Shevet YUVAL, Bnei Akiva’s Shevet for children with special needs, was formed 13 years ago by Bnei Akiva here in Ra’anana with the cooperation and guidance of the Social Services department of Ra’anana municipality. The ideology behind forming YUVAL is to integrate children with special needs as an active and integrative part of the youth movement and is a result of Bnei Akiva’s educational guide lines of accepting and caring of others – or in the words of Rabi Akiva ואהבת לרעך כמוך.

It is true that the youth counselors of Shevet YUVAL enjoy a supporting team but at the same time there is no doubt that to be a counselor of Shevet YUVAL requires special qualities and inner strength. The time and effort that these counselors invest is enormous. For example each kid of Shevet YUVAL has a personal counselor who brings him to the activities on Shabbat and during the week.

During the year all the activities – trips and hikes, parties and camps – are all adjusted to the needs of the YUVAL kids

The success of Shevet YUVAL has developed to pride that all of Ra’anana residents share. The result of this initiative, 13 years ago, by Snif Ra’anana of Bnei Akiva are 32 (yes, you read correctly – Thirty Two!!!) Bnei Akiva Shivtei YUVAL throughout the country and many other Snifim are begging to add this special activity to their Snif

Last week, the YUVAL kids held their summer camp at Ya’ar Offer on the Carmel mounten. The camp, “Tchiya Camp” was named after Tchiya Ben Meir ZL, a social worker from Modiin, who dedicated her life to kids with special needs. The camp included all the regular Israeli camp activities – workshops, extreme sport, Omega sliding, art work and so on – all adjusted and suitable for the special kids of this special Shevet – YUVAL

The kids and counselors enjoyed every minute, returned in one piece, tired and extremely happy. This camp is a living proof that despite the disability, if there is ש!!!a will – there is a way