Since 1976, Camp Jotoni, a program of The Arc of Somerset County has provided summer camp for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Camp is recognized as a leader in the State of New Jersey due to its ability to serve campers with wide ranging and often complex needs. Although the majority of campers come from Somerset County, Camp Jotoni serves campers from all counties of New Jersey, as well as from Pennsylvania and New York. The Camp supports several campers who have been coming for multiple decades: some, since its first summer in 1976. The Camp serves approximately 200 unduplicated campers throughout the summer who are supported by thirty five (35) staff members. The camp program is overseen by a Director, Coordinator and veteran lead staff who combine for over 60 years of Camp Jotoni experience. In addition, Camp is led by the Associate Executive Director. The Camp is accredited by The American Camp Association (ACA).
Camp Jotoni consists of a series of program opportunities throughout the day including art, nature, sports, theater, music, swimming in the Camp’s pool and prepared lunches. Residential campers are also offered a prepared dinner and evening activities such as movie nights and dances. Previously, the Camp made use of five (5) cabins that supported approximately forty-eight (48) residential campers and two (2) separate bathhouse cabins containing showers and toilets. It became evident that the aging cabins and infrastructure could not keep up with the complex physical needs of the campers, especially with no air-conditioning, heat and accessible bathrooms in the cabins.
To meet the needs of the campers and the increasing demand for respite, the Camp needed site improvements. The Camp lies on the side of a mountain and had endured years of runoff damage to the cabins and other buildings. The site improvements included the demolition of the five (5) existing cabins and two (2) bathhouse cabins. Four (4) new cabins accommodating as many as sixteen (16) beds and two (2) bathrooms each would replace the old cabins. Each new cabin included air conditioning and heat to allow for year round use, thus expanding respite for all seasons, and accessible bathrooms allowing improved access and ease of use for campers with complex physical support needs. The new cabins and other buildings are interconnected with accessible walkways.
In future development phases , the Camp will also feature a new two-story lodge that will expand Camp programming space. The great room of the lodge will contain 108 seats, which both the grounds and the parking can accommodate. The lodge will also be available to non-profit, civic and community groups on an at-cost basis for use as a place of gathering or for programs. It is anticipated that the lodge will be used routinely for the Camp program as a dining hall and program space, and only occasionally for non-Camp events. The existing pool at the very low end of the Camp will be moved closer to the new cabins and lodge to better accessibility and oversight.
Thomas Fik, PE, CME, LEED AP and team at Carroll Engineering worked very hard putting this project together. Site improvements included additional parking, improved vehicular circulation, stormwater collection and management system, landscaping, lighting, new utilities, and accessible walkways. One of the challenges was the design of accessible routes given the steep slopes on the side of the mountain. Carroll Engineering’s Hillborough, NJ office worked closely with the Arc of Somerset County to develop a site plan to meet the current and future needs of the Camp. Carroll Engineering is very honored for this award from the Metropolitan Builders and Contractors Association of NJ.