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 Special Camp 2023 is scheduled for July 2-8, 2023. Mark your calendars!
This year, JEMS Mount Hermon Special Camp will be held at CityTeam's Camp MayMac. As compared to the school campus which hosted Special Camp for many years, Camp MayMac is a more traditional camp with cabin-style accommodations. As this will be our first year at Camp MayMac, we anticipate many adjustments that will need to be accommodated in order to transition well to this new environment for our camp. As well, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic requires us to make many additional adjustments to the usual set of camp activities that our campers are familiar with, in order to keep everyone safe and well. Please pray for a smooth transition and that our campers will adjust well to the many changes that they will encounter at this year's camp. Pray for our aides and staff, as they do their utmost to make it as easy and seamless a transition as possible for our campers.
The theme verse for this year's camp is:
"The Lord is my strength.” Exodus 15:2
This year, we welcome back Mrs. Bev Hoshi as our Bible teacher for Special Camp 2023. To read more about Bev and her call to serve, please click here.
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. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older to apply.
Deadline to apply to serve at Special Camp 2023 camp has passed. The Lord has blessed us with a sufficient slate of candidate volunteers for the 2023 camp, and applications are no longer being accepted.
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 Special Camp (as reference for applying to next year's camp), you can download new aide information here.
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. Note that this year (2023), due to COVID-19 precautions, Special Camp will be staying on-campus all week and will not be going off-site; afternoon activities will therefore be modified to accommodate this hopefully-temporary 2023 restriction.
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.
The application deadline for JEMS Special Camp 2023 has passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for the 2023 camp. To inquire about registering a camper to attend Special Camp for next year or in a future year, please feel free to e-mail the Special Camp camper registrar at:
Please note that campers must be 13 years of age or older in order to apply.
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 new site and the numerous COVID-19 safety measures being implemented for this year's camp, 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, whenever we are able to resume in-person camp. And above all, pray that God would glorify Himself through this very special ministry called JEMS Special Camp.