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Reflections - August, 1967
Caption: In “Reflections,” a newspaper produced at Camp Jened, campers told each other about their experiences at camp.Read plain text of document
Located near the town of Hunter, New York, in the Catskill Mountains (a few hours from New York City), Camp Jened was unusual at the time for its focus on disabled campers.1
What did campers at Camp Jened think about their time there? In the camp’s newsletter, campers wrote about their experiences at the camp, what they most liked, and what they learned. The newsletter “Reflections - August, 1967” helps us hear about the camp for young people and disabled adults in their own words.2
Camper Denise Sherer Jacobson kept this copy of “Reflections,” decades after she was a camper in the 1960s. She recalls that students met twice a week to write for the camp newspaper. Some campers returned to Jened for multiple years and were part of the newspaper activity each year.3
In “Reflections,” campers provide a catalog of the camp’s activities. Activities included gardening and hiking—which Jened worked to make accessible to those in wheelchairs—and more. Sherer Jacobson’s favorite activities were the ones that emphasized a feeling of community. For many, camp community continued for years, as campers who were part of the “Camp Jened Family” gathered at reunions to celebrate and reminisce.4
Many campers later reflected that Camp Jened, during those months of July and August, felt like the first time they really had a community. The camp’s organizers wanted to encourage this feeling, because they were concerned that many disabled students felt isolated.5
“Camp Jened to Continue Treatments,” New York Herald Tribune, April 20, 1958, Collection of Denise Sherer Jacobson. ↩︎
Denise Sherer Jacobson, interviewed by Jasmine Leiser, April 4, 2023, via Zoom. ↩︎
Jacobson, interviewed by Leiser; Camp Jened, “Reflections 1967,” July or August, 1967, Collection of Denise Sherer Jacobson. ↩︎
Camp Jened, “Reflections 1967”; Jacobson, interviewed by Leiser; Jackie and Jeff Rubenstein, interviewed by Jasmine Leiser, March 29, 2023, via Zoom. ↩︎
Jackie and Jeff Rubenstein, interviewed by Leiser; Jim LeBrecht, interviewed by Jasmine Leiser, April 28, 2023, via Zoom; Jackie and Jeff Rubenstein, interviewed by Jasmine Leiser, April 19, 2023, via Zoom; United Cerebral Palsy, “Camp Scholarships Will Be Awarded To Handicapped Adults,” Collection of Honora Rubenstein. ↩︎
Date: August 1967
Creator: From the papers of Denise Sherer Jacobson.
Source: From the papers of Denise Sherer Jacobson.
Copyright: Used with permission of Denise Sherer Jacobson.
How to cite: “Reflections - August, 1967,” Camp Jened, in New York City Civil Rights History Project, Accessed: [Month Day, Year], https://nyccivilrightshistory.org/gallery/reflections-1967.
- How do you see joy in this document? How do you see struggle?
- What can you tell from this document about how campers experienced Camp Jened?
- Denise Sherer Jacobson said that campers felt connected to their community at Camp Jened. What can we tell from this document about what created that sense of community at Camp Jened?
- Why do you think campers chose to document their time at Camp Jened? Why do you think some former campers kept documents about the camp, like “Reflections,” for so long after their time at camp ended?
- If you were going to interview one of the campers who wrote in “Reflections,” what would you ask them?