Youth Inclusion Initiative

Everyone is welcome at the JCCSF! We believe our community is enriched by the diverse and unique individuals who enter our building. That is why we embrace inclusiveness as one of our core values.

In this spirit, we've launched the Youth Inclusion Initiative to support children with special needs to participate in our K – 8 Summer Camp program. Our pilot program will offer one-on-one support for campers, at no additional cost, who would not otherwise be able to attend our camps. Children with special needs will benefit from one-on-one staffing while they try new activities and make friends along the way.

The program is application-based and families will work with our Inclusion Coordinator to determine enrollment and set up a plan for success. To apply, please register your camper for a camp session and indicate on the form that you are applying for the Inclusion Program. Campers are eligible to apply for up to two (2) weeks of camp.* You will receive an application for the program upon completion of the registration. Our Inclusion Coordinator, April Swenson, will follow up with you once they have received a complete application. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Youth Inclusion FAQ     Visit JCCSF Summer Camp

*Campers enrolling in our musical theater camp are eligible to receive support for the full 3-week session.


What is our JCCSF Camp Inclusion Program?

We believe that camp is for everyone - every child is welcome to participate, have fun and make friends. We also believe that inclusion is good for everyone – campers, families, staff and our entire community. In that spirit, we want children with disabilities or other special needs to have access to the JCCSF Summer Camp experience. The Youth Inclusion Initiative is generously supported by the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, and for the first time we are proud to offer two weeks of 1:1 staff support for up to four campers per week who would not otherwise be able to enroll in our camps.

Who is a good fit for the Inclusion Program?

Campers with a wide range of disabilities or support needs are welcome. In order to best assess if a child is a good fit for our program, we ask families to participate in an intake process. In general, any child with an Individual Educational Program (IEP), 504 plan, Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA), a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP), and/or physical special needs would be considered to be a part of the Inclusion Program.

How can my child participate in the Inclusion Program?

Simply register your child for the desired weeks of camp, and mark the box for "Inclusion Program." You will receive a follow up email with a supplemental Camper Intake Questionnaire. Our Inclusion Coordinator will contact you to gather more information about your child and their support needs, and to answer any questions. Through the intake process, our Inclusion Coordinator will determine whether we can meet your child's needs in our Inclusion Program and whether we have the resources to support your child in the particular camp you have selected. In some cases, the Inclusion Coordinator may conclude that we can better accommodate your child in a different camp and will discuss these options with you.

What kinds of accommodations or services are available?

For those children admitted to the inclusion program, 1:1 support staff is available to work with your camper throughout each camp day. A sensory break space is available for quiet time away from the whole group. Visual schedules, fidgits, chewlary/gum, portable sensory items such as weighted lap blanket/animal, noise cancelling headphones, and personalized Positive Behavior Support Systems are available. Our building is ADA compliant, and with individualized planning with families, we can accommodate most onsite programming, and will work with families to address offsite accommodation needs.

How will we plan for my camper?

Our Inclusion Coordinator will be in touch with each family prior to acceptance in the program to discuss your camper's needs and share information about the specific camp session desired.

If your camper uses a specific reinforcer during the school year, such as a star chart or checklist, we will request a copy of it to utilize during the camp day.

Upon acceptance, the Inclusion Coordinator will stay in touch with the family and connect again prior to the camp session. We may arrange in-person meetings with the Coordinator, Camp Manager and 1:1 support team, as well as a tour of the facility.

Who are the Inclusion Staff?

Our inclusion staff are trained to work with children with disabilities and other support needs. They have backgrounds in special education, or a related field, and/or life experiences that provide them with the necessary skills. The inclusion staff are required to participate in additional trainings prior to beginning summer camp. All camp staff members are required to participate in an application, interview, and background check process, as well as hold a current First Aid/CPR certification. All staff members receive training in inclusive practices and positive behavior management during our Staff Week. Meet our Youth Inclusion Coordinator April Swenson.

What kind of communication can I expect?

The Inclusion Coordinator will be in contact with you via email, phone, and/or in person shortly after you register for camp to discuss your camper's support needs. During the camp session, communication plans are arranged on a case by case basis, working with the families to balance their needs and staff's capacity. We will maintain records of successes and challenges throughout your camper's experience, and will have follow up conversations after their camp session.

What if my child has behavioral issues at camp?

We will work with each camper and family to be as proactive as possible through support strategies, program accommodations, positive behavioral management strategies, and redirection. Behavior challenges will be documented and shared with the family. If your child exhibits aggressive behavior that is harmful to staff, other campers, or themselves, your child may need to be picked up immediately, asked to stay home until a new plan can be put in place, or asked to leave the program. We will work with a child as much as possible to ensure a successful experience.

If you or the camp staff feel that we cannot adequately support your child or your child is not able to participate safely, we will meet with you to discuss the situation.

Can my child receive 1:1 support during Extended Care before or after camp?

Because we have funding for 1:1 support only during the regular camp day from 9:00am – 4:00pm, 1:1 support is not available during Extended Care.

How do I sign up?

To apply, please register your camper for a camp session at and indicate on the form that you are applying for the Inclusion Program. Campers are eligible to apply for the no-cost Inclusion Program for up to two (2) weeks of camp. You will receive an automated email with a link to the Camper Intake Questionnaire. Our Inclusion Coordinator will follow up with you once they have received your completed questionnaire. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis but since space in the program is limited, you should apply early.

Are there extra fees?

No. All inclusion supports are included in the regular camp registration fee. Financial Assistance towards camp fees may be available. For more information, please visit


Still have questions?
Email us at or call 415.292.1209.

Jewish Community Federation & Endowment Fund logo

The Youth Inclusion Initiative is generously supported by the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund.

Genesis Logo

With appreciation to the Genesis Prize Foundation and the generosity of the 2016 Laureate, Itzhak Perlman.

the National Inclusion Project

The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco is a proud partner of the National Inclusion Project.

Safeway Foundation supports Youth Education

Support for the Youth Inclusion Initiative generously provided by the Safeway Foundation.