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 2022 is scheduled for June 26 - July 2, 2022. Mark your calendars!
This year, JEMS Mount Hermon Special Camp was to 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. Unfortunately, this year Special Camp will be held virtually as has been the case for the past two years, due to continuing health and safety concerns regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to hold camp at Camp MayMac in 2023, Lord willing.
The theme verse for this year's camp is:
"For He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
This year, we welcome Mrs. Michi Shimada as our Bible teacher for Special Camp 2022. To read more about Michi and her call to serve, please click here.
Due to the fact that camp will be held virtually for 2022, applications will only be accepted from those who have served as Special Camp aides/staff within the past three years, who would be familiar with the special needs of each camper who attends and would be able to customize care and interactions to their specific needs. Aides/staff who have served within the past three years will receive an e-mail directly containing a link to this year's online application form.
To inquire about applying to serve at a future year's camp or if you have any questions about serving at this year's virtual camp, feel free to e-mail:
If you have any further questions about what is involved to serve as a Special Camp aide, feel free to e-mail:
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 applications are not yet being accepted for JEMS Mount Hermon Virtual Special Camp 2022. We expect to start accepting camper applications in mid-February, at which time links to online camper applications will automatically be sent out to returning campers (those who have attended Special Camp within the past three years).
Application information is sent to interested/prospective campers' parents/guardians only on a per-request basis. To inquire about registering a camper to attend Special Camp for a future year's camp, 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. Also, please note that for the 2023 camp year, we expect that no brand-new camper applications will be accepted, due to the numerous changes associated with the move of a special-needs camp to a brand-new camp location. However, if your camper has never attended JEMS Special Camp before, you may still inquire about registering your camper for a future year's camp.
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 (when it is safe to meet in-person again), 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.