Foundation for Jewish Camp Awarded New Grants for Day and Overnight Camping

URJ Six Points Sports Academy; courtesy URJ.
URJ Six Points Sports Academy; courtesy URJ.

The Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) has received four new grants to pilot innovative programs supporting both overnight and day camps. Consistent with FJC’s new strategic plan, these four grants have been developed as scalable models that can be expanded as additional funding at the national and local levels becomes available.

The first two grants will support overnight camps.

New Camp Accelerator: Based on the continued success of FJC’s Specialty Camp Incubators, funded by The Jim Joseph and The AVI CHAI Foundations, FJC has created the “New Camp Accelerator”, designed to provide a platform and structure for the continued growth of the field. The Accelerator will fast-track the creation of new camps, encouraging and leveraging significant local investment with FJC’s well-honed consulting services. URJ 6 Points Sports Academy West and Ramah Northern California, both of which intend to open in summer 2016, will be the first two camps to benefit from FJC’s expertise in developing new camps. The AVI CHAI Foundation will fund FJC’s support for these first two camps.

FJC Ruderman Inclusion Initiative: Consistent with FJC’s objective to significantly increase the number of children with disabilities who participate in Jewish camp, the Ruderman Family Foundation has awarded FJC a three-year grant to implement the FJC Ruderman Inclusion Initiative at four camps across North America. Beginning immediately, the opportunity enables these camps to hire and train inclusion coordinators who will work to increase the number of children with disabilities participating in their camps. The program and training can be replicated throughout the field with future funding. The four camps chosen to participate in this pilot are Camp Young Judea Texas, URJ Camp Harlam, Camp B’nai Brith Oregon, and Camp JCA Shalom.

The next two grants support day camps.

Arevim Hebrew Immersion at Camp: Hebrew immersion in summer camps encourages Hebrew language proficiency and promotes pride in Jewish identity in a nurturing, creative, and fun way. Based on initial and ongoing work of the Arevim Philanthropic Group at Ramah Day Camp in Nyack, New York, and the day camps of the JCC of Metro Detroit and JCC of Greater Toronto, FJC will expand the initial pilot and lay the groundwork for further expansion to other communities. FJC will work with the current three camps and with two new day camps at the Marcus JCC in Atlanta and the Mandel JCC in Cleveland. Support for this national initiative has been granted by the William Davidson Foundation, The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, and the Arevim Philanthropic Group, and local funding has been provided by the Marcus Foundation, the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, and the AVI CHAI Foundation.

Jewish Coaching Project: This initiative will empower day camps across the spectrum of Jewish life to ensure that they have a well-defined Jewish mission and maximize the Jewish outcomes they seek for their campers and staff. With a grant from UJA-Federation of New York, FJC will work with four New York area day camps through coaches, cohort learnings, and communities of practice to refine each camp’s vision and customize the learning outcomes. The expectation is the new educational methodologies and best practices developed will lay the foundation for making a positive Jewish culture change at camps and informal educational institutions across North America. The four camps have not yet been selected.