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With Colors and Brand Names, Hamaspik’s Camp Neshoma Furthers Its Own Brand

July 11, 2016

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette

After-school Respite (ASR)’s Camp-themed Program Keeps Kids Captivated, Stimulated

It’s summertime.  And for the children and teens who attend Hamaspik’s After-school Respite (ASR) programs in Orange or Rockland County, it’s also… Camp Neshoma time!

Modeled after the summer day camps that open seasonally everywhere in the communities served by Hamaspik, Camp Neshoma gives ASR regulars a taste of summer camp each year.

And this year was no different.

Coinciding with local school districts’ summer breaks as they are, the first session of Camp Neshoma this season was held from June 26 through July 4 at both Hamaspik of Orange County and Hamaspik of Rockland County.

The latter, run capably by ASR Director Mrs. Tzippy Loeb, ran this year with the theme of brand names—using word plays based on the names of various retail kosher products to give each day of the session its own theme.

At Hamaspik of Rockland County, the Girls Division, run equally capably by Director Mrs. Raizy Landau, “campers” thrilled to the first session’s theme of colors, with each day bearing a color of its own.

For their first day at Camp Neshoma, for example, the children at Hamaspik of Orange County’s program thought a visit by an actual Klein’s Ice Cream truck, or at least the ice cream popsicles and cones that it dispensed, were rather cool, especially in the summer heat.

The kids also “kliked together” on a unity-themed day accentuated by the Kliks chocolate snack.  Ditto for staying positive, a message augmented another day with Postiv brand fresh lettuce—or with being energetic and bouncy with some help from an inflatable moon bounce and the Jump brand soft drink.

Another Camp Neshoma day was marked by the theme of water, with Mayim Chaim brand water bottles rounding out a day filled with water activities, including visiting Kiryas Joel’s fire station.

Down in Rockland County, the Hamaspik ASR Camp Neshoma program kept up colorful daily regimen of activities, and quite literally so.

Led by their “amazing” head counselors, plus 20 “devoted” counselors and other staff members, close to four dozen children with various disabilities in the Girls Division thrilled to a full spectrum of captivating and stimulating daily activities, Mrs. Landau reports.

From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day, the “campers” enjoyed, variously, the themes of Yellow, Red, Purple, Green and even the self-explanatory Rainbow.

Woven through that tapestry were such exhilarating activities as a carnival day complete with a moon bounce, a visiting petting zoo and farm, regular swimming, arts and crafts and baking.

They also enjoyed pizza parties and a special visit by Macaroni the Clown (a children’s entertainer who’s been a part of the Hamaspik family for years now).

The Boys Division of Hamaspik of Rockland County’s ASR program, led by the hardworking Joel Friedman, enjoyed a concurrent Camp Neshoma program of their own—featuring all of the exciting and stimulating camp-themed daily activities enjoyed by their peers.

And in keeping with an annual tradition observed by Camp Neshoma’s boys for years now, the boys paid another visit this just-passed season to the boys of Camp Yachad.

That Monsey-based summer day camp, and its counselors and campers, has opened its grounds and hearts to its Camp Neshoma peers, who also by the way happen to have disabilities, for a friendly soccer match each season.

As reported in Gazettes past, the meetups not only give campers from both camps something fun and healthy to do, but—in keeping with the mission of Hamaspik, and that of the OPWDD in its background—of furthering ongoing integration, embrace and mainstreaming of people with disabilities.

For Camp Neshoma, which means soul, the annual match is indicative of putting the soul and spirit and not the body, those things that truly define the individual, above externals—reflecting the truest colors and ultimate theme of Hamaspik, too.