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Camp Aim

Selected!

CAMP AIM was established in 2008 to create a camp experience that would cater to the needs of Jewish children aged 3-12 with a wide range of disabilities and medical needs. The camp addresses the social, recreational, and therapeutic needs of these children. It is the only Jewish day camp in Toronto providing for special needs children, serving some 40 children each July. This year a Leadership Program was instituted to service special needs teens by providing them with specialty programming and vocational training while instilling in them the value of giving back to their community. Our mission is to help physically and mentally disabled children enjoy a Jewish day camp environment while continuing to grow in skills and self-esteem through the summer.

We are conscious of the critical need for socialization, recreation and therapy in this population and are committed to growing the service to more children in the community. The camp currently plays a vital role in the lives of children and their families. It provides a warm Jewish environment filled with activities for the children, and a much needed respite for their parents and siblings. Hard-earned advances made by the children in the school year are constantly built upon as we bridge the delicate balance between therapy and fun.

Help CAMP AIM in its mission to provide more services to more Jewish children with special needs.

CAMP AIM presently manages its budget for the current enrollment in three ways: first, through tuition; second, through the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) government initiative; and third, through various government and non-governmental grants that are available to the parents. We have already received the maximum allotted amount for a camp from the CSJ.

It is important to note that since the inception of the camp in 2008, we have always maintained a deficit-free budget. The camp has been run in a lean yet most efficient manner. We have never advertised, yet our enrollment has grown exponentially from ten children to forty this year, and a wait list of ten.

Our proposal requires your investment for program funding so that we can open our doors to as many Jewish children with special needs as possible. As well, CAMP AIM seeks to launch a marketing and public relations campaign to raise community awareness and future funding in order to ensure sustainability. Your help in this area would be most beneficial.

We are excited about the prospect of partnering with you in this endeavor and thank you for your consideration of our request.

Need: 

CAMP AIM would like to target the many Jewish children in the Toronto community aged 2-12 with physical and/or mental disabilities who have not as yet had the opportunity to participate in our camp. This segment of the population is underserved in the GTA, as there are no other Jewish day camps that fill the need of children with developmental delays, autism, Cerebral Palsy, Cystic Fibrosis, Downs Syndrome, and a many other genetic illnesses.

Prior to the establishment of CAMP AIM in July 2008, there was no summer program available to children with Special Needs. Parents struggled with bored and frustrated children – most too disabled to participate in their siblings’ activities and programs. Therapy sessions had to be privately arranged at great cost to the financially strapped parents, or they simply were foregone for the summer months resulting in a “two steps forward, one step back” cycle.

Your investment in CAMP AIM will allow more Jewish children with special needs to reap the many benefits that a healthy, fun and caring camp atmosphere can provide. It will allow more children to be proud of a place they can call their own.
It will allow teens that ordinarily are relegated to a position of takers to become givers and leaders. Parents, who otherwise suffer the immense and intense burden of care all alone throughout the summer, will now have CAMP AIM to look forward to and help them cope. Lastly, it will empower and sensitize the young counselors through their involvement and dedication in these special children’s lives. Today’s counselors are tomorrow’s leaders. The impact of CAMP AIM’s growth will be felt by so many for so many years to come.

As CAMP AIM is already established and has been running successfully for the past four years, measurability of success is a known quantum. Since its inception in 2008 with ten children, the camp has grown exponentially. This summer, July 2011, we have 33 children and six teens in the Leadership Program, yet another ten children could not be accommodated for lack of space and funds.

Goals, Objectives & Measurement: 

Our goal is to grow, expand and enhance CAMP AIM to serve more Jewish disabled children in the Toronto community.

To this end our objectives are:

First, to market CAMP AIM to the greater Jewish community. To date the majority of our campers have heard of us through private networking and word-of-mouth. There are many more Jewish families who are not aware of our program. We plan to reach out to all special needs schools, programs, medical centers and the like with educational materials and advertising. We intend on hosting an awareness evening for the Jewish special needs community.

Second, to grow our fundraising capacity so that as your funding comes to a close, we will be on stable financial ground. We plan on hosting yearly fund-raising events as well as soliciting private donations. We intend on hiring a grant writer to research and organize further grant options that will only become available to us once our organization attains charitable status this year.

CAMP AIM anticipates servicing another 20-30 children for the coming year. These children will need to be accommodated by adding a second session in August. Our success will be measured by increased enrollment, parent and child satisfaction, and a balanced budget that meets our goals

Opportunity for Involvement: 

Up until now, CAMP AIM has been what can be referred to as a ‘lean start-up.’ This approach has served us well, but now that we seek to expand and grow we require and anticipate the need for professional involvement.

The JVPF members have an opportunity to get involved in creating a board of directors, networking for fundraising, developing marketing approaches and materials, and helping us reach out to grant writers and sponsors who will know how to navigate the different accessible channels.

Our young and motivated organization seeks and welcomes your professional involvement.

Time Frame: 

Our proposal extends for eighteen months. We would like to include 30 more children for August 2012 and 2013. Part of the Six Points JVPF investment in CAMP AIM will allow us to obtain professional development, and hire a grant-writing research and consultation person.

In addition to actual fundraising events and solicitations, these efforts, together with applications for grants to various new agencies, will allow CAMP AIM to become sustainable allowing you exit safely and leave an enhanced, established and sustainable enterprise by 2014.

Sponsor/Staff: 

Chai Lifeline of Canada
http://www.chailifelinecanada.org/services.php
Sponsors enhanced programming at CAMP AIM such as the Muscle ‘n’ Motions group.
Partly funded the pilot Leadership Program

Canadian Summer Job Initiative http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/epb/yi/yep/programs/scpp.shtml
A Government of Canada initiative sponsoring camps that hire students. This year CAMP AIM received a maximum.

