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While the best thing to bring on Visiting Day is yourself (and a willingness to participate in your camper’s new favorite activities!), here are some fun gift ideas that your camper is sure to enjoy!

  1. Custom Jewish camp swag*

    From blankets to bracelets, pillows to pinnies, let your camper show some Jewish camp pride with the custom gear at Yessirr.
    *Owned by Jewish camp alumni

  2. A Mixtape Card game

    Cassette tapes may be a thing of the past, but mixtapes and camp still go hand in hand.  This game will inspire your camper to share music and memories with their camp friends.  Deal us in.

  3. Summer Camp Journal & Activity Book

    In addition to recording their camp adventures, your camper can play games with their bunkmates in this adorable journal.

  4. Friendship Bracelet-Inspired Ear Buds

    These colorful wrapped earbuds look just like friendship bracelets and are perfect for some down-time music listening at rest hour.

  5. Bunk Decor in a Box*

    Have a camper with a summer birthday, or just want to surprise them with some festive bunk decorations?  Check out the Bunk Boxes and Birthday Boxes over at Door Decor!
    *Owned by a Jewish camp alum

  6. A Tie-Dye Crazy Creek Chair

    This lightweight, portable chair is comfy, fun, and supportive.  (And as a bonus, it won’t take up much room in your camper’s luggage on the way home!)

  7. Camp mad-Libs

    When it comes to writing letters home, many campers suddenly develop writer’s block. Help them out by giving them some camp-themed, fill-in the blank letters, but be prepared for some wacky letters home!

  8. Jewish Camp Food jewelry*

    Get your kiddo a s’mores pendant necklace to wear on Shabbat from Sweet Stella Designs, or even better, some gefilte fish earrings!  (We’re pining over this epic Jewish food bracelet…)
    *Owned by a Jewish camp alum

  9. LED Glasses for the whole bunk

    Share the love and get your camper something silly to share with their bunkmates.

  10. A Keepsake Volleyball

    A volleyball that doubles as a keepsake for your camper’s bunkmates’ autographs?  Genius!

  11. BONUS: Canteen Money

    Don’t want to schlep so much stuff with you?  No worries.   Put some shekels in their Canteen account, and let them choose their own goodies!

The post 10 Fun Items for Visiting Day Care Packages appeared first on Foundation for Jewish Camp.

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Foundation for Jewish Camp by Foundation For Jewish Camp - 1w ago

Adapted and republished from this original post with permission from URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy

In the past few years, our culture has gained greater awareness of how the STEM field’s problematic “boys’ club” mentality limits our children’s potential. While awareness is an important first step toward addressing the problem, true progress requires action. The world needs more places that actively cultivate passion for STEM in young girls. In essence, the world needs more places like URJ 6 points Sci-Tech Academy.

As Sci-Tech begins its fifth summer as a camp community, the significant increase in female campers is truly a point of pride. During our first summer, we had 159 campers in attendance – only 27 of which were girls. As recently as five summers ago, each session included only about 11 female campers. It was impossible to ignore this lopsided ratio; we needed multiple buildings to house the boys, while the girls required only one single floor.

I’m proud to say there are now 91 young women attending Sci-Tech. They now claim five floors in two buildings. Clearly, there is no gap between boys and girls in terms of interest in STEM; the only gap is in a lack of opportunities that support the ambitions of science-minded girls. I’m thrilled that Sci-Tech’s efforts to reach out to girls across the country have been so successful, and that we’ve created a Jewish space where young women can pursue their passion for STEM learning.

It’s remarkable to observe the profound impact that the campers have on one another. For many girls, attending Sci-Tech is a rare and precious opportunity to find a community of like-minded peers who share their interests. As returning camper Sophie says, “I really value science and STEM learning and it’s something that is hard to relate to with people at home, just because there’s not as many people interested in it.”  Camper Eliana agrees; “A lot more girls are coming to Sci-Tech now. I think that’s really great because it’s good to have connections with other girls who have similar interests as you, and to be able to explore them together. It’s very empowering to be a girl here at Sci-Tech.” Experiencing STEM learning in a Jewish setting is equally significant for Sci-Tech’s female staff, according to Unit Head Bethany: “Sci-Tech has helped me forge connections between science and Judaism that I otherwise would not have encountered.  And it is so breathtaking and inspiring to see female campers find their home in the world of science and technology, an area that for so long has been male-dominated.”

