The camp was actually called Camp Jened, and the documentary argues that it helped feed the sense of community that lead into the American disability rights movement in the 1970s. The documentary has some famous executive producers: Michelle and Barack Obama. So, theres that.
Heres what you need to know about Camp Jened and its impact on the disability rights movement.
Camp Jened was big on treating campers like everyone else.
I wanted to be part of the world, but I didnt see anyone like me, former camper Jim LeBrecht says in the trailer. Someone was like, Youll probably smoke dope with the counselors and I was like, sign me up!
Lionel Je Woodyard, a former counselor, says in the trailer that the camp was definitely inclusive. You wouldnt be picked to be on a team back home, but at Jened, you had to go up to bat, he said.
It was run by hippies
Thats according to the trailer, which features plenty of campers in bell bottoms, wearing head scarves and flower crowns.
It was a really positive environment for campers.
Even though we were young, we helped empower each other, one person says in the trailer. It was what helped us recognize that the status quo was not what it needed to be.
Camp Jened was a lot like any other camp.
In several scenes, you can see campers literally lifting each other up and being super supportive of each other. Kids also did what kids at other camps did, like form summer romances and play sports. The trailer even mentions a crabs outbreak.
Several Jened alums ended up becoming activists
One is Judy Heumann who sued to become a teacher in New York after she was denied a license to teach, per the New York Times . She, along with LeBrecht and others, later led the 504 Sit-In of 1977 in San Francisco, according to the International Museum of American History , which rallied activists and others to demand federal regulations to guarantee rights for people who are disabled.
The Obamas have a personal connection to the documentary.
Their spirit and resilience reminded me of my father, a joyful man, quick with a laugh, who struggled with M.S. [multiple sclerosis] for much of his life, Michelle Obama said about the members of the movement in a statement to Daily Beast . While his disability didnt define who he was, it would be foolish to say it didnt deeply impact him either. This film honors his story and so many others.
Crip Camp is out on Netflix now.