Our program director, Yaffi Ulman, has helped the parents network and access the grants and financial assistance that are available to them in order to meet their camp tuition requirements.

OFCP
http://www.ofcp.ca/vacation.php
The Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy has a $1000 camping grant for children with CP.

JFCS
http://www.jfandcs.com/
Jewish Family and Child Services awards Special Needs children anywhere between $400-$800 based on income of recipient.

EASTER SEALS
http://www.eastersealscamps.org/?page_id=41
Offers $500 for the summer anyone who needs assistive or ambulatory devices such as AFO’S, walkers and wheelchairs.

AUTISM ONTARIO http://www.autismontario.com/client/aso/ao.nsf/web/Possibilities+Fund?Op...
Holds a raffle for children that have an official autism diagnosis that offers the winners $600

SHALHEVET
Program that offers Jewish Orthodox families with low income between $400-$800 to help send their children to camp

STAFF

YAFFI ULLMAN – Co-Founder, Program Director and Coordinator.
• Trained ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) therapist
• Certified ECE/Montessori teacher. Pre-school teacher at Mesorah Montessori 2007-2011
• Chai Lifeline Program Coordinator
• Program Founder and Director for weekly afternoon program for CAMP AIM Kids in conjunction with the Prosserman Centre
• Member of Family Resource Team at Sick Kids Hospital

DASSI SLATER – Co-Founder, President

ROTEM SHARGALL – Physical Therapist
• Hebrew University of Jerusalem, degree in Occupational Therapy
• Certified Medek Therapist
• Previously worked in Shaarei Tzedek Hospital, Department of Infant and Pediatric Neuro Developmental Therapy
• Working at Zareinu Educational Centre 2001 -

JENNIFER BUICCI – Bachelor of Music Therapy, Music Association of Ontario
• Music Therapist at Zareinu Educational Centre
• Music Therapist for Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund

MASHA POSEN – Occupational Therapist, University of Toronto
• Specializes in aqua therapy
• Teacher at Talpiot College for Women
• Working at Zareinu Educational Centre 1996 -

VANESSA MOYA – Occupational Therapist Assistant

DEVORAH KURTZ – Program Coordinator at CAMP AIM
• B.A. in Special Education
• Masters Degree in Reading Literacy
• Hebrew Reading Specialist at various Jewish elementary schools in the community
• Previous experience in Zareinu Educational Centre
• Camp Ashreinu Director 2005-2009

MIRIAM BOTNICK – Program Coordinator at CAMP AIM
• Montessori Pre-school teacher
• Previous pre-school teacher at Bais Yaakov Elementary
• Worked at Zareinu Educational Center as a 1:1
• Chai Lifeline Volunteer

AYALA RUBIN – Program Coordinator at CAMP AIM
• Chai Lifeline Volunteer
• Baycrest Apotex Centre Volunteer
• Yachad Toronto Volunteer for special needs kids
• Friendship Circle – a Sunday morning program for girls with special needs
• Teacher at Special Olympics Skiing program in Earl Bales Park
• Lifeguard and Swim instructor at Red Cross Swim School

Organizational Structure and Expertise: 

CAMP AIM employs a dedicated staff of therapists and counselors who, for the most part, have been returning yearly. As we are a summer camp, we have the ability to access staff that work at various special educational schools throughout the school year.

Presently the camp is managed by Ms. Yaffi Ulman, the co-founder and camp director, and by Mrs. Dassi Slater, a co-founding volunteer. The team has brought the program to its present state through careful budget management, maintaining good public relations and constantly looking out for direction in growth.

Recently, CAMP AIM applied for charitable status as a non-profit organization and is in the process of creating a board. Mr. Michael Miloff, President of Michael Miloff and Associates, an advisory consulting firm, and Ms. Robin Gofine, VP of Strategic Community Planning and Engagement of the UJA, have taken a keen interest in CAMP AIM. They have been, and continue to be, very instrumental in providing of their time, direction and encouragement to the management team.

Criteria that Enhance Competitiveness: 

1. CAMP AIM is relatively new. It is a pioneer in starting ‘something from nothing.’
Yaffi Ulman has managed to build a completely innovative Jewish day camp for disabled kids filled with fun activities and professional therapies. It has never run a deficit, and has been largely funded by government and organizations that she has helped parents access.
We continue to innovate by piloting our Leadership Program to physically ill or disabled kids, giving them the chance to be on the giving end. We are constantly improving by offering the latest advances in therapy such as our Snozelen room, MEDEK therapy, and most recently, by hiring an occupational therapy who has developed a specialized occupational aqua therapy program.

2. CAMP AIM has already shown itself to be sustainable. In this new chapter of growth, we will begin fundraising initiatives and marketing to new families while always keeping a keen eye towards budget planning. We plan that by year three, our fundraising machine will be able to sustain the new budget in its entirety.

3. Much of our budget to date has been sponsored by the federal government, in the form of the Canadian Summer Jobs initiative, and by Chai Lifeline. As mentioned previously, fundraising events and private donations will be our next frontier in helping us meet our new budget requirements.

4. The scalability of CAMP AIM is evident in its numbers. While currently serving forty children without much fundraising, CAMP AIM can open its doors to more children directly based on the amount of additional funding it receives. Simply put, each child costs CAMP AIM approximately $3,000, whilst the parent body can only bear tuition of $2,000. In order to accept a new child, we must first ensure that we are able to fill the remaining $1,000.

5. The concept of a Jewish day camp for disabled kids is certainly replicable in other Canadian cities, provided there is capable and determined leadership. An unusual confluence of talent, need and being in the right place at the right time, together with old-fashioned hard work is needed to succeed at such an endeavour. CAMP AIM and its staff will be happy to help and share experiences with any interested parties.