As a Jewish camp, we’re compelled to take meaningful action to promote our tradition’s values of equality, education, and community. The perspectives and skills of all campers – regardless of gender – are essential in creating a more fair, merit-based, and open world for us all.

Photo courtesy URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy

This post is a part of Foundation for Jewish Camp’s summer blog series “Because of Jewish Camp.”  Each week, we will be featuring personal reflections from camp parents, staff, and alumni exemplifying they ways that Jewish camp impacted their lives. Follow along all summer long, and share how Jewish camp impacted your life! Tell us your story in the comments, on Facebook ,or tweet @JewishCamp using the hashtag #JewishCamp.

The post Sci-Tech Shattering the Glass Ceiling appeared first on Foundation for Jewish Camp.

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Foundation for Jewish Camp by Foundation For Jewish Camp - 2w ago

By Susan Klau

One of the best nights of the whole summer at URJ Crane Lake Camp is the last night of camp; what we call “firefly.” Everyone – campers, staff, and faculty – walks down to the lake in order of how many summers we’ve been at camp. According to tradition, we each light a candle, put it on a plank of wood, and make a wish as we set it adrift on the water. By the end of the ceremony, hundreds of lit candles twinkle on the lake, reflecting hundreds of wishes and memories from the camp community. My wish was always that I would see my camp friends again, and that no matter where I was we could always come together.

Many years later, I faced the challenge of transitioning from college life to working my first “adult” job in public relations in Manhattan. I had spent the past four years at American University in Washington D.C. and had immersed myself in the Jewish community there. I’d truly found a group of friends that felt like family, and the prospect of leaving my tight-knit community behind was daunting. I was terrified of moving to a big and unfamiliar city.  How would I ever find a community?

I did not have to look very far. After posting on Facebook that I was moving to New York, old bunkmates and other members of the camp community living there welcomed me with open arms, invited me to their homes, showed me around the city, and taught me the difference between “uptown” and “downtown” trains  (I’d literally be lost without them!).

I shouldn’t have been surprised. I’d spent thirteen of my summers at URJ Crane Lake Camp, where they imparted the value of “welcoming the stranger.” Any time a new camper was introduced to a bunk full of returning campers, we were taught to embrace them as family. All these years later, I was now the new camper looking for people to welcome me in.

Last January, a fellow camp alum hosted a camp-themed Shabbat dinner at her apartment. We all came together to welcome Shabbat, eat some great take-out, and talk about our lives and what we were up to. Of course, we couldn’t have a camp Shabbat without reminiscing about our days at Crane Lake – who was on what color war team, or who remembered the words to past fight songs. Sitting cross-legged on the floor of my friend’s apartment, I was transported back to West Stockbridge singing “Miriam’s Song” at song session and camping out with our Israeli scouts. For the first time since moving to New York, I thought: “maybe I can do this Manhattan thing.”

It’s been almost a year since I graduated from college and moved to the Big Apple. Looking back, I don’t know how I could have done it without the support of my camp community.  Being a camp alum meant Shabbat dinner plans, brunch buddies, and friends to celebrate my birthday with me in a new place.  The wish I made on my candle at the camp lake all those years ago has come true. I know now that whatever the future holds and wherever I go, I will never be a stranger; I will always have a camp family to welcome me in as one of their own.

Susan Klau was a camper, Machon and counselor at the URJ Crane Lake Camp for 13 years. She was proudly both an Olim Fellow and a Cornerstone Fellow. Susan graduated from American University in 2017 and now works in New York City. 

This post is a part of Foundation for Jewish Camp’s summer blog series “Because of Jewish Camp.” Each week, we will be featuring personal reflections from camp parents, staff, and alumni exemplifying the ways that Jewish camp impacted their lives. Follow along all summer long, and share how Jewish camp impacted your life! Tell us your story in the comments, on Facebook, or tweet @JewishCamp using the hashtag #JewishCamp.

The post Finding Community After College appeared first on Foundation for Jewish Camp.

