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  • Writer's pictureGera Schultz

Everyone Belongs at Camp: J1:9 Camp & Jay Novicki Programs for Friends with Special Needs

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

Summer is just around the corner, and for kids each summer, camp is a chance to make new friends, enjoy the outdoors, and grow in faith.


Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries (NLOM) is committed to providing opportunities for people with special needs to grow in their faith and learn through exhilarating outdoor experiences.


During the summer, that’s our J1:9 Camp program for youth and adults with varying abilities. Campers stay for 48 hours and enjoy adapted camp activities, sno kones, swimming, boating, Bible study, worship, and more!


In all, there are six sessions of J1:9 Camp each summer—five at Carol Joy Holling Camp (one for youth and four for adults 21+), and one at Sullivan Hills Camp (all ages).


During the rest of the year, our friends with special needs take part in the Jay Novicki day camps. Each half-day session includes worship, an inclusive activity, and lunch.


Every month has a new theme, and campers are encouraged to return month after month!


The program is named in Jay Novicki’s memory, and came about through a partnership with his family.


Jay was a person with developmental disabilities who lived life to the fullest and impacted the lives of everyone around him.


He enjoyed camping with his mom, dad, brother, and two sisters. Every year their family would go camping to places like the Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountain National Park, and all across Nebraska.


In 2001, Jay passed away at the age of 37, but his memory lives on through this program.


In partnership with the Novicki family, NLOM is committed to keeping the cost of the Jay Novicki program affordable for all. While the actual cost of offering day camp is more than $50 per person, NLOM only charges $10 for each session. Each camper gets a t-shirt and lunch when they attend.


New last fall, we took the Jay Novicki day camps on the road to St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Omaha in a partnership with MOSAIC. More than thirty campers and volunteers had a blast.


We look forward to continuing to offer both options—at Carol Joy Holling Camp and on the road at nearby churches or centers—going forward.


If your church would like to host a Jay Novicki day camp session, reach out to Bailey Neitzel at BNeitzel@NLOM.org or 402-944-2544.


To register to attend Jay Novicki day camps or J1:9 Camp this summer, visit CarolJoyHolling.org/special-needs or SullivanHills.org/camp-programs




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