New “Israel @ Camp” Intensive Aims to Infuse Deeper Israel Experiences at Summer Camp
A collaboration between The iCenter for Israel Education, Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), and Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) is working closely with eight Jewish summer camps as part of a 20-month intensive process to infuse dynamic and meaningful Israel experiences throughout the fabric of camp. Program teams from the three organizations work closely together and with camp leadership to fully leverage camps’ diverse activities, their young staff members who are Jewish role models, and an increasing number of shlichim who help create camp programs.
Applications currently are open for a second round of camps to join the Israel @ Camp Intensive. Eligible camps must be part of the FJC network of camps and not have participated in past iCenter/FJC Israel education camping initiatives. The camps in the intensive embark on a deliberate visioning process about the place of Israel at their camp.
“The intensive is one of the many ways that our three organizations work together to deepen and expand our shared goal of enhancing Israel education and Jewish life at camp,” says Julie Finkelstein, Director of Leadership Development at FJC. “JAFI, The iCenter, and FJC have a long history of collaboration, and our increased efforts to partner and implement initiatives jointly can only benefit the field of Jewish camp in dynamic ways.”
Israel @ Camp off builds on The iCenter’s years of experience and past initiatives, including the Goodman Camping Initiative for Modern Israel History and Bringing Israel to Camp. The Intensive utilizes JAFI’s expertise and role in training shlichim, and FJC’s leadership and support nationally in the Jewish camping field. The initiative is supported by the The AVI CHAI Foundation and the Maimonides Fund. The first camps that entered the program in spring 2017 currently are assessing their recent summer of new experiments with Israel learning and looking toward a second summer of growth.
The Intensive includes mentorship with Israel educators, support for developing a vision of Israel education at camp, high quality education resources, and opportunities for staff and shlichim to train and work in partnership to enhance Israel education at camp. This includes a joint training experience in Israel that brings together shlichim, camp directors, and Israel educators integrated with JAFI’s annual Shlichim Training Seminar.
Beyond the camps in the intensive, Israel @ Camp looks to build the entire field of Jewish camping so that any camp can examine its settings with Israel learning goals and outcomes in mind. To that end, the iCenter’s faculty mentors are available to any camps that would like to develop their vision for Israel education; any camp can apply to send an Israel educator to participate alongside Israeli shlichim at the Jewish Agency’s training seminar in April 2018; and finally, any camp also can access the materials and resources that Israel @ Camp utilizes for visioning, for the actual Israel education experiences, and for assessment. To learn more about these Extended Opportunities, visit theicenter.org/israelatcamp/extended.