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Community Impact: Camp Hollywood

Camp Hollywood: Where Everyone’s a Star is an innovative summer day camp for children with special needs.

“We model the camp on favorite family and children movies, either new movies or classics that families and children love,” said Camp Director Joy Trotti.

The 2015 camp will feature activities centered on popular movies: Dolphin Tale, Big Hero Six, Cinderella, Teen Beach Movie and Inspector Gadget. Activities are designed so that all campers can fully participate. During the “Cooks with Books” activity for Teen Beach Movie, for example, kids make ice cream while listening to a book about the treat.

“Parents of children who have significant disabilities or medical issues want their kids to have worthwhile summer experiences that build character, social skills and friendships. So many of our children don’t have other camps to go to,” Trotti said. "The nice thing about FOCUS is we don’t turn many kids away. We can handle tube feeding and tracheostomy, seizures, medicines, breathing treatments and behavior disorders.”

The Jackson EMC Foundation awarded $5,500 to fund 32 partial scholarships to campers at its May meeting. Thanks to the grant, each camper can attend for $150, even though the camp costs $350 each to deliver.

The camp runs for five weeks with each camper attending a five-day session, with a camper-to-counselor ratio of one-to-four. Camp counselors are nurses, therapists and special educators who can care for the special needs of the campers.