There is something magical that happens in the summer, as children transition from one phase to the next. Summer is the time for them to experience new things, spread their wings and fly, and, at the same time, collect memories that will last a lifetime.
JCC Day Camps help children expand their horizons, practice their social skills and build cooperation and leadership skills – while having the time of their lives.
Developing Leadership Skills
As our campers grow from children to young adults, they have the opportunity to join the Counselor in Training (CIT) program. Our CITs not only get the chance to develop the necessary leadership skills to become excellent counselors for future summers, but they form close bonds with each other as they grow and learn together. Our program does not simply put our CITs to work; it allows them to learn from each other, overcome obstacles, grow, and create the type of camp environment they hope to work in some day. With the right mentoring, any camper can learn what it takes to be a successful and effective leader. Our program helps ensure every future counselor is successful.
Doing Good in the World
Developing awareness and empathy for others while doing Tzedakah (charitable giving) and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) is central to our camp’s values. The community service projects woven throughout the camp experience empower and inspire our campers to help others and make an impact in our community. Our campers select a charity that speaks to them and then roll up their sleeves and get to work…engaging in hands-on fundraising activities like car washes or bake sales, to name a few.
Other community service experiences have included sandwich-making for homeless shelters, card-making for hospitalized children and food collection for the local food pantry. Last summer, our campers raised nearly $1,000, which was split between the Make a Wish Foundation and Send a Kid to Camp scholarship fund.
Shaping the World Around Them
Children earn a special sense of pride and ownership when they build things that get us engaged in the world around them. Our campers had a blast building a GaGa pit for the entire camp last year – from scratch! For those who are not familiar with GaGa, it’s the Israeli version of dodgeball which became extremely popular with children in the US. The campers collaborated in teams of four to construct each of the eight sides of the pit and then made sure to sign their names on it when they finished and it was ready to use.
This creation was one of many projects built at our MakerSpace – a new offering at JCC Day Camps. In addition to the GaGa pit, our campers created and built a variety of wooden games for team-building as well as stands to hold water jugs throughout our campsite.