JEMS Special Camp is a week-long Christian camp, primarily for individuals with developmental disabilities of Asian descent. Sponsored by the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS), Special Camp runs concurrently with the other JEMS summer camps in the Santa Cruz area of Northern California. The mission of JEMS Special Camp is:
To share the message and model the love of Christ to those with developmental disabilities, primarily of Asian Pacific American descent.
The goal of our camps is to provide an opportunity for the developmentally challenged to experience a fun-filled time of activities in an atmosphere of Christian love.
Joint worship with College Camp
JEMS Mount Hermon Special Camp will again be held on the Monte Vista Christian School (MVCS) campus in Watsonville, CA. We are thankful to the MVCS leadership and staff for permitting us use of their beautiful facilities once again this year!
The theme verse for this year's camp is:
“He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:3
Mrs. Koko Yee will again be Bible teacher for Special Camp 2018, serving for her eighth year in this capacity. To read more about Koko and her call to serve, click here.
Applications to volunteer to serve at the 2018 camp are now being accepted; application deadline is April 14. Special Camp 2018 will take place during the week of July 1-7, 2018. Thank you for your interest in JEMS Special Camp!
JEMS Special Camp enlists volunteers primarily through the JEMS-affiliated network of churches across California and the Pacific Northwest. No previous experience working with individuals with special needs is required; regional training will be provided prior to camp. Please click the Info for Volunteers tab (above) to find scheduling information of regional training sessions (mandatory for new aides) for your area. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older to apply.
Deadline to apply to serve at Special Camp 2018 camp is April 14. No applications will be accepted after that date.
If you are 18 years or older, you’ve never served as an aide at Special Camp before, and would like more information on applying as a new aide at this year's Special Camp, you can download new aide information here.
If you have served at Special Camp within the past two years, you may apply as a returning aide by clicking here.
If you are new to Special Camp, or if you have served before but not within the past two years, you will need to apply as a new aide; you may apply as a new aide by clicking here. Please note that if you have not served as a Special Camp aide within the past two years, you will need to apply as a new aide.
A typical day at camp begins with everyone getting ready for breakfast, followed by morning exercises, worship, Bible lessons, and arts and crafts. After lunch, activities vary daily such as bowling, swimming, a presentation at JEMS Family Camp, a carnival, and Special Camp field games. After dinner, we have a time of worship followed by a special evening activity and cabin time. After the campers go to bed, staff enjoy worship and a brief devotional time, staff meeting, and fellowship.
All of these events and activities add up to a fun-filled and meaningful program geared specifically for individuals with developmental disabilities. Special Camp is a place where they can come to learn, fellowship, worship, and grow in the Lord.
Camper registration packets are in the process of being sent out to returning campers' parents/guardians. Please expect to receive your camper registration packet shortly.
To inquire regarding enrolling a new camper for Special Camp, please e-mail the Special Camp camper registrar at:
to request more information on how to apply. Please inquire as soon as possible, as the application and evaluation process could be quite lengthy.
Please note that the application deadline this year is April 7.
This "Special Camp", first started in 1975, originated under the direction of Rev. Saburo and Marion Masada. This couple's daughter who is developmentally disabled, and others like her, needed a camp program designed specifically for their special needs. Over the years, the ministry of this camp has changed the lives of many people - both conferees and volunteer staff. JEMS Special Camp continues under the leadership of co-directors Bruce and Val Satow and a committed core team who have served as Special Camp volunteers in various capacities for many years.
There are several ways that you can support JEMS Special Camp. The first and most important is through prayer. Special Camp volunteers are sustained by the prayers of JEMS Special Camp supporters, especially during camp week. Please pray that each volunteer would be renewed and refreshed each day, as the Lord reveals Himself in new ways through our Special Campers. Please pray that the Lord would sustain each volunteer throughout camp week, as days are long and can be tiring as the volunteers care for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of each camper. Pray that our Special Campers will enjoy their week at camp, adjust well to the site at Monte Vista school, and feel God's presence close to them as we worship Him together as one body. Pray that the campers' families and caregivers would enjoy their week of much-needed respite from the care they provide to their loved ones the remaining 51 weeks of the year. And above all, pray that God would glorify Himself through this very special ministry called JEMS Special Camp.