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The Mitzvah Corps Program at Kutz offers a unique inclusion-based Jewish summer-camping experience for teens (ages 13-19) diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Mitzvah Corps operates within Kutz: NFTY’s Campus for Reform Jewish Teens, a Reform Jewish teen leadership program for high school students who are highly engaged teens within NFTY (North American Federation of Temple Youth) and their home communities. The mission of Mitzvah Corps at Kutz is to honor the unique characteristics of every camper and provide access to Jewish camping by creating individualized accommodations and modifications that allow each camper to succeed. The unique feature of the “camp within a camp” model is that motivated high school students serve as “chaverim” (the Hebrew word for friend). In our model, the chaverim serve as peer-engagers to help campers feel comfortable, and also help to facilitate positive social connections with other teens in the Kutz community. This allows campers to participate fully in the Jewish camp experience in a safe and nurturing environment that fosters positive self-esteem and social skill development. Mitzvah Corps Campers have the opportunity to choose from a variety of Kutz activities based on their interests and skills.

The success of the program is due to careful planning for each camper, extensive parent and school input, staff training, chaver pre-training, ongoing chaver support, and twenty-four hour staff supervision. The most important component is the Kutz community’s dedication to include campers with ASD in all aspects of the greater camp community. Due to the individualized nature of the program, Mitzvah Corps is able to provide a safe, fun and appropriate camp environment for teens at virtually all levels of functioning on the Spectrum.

We hope your teen will join us this summer!

For more information please e-mail Samantha Dresser, Director - Mitzvah Corps Program at Kutz: sdresser@urj.org. Please include all contact information and the best time to reach you.

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