December 28, 2006
Jump start Summer at Winter Expo; More help picking a Jewish summer camp
(Page 2 - Previous Page)The camp is also initiating an optional bar and bat mitzvah program aimed at campers who come from secular schools. And last year's pilot program for special-needs kids, in conjunction with the Friendship Circle of Los Angeles, is being expanded to a two-week session.
For information, visit www.cgirunningsprings.com.
Calling All Teens
Camp JCA Shalom is taking summer year round, with a new initiative aimed at keeping teens involved in the September-June off season. With a grant from The Jewish Federation, JCA Shalom, part of the Shalom Institute, has expanded the hours of its teen director and has begun hosting Shabbatons, Sunday events and social action every few weeks. A Shabbaton during the Sukkot holiday attracted 120 kids -- half of whom were boys.
That fact is significant, according to Shalom Institute director Bill Kaplan, since the grant is specifically aimed at bringing in more teenage boys, who typically gravitate away from Jewish youth activities.
Shalom hopes to pull in more teens by offering an Israel trip for 11th- and 12th-graders through the national Jewish Centers Association (the Shalom Institute became independent of the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles last year). With about a dozen JCC camps from around the country participating, teens will spend four weeks in Israel, traveling and studying.
The trip is being run in conjunction with Pinat Shorashim, an Israeli educational nature institute, which also sends Shalom a full-time shaliach (emissary) during the year.
For more information, call (818) 889-5500 or visit www.campjcashalom.com.
Happy Campers at Simcha
Mitzvahs, drama, sports and weekly field trips are all part of Camp Simcha, a six-week day camp for first- through fifth-graders at Temple Israel of Hollywood. Campers spend each morning in enrichment classes, such as painting, creative movement or sports, and each afternoon in a drama program that culminates in an end-of-summer performance. Each week, campers pick a project connected to a mitzvah they have been studying at camp.
For more information, contact Glenda Saul, email@example.com, (323) 876-8330, ext. 312; or visit www.tioh.org/education/camp.php.
Free Money for First-Time Campers
The Foundation for Jewish Education is once again offering first-time campers to Camp Alonim scholarships, hoping to bring new children into the world of Jewish camping -- one of the most effective ways of insuring lifelong Jewish connections.
Camp Alonim is a pluralistic camp at the Brandeis Bardin Institute in Simi Valley. This year, the camp is adding a new batting cage with a pitching machine. The focus on teens continues as local rabbis come in to study with the teen staff and counselors in training (CIT), who are entering 11th grade. CITs this year will also have a chance to choose a specialty area -- such as ropes course, life-guarding or song-leading -- to benefit both the camp and the teens in the future. For information on the Foundation for Jewish Education, visit www.tfjeinc.org; for information on Alonim visit www.thebbi.org.
Financial Incentives for Campers
Camp Ramah has teamed up with area synagogues and private foundations to offer first-time campers financial incentives to attend the Conservative camp in Ojai.
"We are trying to lower the barriers to coming and being part of Ramah," said Rabbi Daniel Greyber, director of Ramah California. "The goal is to increase the number of kids going to Jewish summer camps and to Ramah, because we know that camp is something that works."
The Lowy 4-Week Campership Program will provide 125 first-time campers $1,000 scholarships off the $3,400 tuition for a four-week session. Rabbis from area Conservative synagogues have been asked to nominate up to four kids per synagogue.
An anonymously funded program for kids from the San Diego area will provide 25 $1,250 scholarships for first-time campers.
The programs were established after a recent study of the California Jewish camping market, conducted by the Foundation for Jewish Camping, revealed that parents were not willing to spend as much on Jewish camps as they were on non-Jewish camps.
Greyber is hoping that with these incentives, kids and their parents will fall in love with the experience, motivating them to either stretch their finances to pay for camp or to apply for scholarships that often are underutilized by middle-class families embarrassed to ask for help.
Pointing to a recent report on the impact of Ramah, Greyber says making the stretch for camp is worth it.
"All of the research has borne out that Jewish children who go to Jewish summer camp have a much stronger Jewish identity, and kids who go to Ramah have even stronger measures of Jewish commitment than kids from other Jewish summer camps," Greyber said.
For information visit www.ramah.org or call (310) 476-8571.
Briefs written and compiled by Education Editor Julie Gruenbaum Fax.
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