Summer is back for kids with serious illnesses and disabilities Camp Simcha Without Borders finished the first of its summer sessions last week. The local camp is operated by Chai Lifeline Southeast, the local chapter of the children’s health organization providing social, emotional, and financial assistance to families impacted by pediatric illness, crisis, and loss.
Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, Chai Lifeline developed Camp Simcha Without Borders to bring summer joy to sick children in communities across the country with specialized day camps and community-wide events.
The four-day camp sessions over the course of the summer include non-stop activities and action, music, swimming and much more, and allows children with illness to just be kids and get a break from the medical challenges they face daily. In addition to the camp for kids, the organization hosted over 400 people at their annual summer carnival to show Chai Lifeline families the love and support they have from the greater community.
“My daughter was telling me how she loves going to camp because she feels so comfortable and normal and can just be herself,” one mother shared. “We are so thankful to Chai Lifeline for giving her these amazing opportunities to feel good about herself!”
“Our first camp session for girls was absolutely magical,” said Matthew Weisbaum, Chai Lifeline’s Southeast Regional Director. “The joy and outpouring of love the counselors showered on their campers, those who are directly or indirectly battling a severe illness, will give them the strength to keep fighting. The schedule of activities at camp, while fun, isn’t markedly different on paper than any other regular daycamp. What sets Camp Simcha Without Borders apart, other than obviously the population of campers, is the outrageous energy the counselors, most of whom are volunteers, bring every minute of camp.”
“The energy, joy and inspiration of Camp Simcha can be felt all over the country during the summer,” said Rabbi Simcha Scholar, CEO of Chai Lifeline. “Between our flagship Camp Simcha program in upstate New York, and our camps in California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and Florida, we are so proud and thankful to our staff, volunteers, donors and supporters for helping us give these kids the summer they deserve.”
Camp Simcha Without Borders Southeast will be hosting another session for boys, July 18-21.