THE CHANUKA MAGIC AT KEF WINTER CAMP
KEF's annual Winter residential camp this year took on an extra-special dimension as the first four days coincided with Chanuka. Lighting the Menorah together with over 70 children and young adults with a range of disabilities and complex needs creates a tangible magic that is difficult to put into words. The sparkle of those moments permeated the entire atmosphere of camp and made it even more memorable for all the participants.
This year’s theme of KEF ON ICE created a wintery atmosphere from the get-go, with different daily themes that framed the activities of that day. The camp was KEF’s largest ever, and was split into several divisions, with a boys-only division in a separate area of the site, and activities and outings were carefully designed to be appropriate for the various abilities of the participants. On-site entertainers, daily outings and a concert with Eli Tamir and Leib Roberts kept the camp buzzing, with on-site swimming, sensory room, activities and inflatables to ensure that there was something for everyone.
KEF is so grateful to its fantastic medical team including Dr MD Spitzer, Sari Ritvo & Yael Wiesenfeld, to Gitele Ostreicher for her fantastic catering, to Yossi & Chana Gordon – site manager and Shlomi & Sharonie Melavsky - catering managers. KEF is indebted to over 160 volunteers who generously dedicated their winter break to the children and young adults of KEF. The volunteers were led by an outstanding experienced team of heads and division heads. With much appreciation to Ezra Umarpeh for lending extensive medical equipment.
Feedback from parents highlighted both the immense benefits of the respite, as well as the positive impact that KEF has on their child's behaviours and development. One parent commented 'We feel she came home a different child; she has been more calm and so happy. The KEF environment is a place where she flourishes and thrives and we literally see it!'. Another parent reflected 'He came back feeling all good with himself, totally clear to see all the love you have given him and the warm, caring and totally positive vibes that permeate KEF.'
A message received from a volunteer’s parent offers a slightly different angle which reflects the recurring feedback we receive from our staff after each residential scheme and is truly an inspiration: “Once again I have no words to thank you for KEF, giving our children the incredible Zechus to be part of something so unique and special. This past week my son had the opportunity to become a kinder and more understanding person... he chose not to come on our family holiday to Israel... but he wanted to be at KEF. Everyone talks about what KEF does for the families who entrust the KEF family with their special children, but no one talks about what you do for the staff members of KEF - you are changing so many people’s lives for the better. Thank you from the bottom of my heart”