A Message from Our Executive Director
Risa Paskoff | Executive Director
“Sending a child with special needs to a camp program is not easy. The parents and the child face challenges and concerns throughout the process. For a child who has medical needs, the parent must make sure that a nurse is available. For a child who has behavioral issues, the parent must make sure that the staff is trained appropriately and is able to follow required reinforcement schedules (which might be needed every 5 minutes!). Consistency and schedule-oriented sessions are essential for many children who have developmental disabilities.
For the child who has physical and motor difficulties, the staff needs to be trained and knowledgeable in lifting the child, transporting the child and making sure that at all times, the child is comfortable and safe. Who could have known when we first began in 1998 with 11 children and 1 week of camp in Lancaster that it would turn into what it is today! So, one may ask, what is Aaron’s Acres all about and why is it so special? Aaron’s Acres is about connecting with children of all different abilities and their families. Aaron’s Acres focuses on the entire family throughout the year that we provide various programs and activities to all of the members of the families. Aaron’s Acres is about partnering with people of all ages and experiences. Come and join the Aaron’s Acres family in a way that is meaningful to you. I look forward to having you become a part of the Aaron’s Acres experience!”
Aaron’s Acres is a non-profit organization that accepts everyone, regardless of disability or financial limitations for our programs. The organization is non-discriminatory and accepts everyone regardless of religious affiliations, race, or sexual orientation (as staff, volunteers, donors, participants, and their families). Everyone is welcome at Aaron’s Acres.
Aaron’s Acres, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was founded by a group of parents who wanted to provide a summer camp experience for their children (in Lancaster County) who had special needs. With the assistance from the Special Kids Network (a program of United Disabilities Services (UDS), “Embracing possibilities beyond disabilities”, became the philosophy of Aaron’s Acres.
Our second camp program started in Berks County and our School Year Program started in Lancaster County.
Our school year program started in Berks County.
Our third camp program was offered in Dauphin County.
Effective September 2007, Aaron’s Acres became incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity and developed its mission.
Our AAAOK program started in Lancaster County.
Our AAOK program stated in Dauphin County.
Our AAAOK program started in Berks County.
Our Lancaster Summer Camp moved to the Manheim Community Pool & Memorial Park.
Aaron’s Acres opened its first official office at 1861 Charter Lane, Suite 114, Lancaster in the Greenfield Corporate Center & held a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Our school year program started in Dauphin County. In addition, over 200 participants are now involved with our programs.
We had over 200 participants at summer camp with 12 weeks of camp in three counties and 60 participants at our School Year Program.
The satellite camp sites in Berks and Dauphin counties were consolidated into the Main Manheim campus in order to serve more children. Transportation services were set up in tandem with the decision to allow Dauphin and Berks participants accessibility to our programs
Aaron’s Acres celebrates twenty years of providing therapeutic recreation programs for children & young adults with developmental disabilities. Throughout the 2018 year Aaron’s Acres held monthly fundraisers and events to mark the milestone, which all led up to their premier fundraising event Our Shining Moment: Aaron’s Acres 20th Anniversary Celebration where 200 of Aaron’s Acres’ friends, families, participants, staff, and supporters joined to crown this achievement. Keynote speaker Kyle Maynard preached a message of limitless possibilities despite given circumstances, directly connecting to our mantra embracing possibilities beyond disabilities.