Since its inception over 40 years ago, Camp Nugget has been positively impacting the lives of children with special needs in Southern California. The camp, offered every summer from June to July, has strived to create opportunities and provide facilities that give local children with disabilities greater access to physical movement and play. The camp has a successful track record of providing children with special needs and their families with much-needed support that helps them realize their full potential as individuals and families. The program also provides valuable training and teaching experience for university students who are studying in the Adapted Physical Education teacher education program. These university students will graduate and serve children with disabilities in public schools throughout California.
The credit for Camp Nugget’s longevity is owed to its director, Dr. Barry Lavay. Every summer since the early 1980s, Dr. Lavay has run the camp with tireless dedication, passion, and enthusiasm. Dr. Lavay utilizes CSULB students pursuing degrees in Adapted Physical Education (APE) as the camp’s staff. These CSULB students have the ability and opportunity to how to work with special-needs populations in an applied setting.
Camp Nugget’s success depends on numerous factors, including University and College of Health and Human Services support, the advocacy and commitment of campers’ families and APE alumni, and the backing of stakeholders and the Long Beach community at large. Since the 1990s, the Josephine Gumbiner Foundation has recognized the important role Camp Nugget plays in the Long Beach community. When Dr. Lavay approached the foundation for support, its leaders were immediately drawn to supporting the camp. The foundation’s support of organizations that do good in the community and are led by passionate individuals fits Camp Nugget to the “T”. Dr. Lavay’s commitment to engagement and to giving them opportunities to provide direct service to those with special needs made the Gumbiner Foundation take notice. Since Dr. Lavay first approached the Josephine Gumbiner Foundation in 1998, over 15 years ago, the foundation has generously supported the camp’s operation.
The Gumbiner Foundation has a lasting commitment to the City of Long Beach and CSULB. As a former social worker, Josephine Gumbiner made helping people her life’s passion and work. Over the years, the foundation has endowed the Gumbiner Chair in CSULB’s School of Social Work, supported social work internship placements, and been a perennial supporter of the Camp. Because of the Gumbiner Foundation’s continued support of programs such as Camp Nugget and the School of Social Work, CHHS can continue providing much-needed services, support, and resources to the community while providing a highly valued education to its students.
About Camp Nugget
Camp Nugget is offered to children ages 5 through 12 with disabilities and special needs. Provided is small group instruction (4-1 child/staff ratio) by university students studying in the KIN Department and working toward an Adapted Physical Education Specialist Credential under the supervision of Dr. Barry Lavay. Camp activities include aquatics with swim instruction, instruction in fundamental skills and lead-up cooperative games, outdoor adventure course, and adapted sports.
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