Year 12 students buddy up with handicapped kids

December 30, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
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Twenty-four handicapped children spent four days in a summer camp buddied up with Year 12 students from Sydney’s Jewish dayschools.

The children, aged between 6 and 16,  spent three nights and four days in Camp Sababa held at St Joseph’s College accompanired by 40 Year 12 students from Moriah College, Masada College and the Emanuel School.

Rick Karpin, 45, took the idea of the special camp set up by the Sony Foundation to the Jewish community three years ago and the Jewish Communal Appeal lent its weight behind the project which see this year’s camp number three enjoy a record attendance at the Hunters Hill campus.

Karpin told J-Wire that each of the handicapped children was accompanied by two “buddies”. He said: “There were more volunteers from the schools than we needed. The Year 12 students played alongside their charges….and slept in the dormitories with them, too.”

The children, some physically, others mentally handicapped, enjoyed four days of fun-packed activities including jumping castles, acting, indoor games and activities, sailing and swimming. “One of their favourites”, said Karpin, who is the father of two autistic children, “was being driven around the grounds in golf carts. They had enormous fun…and their parents had four days’ respite.”

During the year, the children maintain their association with their buddies with some attending Hineni-organsised camps. Activities are also arranged by the Friendship Circle, a group organised by Chana and Sender Kavka.

Karpin added: “I realise there are parents out there who may never have heard of us or who might think three nights/four days is too much to contemplate for their children. However, we would welcome anyone, even for one hour, to see how they manage….we do not put any time restrictions on attendance. Just let the children bond with each other and their buddies.”

The camp is run under the supervision of staff from Moriah, Masada and the Emanuel schools. The food served is strictly Kosher and there is qualified medical staff on hand 24 hours a day.

For further information, contact J-Wire.

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