The JCC opens 2017 summer camp programs that includes Camp Tikvah, a day camp for children with autism

Press release from the Asheville Jewish Community Center: 

The Asheville Jewish Community Center is gearing up for summer 2017 by opening registration for its summer camp programs, Camp Ruach, a day camp for rising 1st through 8th graders, and Camp Tikvah, a day camp for children with Autism, which is fully integrated into Camp Ruach’s daily camp activities.

The only summer day camp of its kind in Western North Carolina, Camp Tikvah enables rising 1st through 8th graders on the autism spectrum to enjoy the fun and community of Camp Ruach in an individually monitored and highly structured program. Specially-trained counselors continuously monitor each camper’s sensory environment to help facilitate communication, socialization, community and fun.

All Camp Tikvah staff complete intensive training with Camp Tikvah Program Co-Director, Jennifer Lingle, M.Ed., who is also the Director of Autism Educates. “Camp Tikvah has helped children with and without autism form friendships,” says Lingle. “I have observed these friendships blossom long after camp ends. Children without autism are sticking up for kids with autism in their classrooms. Our Camp Tikvah campers are being invited to birthday parties. They are sitting with their friends from camp during lunch at school. They are experiencing a true sense of belonging.”

Each year, the JCC raises scholarship funds to help support families who are interested in Camp Tikvah but need financial aid to attend. This year, the annual Benefit for Camp Tikvah will be held on March 25 at 6 PM. Tickets are $25 and include appetizers, 2 drinks, and 2 raffle tickets.

“The Camp Tikvah Benefit is especially important because it allows the Jewish Community Center to bring our awesome and unique camp for children on the spectrum to new families, and it helps us reach children who may not have experienced an all-inclusive social environment,” says Seth Kellam, Youth Programs Director at the JCC. “The magic of Camp Tikvah is that it has made our day camp, Camp Ruach, a more special, more sensitive place for all campers. Each of us has a divine spark within us. Children in Camp Ruach learn to respect and appreciate that divine spark, and that’s pretty cool.”

The Camp Tikvah Benefit is open to the public and community members are encouraged to attend. Tickets are available online at For more information about Camp Tikvah, the Camp Tikvah Benefit and Camp Ruach see the Asheville Jewish Community Center website at or email

About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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