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Foundation for Jewish Camp by Foundation For Jewish Camp - 3w ago

This post is a part of Foundation for Jewish Camp’s summer blog series “Because of Jewish Camp.”  Each week, we will be featuring personal reflections from camp parents, staff, and alumni exemplifying they ways that Jewish camp impacted their lives. Follow along all summer long, and share how Jewish camp impacted your life! Tell us your story in the comments, on Facebook ,or tweet @JewishCamp using the hashtag #JewishCamp.

Rabbi Skoff is the product of many summers of Jewish day camp and overnight camp. He attended Camp Ramah in the Poconos.  Sadly, his very first counselor passed away last week, and Rabbi Skoff shared these words with his counselor’s family. His thoughts remind us of how very special the role of a camp counselor can be.

* * * * * *

TO MY COUNSELOR… 45 YEARS LATER

by Rabbi Joshua Skoff

On my first day at Camp Ramah, my counselor Stan Lacks handed me a brush and soap and told me it was my turn to scrub the toilets as part of nikayon, the daily cleaning of the tzrif, the bunk. Shaped like the Wheel of Fortune, Stan had fashioned a nikayon wheel listing every boy’s name and every cleaning job in Bunk 5. He spun the wheel, and the world’s least desirable task fell on my shoulders. I survived my “ordeal.” But, what I remember most vividly is Stan sitting us on our beds on the first morning and saying “gentlemen, this is the metatay, the broom, and this is how you are going to clean your tzrif.” Some of the returning “veteran” campers grumbled at having to sit for this most basic of lessons. But Stan was teaching all of us a larger lesson: “We’re a team, and we start on the same page. Do the basics well, because if you don’t master the basics, you’ll never learn to work together on anything else.” My first life lesson from my counselor.

Stan was my first counselor at Camp Ramah. It was the 1970’s and I was 13 years old. It was my first time away from home. Stan made me feel I belonged, that I could be myself. Is this trivial? No, it is critical. And, when it is done right, it is essential. We all need, at that age, at any age, to feel worthy, to feel validated, by someone NOT of our family, someone not formally tied to us by family bonds. It is important to hear someone outside the family circle say, “You’re alright.”

When we want to prove that someone is important to us, we fall back onto the terminology of family, “He is like a father to me, a brother.” Such comparisons are unnecessary and unwise. Stan was not my father or my mother, my brother or my sister. He didn’t need to be. It is as if we do not recognize the importance, the value, the uniqueness, and the magic of another important relationship: He was my counselor.

I learned that he lost his father at an earlier age. It just came out one day in conversation. I watched how he said it and then saw him go back to the rest of his day. It was my precious chance to learn about real life, about real loss, not in a cemetery, not in an intimidating environment but in a safe one, filtered very gently by someone I trusted.

Stan yelled at us if we were back late to the bunk at night and was exasperated if we were too noisy during Tefillah. He was incredulous when we put our already-chewed gum on our plate to save for after lunch, or when someone would place the table forks underneath their armpit on a hot sweaty day. He cheered for us on the baseball field and whenever we did something together as a group. He tucked us in every night and woke us up individually each morning. He found out about an almost unheard-of ballplayer that I liked, named Scipio Spinks, and would wake me up by whispering “Josh, Scipio Spinks is here.”

Every single night of camp, Stan sat in the middle of the bunk with his flashlight on reading us English stories, American Jewish stories, political satires, comedy writings, Woody Allen, Elie Wiesel, and the Jerusalem Post. He taught us about causes and ideas that we should work for. He wanted us to think. We were his congregation, and he was our rabbi, every single night.

A counselor at Jewish camp teaches their kids. All the time. Modeling, influencing, and guiding behavior. The looks you give, the way you praise, your criticisms, your tone –  your campers will remember it for the rest of their lives. I did.

I now have a congregation of 1700 families; I am a rabbi of 28 years. Stan was my counselor more than 40 years ago and yet, all of these memories are still right in the forefront of my mind, they’re right here in me. We are tempted to call it camp trivia, but no trivia about people is trivial. Stan was not my father or my mother, my brother or my sister, but Stan was related to me by a shared intensive experience at a formative time of my life. Of course he was related to me! He was my counselor at Camp Ramah.

On that last day of my first summer, as Stan was disassembling the bunk, he took down that nikayon wheel off the wall, the wheel that he had made, the wheel that had mercilessly sentenced me to toilet cleaning on the first day.

“Do you want this?” he said to me.

I took it.

I still have it.

Lailah Tov, Stan.

