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August 28, 1992 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-08-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

NEWS

Kesher

Continued from Page 1

END-OF-SUMMER PRICES

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445-6080

30

FRIDAY. AUGUST 28._1992

I

not only to have a camp for
kids with disabilities, but to
make available to Jewish
kids the opportunity for
specifically Jewish experi-
ences," Mr. Frank said.
So an integral part of the
camp became the Jewish ac-
tivities. On Friday night,
Kesher participants would
light Shabbat candles, and
on Saturday morning they
were to join in services.
They would learn Jewish
songs and Israeli dance as
well.
Mrs. Nosanchuk's son,
Rob, who is active in NFTY,
heard about Kesher while
the camp was still in the
planning stages. He recom-
mended his mother for the
job, and she was hired soon
after.
Among Mrs. Nosanchuk's
first tasks: gathering mate-
rial and planning programs.
"My mind," she said, "was
going a million miles an
hour figuring out what to
do." She got soap bubbles
and plaster-of-Paris and sci-
ence activities and Jewish
videos borrowed from her
congregation, Temple Shir
Shalom.
She also met to discuss
the program with partici-
pants in the UAHC leader-
ship training camp, which
meets each summer at Kutz
and was held the same time
as Kesher. The camp draws
teens from throughout the
United States, and this year
included participants from
Israel, Holland and
Germany.
The teens were offered a
chance to work as coun-
selors at Kesher. Mrs.
Nosanchuk said she expect-
ed a handful of them, po-
litely advised "it would be a
nice thing to do," to volun-
teer, "then be real happy
when we left."
Instead, she had 36 teens
ready to work two hours a
day and who were eager to
extend the friendships long
beyond the time Kesher had
closed.
"They weren't doing it
just to be nice," she said.
"They really cared. From the
minute we came, those kids
wanted to be a part of our
lives.
"Look at this," she said,
taking out a Camp Memory
Book, in which participants
record their impressions of
the summer. At the back is
a space where campers

write in names and ad--
dresses of new friends. By
the end of Kesher, every
camper's list was filled with
counselors' names, Mrs.
Noshanchuk said.
"Having Kesher there re-
ally enhanced and enriched
the experience for our lead- —
ership training kids," added
Mr. Frank, a Detroit native
and former director of
MSTY, Michigan State
Temple Youth. "They put-
what they are learning in
theory into practice."
"The Kesher campers cz
called them the big kids,' "
Mrs. Nosanchuk said. "Lana
was always asking, Which
of the big kids is coming ?' '-
Two paid staffers also =I
worked at Kesher with Mrs.

Rabbi Schindler
"called on the
Reform movement
to make sure we
were providing
services for all our
members"

Nosanchuk. Campers were
found by word of mouth an(
through letters mailed 'to
Reform congregations
throughout the country.
In addition to the Jewish
programming, Kesher fea-
tured games and swimming
and the familiar green plas-
tic dishes at mealtime. At,
night, the campers slept in
cabins on the same grounds
as the big kids. The volun-
teer counselors helped give
the Kesher campers bubble
baths and tuck them into
bed, and no one ever corn-
plained about changing the
soiled undergarments of 12-
year-old Greg.
Kesher marked the first
time some parents had been-
away for any length of time
from their disabled son or
daughter, Mrs. Nosanchuk
said. It meant one mother
could take a vacation in
New York; another went_
away with her husband. But
none left without carefully
packing their children's
clothes and personal be-
longings.
"Be sure to check that
Candace's sleeves are at the
right length," Candace's
mother told Mrs. Nosan- -
chuk.
Mrs. Nosanchuk said she
hopes to return next year to
Kesher. The camp is set to
become an annual event. ❑

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