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CAMP!!

08/06/2023 08:25:59 PM

Aug6

Grilled cheese, tomato soup, potato chips and ice cream. Lakes, trees, dirt paths and cabins. Camp. Filled with Jewish souls, Hebrew, Jewish culture, Shabbat, Jewish values. Jewish summer camps! I was privileged to join a group of Educators on a trip sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest to visit two summer camps. I had no idea how inspiring the day would be. We were joined by representatives from the Foundation for Jewish Camping, a national organization promoting Jewish overnight camping.

We first visited Camp Havaya, a camp of the Reconstructionist movement. The motto of this camp summarizes the values that are infused by every aspect of the camp: "We want you to be you". This is one of the most inclusive camps I have ever seen, supportive of LGBTQ+ campers, Jews of color and Interfaith families. Among the impressive features of this camp are its emotional wellness counselor and a space designated as CORE: a space where campers and also staff can Chill Out, Relax and Explore. The daily tefillah offers campers alternatives such as yoga and other paths to explore spirituality. 

We also visited NJY camps where we also had a tour of both Nah-Jee-Wah (Entering grades 1-6) -and Cedar Lake (Entering grades 7-9). We enjoyed a wonderful tour, a basic camp lunch (see above, grilled cheese....) and even got to talk to several campers who joined us for lunch and discussion. The campers were clearly having a great summer. We learned about the wonderful Jewish values curriculum and the displays found all over the camp from the various summers. 

I could not help but have flashbacks of my own camping days both as a camper and counselor as we toured both of these camps.  Did you know that our Greater MetroWest Federation offers all kind of summer camp services such as grants through One Happy Camper and also free guidance in choosing a camp for your children or grandchildren? Why choose a Jewish camp for your children?? According to the Foundation for Jewish camping, there is clear evidence that "Jewish summers create adults who are committed to the Jewish community and engaged in Jewish practice – the cornerstones of a vibrant Jewish future." 

If you would like to know more about the many camps available for next summer, please do not hesitate to contact Tracy Levine at One Happy Camper tlevine@jfedgmw.org. 

Mon, July 15 2024 9 Tammuz 5784