-Joshua Skoff (Ramah Poconos 1973-85)

Adapted and republished from this original post with permission from Rabbi Skoff.

The post TO MY COUNSELOR… 45 YEARS LATER appeared first on Foundation for Jewish Camp.

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An Open Letter to Day Camp Shlichim Host Families: 10 Steps for Welcoming a Guest (Hahnasat Orhim)

Dear Day Camp Schlichim Host or Hostess (with the mostest–of course),

First of all: Thank you. Thank you so, so much, for inviting a young Israeli emissary (shlicha/female, shaliach/male, shlichim/multiple) into your home for all or part of Summer 2018. Your generosity in opening your home will not only greatly impact the lives of young Israelis, but will make it possible for so many campers and staff to get to know them too.  You are creating an opportunity for Jewish people to come together from across the globe. You are doing a mitzvah. You da best.

I bet you’re a little nervous too! That’s okay. Here is an easy 10 step guide that you can use to help ensure the best experience possible for you, your family, your day camp community, and of course, the shlichim you host.

  1. Be in touch. Have you video chatted with your soon-to-be house guest yet? Do you have their contact information to set up a time to connect with them? If not, please ask your day camp director for their contact information.
  2. Ask questions. When you do connect by either phone or video chat (or email, if that’s what works best), ask questions (Examples include: What are your flight details? What time will you be arriving? Do you need any help getting to our home from the airport?). If you can, offer to pick them up at the airport, or send a cab. Don’t forget to ask about dietary restrictions and food preferences. You are most likely responsible for providing meals to your shaliach, so it’s essential that you know what they can and can’t eat. Finally, ask how you can ensure that they’ll feel comfortable in your home, and give space for them to ask their questions.
  3. Tell them things! I know from my own experience attending and speaking at JAFI’s Day Camp Shlichim seminar in Israel a few months ago that the incoming shlichim have many questions for you. They’re excited to get to know you! Tell them about yourself and your family and your home (and specifically, their sleeping quarters). Let them know your expectations regarding weekly and weeknight curfews, communication, and alcohol consumption. Remember that some shlichim are of legal drinking age in the U.S., and most if not all are of legal drinking age in Israel.
  4. Lead the greeting. When you finally come face to face with your shlicha, be the first person to extend a handshake or open your arms for a hug. Don’t leave that awkward moment for your guest from another country to navigate!
  5. Give a tour of your home. Do this as soon as possible upon arrival. Be sure to point out anything that’s broken or requires some special jiggling maneuver to open.
  6. Give a tour of your neighborhood. Point out parks, restaurants and other eateries, grocery stores, and anything else your area offers by way of culture or entertainment. Tell them about the Jewish community in the area, too.
  7. Do something special. Possibilities include hosting a welcome gathering and inviting friends and neighbors, or going out for a welcome dinner as a family.
  8. Acknowledge discomfort. Don’t be afraid to discuss the current political climate in the US, and tell your shlichim what you do or don’t know about what’s going on right now in Israel. Acknowledge that being in a new place when things are happening at home can be difficult, and ask how you can be most supportive.
  9. Forgive and forget small transgressions. There’s a Jewish sensibility called “teshuva” which asks us to fix what we’ve done wrong, then forgive, and if possible, forget. If you or your new house guest fumble in any small way, work together to quickly fix the misunderstanding, forgive, and move on.
  10. Do your best to build a lasting relationship and through it, a connection to Israel for you, your family, and your community.

Todah, todah, todah (Thank you, thank you, thank you)!

Here’s to a wonderful summer at day camp, and at home.

Jenni Zeftel
Director, Day Camp and Strategic Programs
Foundation for Jewish Camp

P.S. If you are interested in hosting shlichim this summer in your home for a dinner, a week, or more, please contact your local Jewish day camp director. You don’t have to have children in camp to be considered!

The post An Open Letter to Day Camp Shlichim Host Families appeared first on Foundation for Jewish Camp.

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Foundation for Jewish Camp by Foundation For Jewish Camp - 1M ago

by Marlee Gordon, 3rd year Counselor and Cornerstone Fellow

Picture this:

Four days where the main topic of conversation is camp. What kind of activities do you have at your camp? Do you call it Maccabiah or color war? It lasts five days?! Yes, we have services every day, but we have different kinds. Your oldest unit goes on a two-week camping experience? That’s so interesting! Well that is the Foundation for Jewish Camp Cornerstone Seminar: four days of learning, teaching and talking about the best places on Earth. Cornerstone is the dream for any staff member of a Jewish summer camp.

