HERE to request a login.
JOIN OUR CAMP STAFF FAMILY!
We are looking for energetic, dedicated camp staff to fill the below positions! If you are interested, please apply at www.jcccampsatmedford.org. We are still doing interviews by Zoom Call, so apply today!
- Woodworking, Ceramics, Wheel Ceramics, Dance, Yoga, Science, Sports, and STEM specialists
- Ropes staff (must be 18+)
- Advocates for Open Hearts/ Open Doors
EARN MONEY FOR CAMP!
Did you know that you can earn money toward your child’s camp tuition?! Refer a new family to camp, and if their children attend, earn $100 toward your child’s camp tuition! Help us spread the love of JCC Camps at Medford!