URJ Camp Coleman held a special place at Cornerstone this year. We brought so many fellows (twelve plus two supervisors) that we needed our own table. We brought so many fellows that during some activities, the leaders would tell the groups to make sure they had at least one Colemanite in the group. We had so many fellows that they had to give us our own room. Others would come up to us and ask how we had so many campers. Also, I’m pretty sure there would have been a way to connect every person through someone else. Jewish Geography is the best game ever!

Picture this:

Song session every night. Some songs that we have been singing for years; some taught to us in minutes. At the beginning, they are playing some random Israeli songs. Jessie and I hop on the stage and start teaching the Ethan Sandler dance. Slowly, people start joining in until almost everyone in the Theater is doing the dance with us. We were able to share our traditions and fun with all of the other camps, but we also learned a lot from them as well. We learned that “Energy Generates Energy” and taught Down by the Bay.

Picture this:

A mixed gender cabin. Different, right? This experience was specific to me at Cornerstone. This was the second year that Cornerstone offered a mixed gender cabin, and I took advantage of the opportunity. We explored such a different dynamic in this cabin, but ultimately, we all sat around in a circle, learning about each other’s pets and college majors.

Picture this:

All fourteen of us, counselors, programmers (plus programming director), specialists, and unit head (singular), working on an Action Plan to help make this summer as amazing as humanly possible for both staff and campers. Get ready Coleman! Your Cornerstone fellows are going to crush it this summer!

About the Cornerstone Fellowship
Coleman has participated in the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Cornerstone Fellowship since its inception in 2003. Cornerstone is an elite North American fellowship of third-year staff created to raise the quality of bunk leadership and peer mentorship with the staff cohort at camp. Our Cornerstone Fellows are dedicated leaders of camp who collaborate to make a positive influence on Coleman each summer.

Republished with permission from the URJ Camp Coleman Blog.

The post Picture This: Cornerstone 2018 appeared first on Foundation for Jewish Camp.

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Last week, FJC CEO Jeremy Fingerman, joined with colleagues from the American Camp Association and YMCA Camping Network on Capitol Hill.  In their meetings with Senate and House leadership, they raised four public policy issues that affect camps:

  1. CHILD SAFETY
    They acknowledged the landmark passage of the Child Protection Improvements Act (CPIA), which became law in late March.  CPIA offers organizations serving children access to the national FBI fingerprint-based background checks.  As a result, we have another tool to help fully protect children under our care.
  2. CULTURAL EXCHANGE PROGRAMS
    They continued to raise the importance of preserving and protecting the Camp Counselor and Summer Work Travel programs utilized by so many of our camps.  While our efforts last fall were successful, the issue is not yet fully resolved, and we anticipate further review of the regulations related to the different J-1 visa categories.
  3. GETTING KIDS OUTDOORS
    They expressed support for the proposed Every Kid Outdoors (EKO) bill to facilitate and increase free access to public lands and outdoor recreation space, in partnership with federal and state agencies.
  4. TAX ISSUES
    They advocated on behalf of the many nonprofit faith-based camps which rely heavily on charitable giving for proposals to provide an above-the-line charitable deduction available to everyone, regardless of if they itemize or not.  The new tax cut and reform package that Congress passed in late 2017 contains two provisions which negatively impact camps:  reducing the deductibility of business meals and taxation of “relocation” and travel expenses for camp volunteers and employees.  In addition, they raised the issue of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) which prevents parents from deducting costs associated with overnight camps (while allowing so for day camps.)
YOU CAN HELP BY DOING THE FOLLOWING THIS SUMMER:
  • Capture powerful stories highlighting the beneficial cultural exchange between campers, counselors, and Israeli shlichim in particular.  Videos and articles would be highly effective, especially if placed in your local media outlets during the summer.  We would like to keep track of these stories from across the country, should it be necessary to share more broadly if the J-1 camp counselor categories come under further scrutiny in the fall.  Please also send your stories to us at aimee@jewishcamp.org.
  • Invite your elected representatives to visit your camp this summer.  Especially during this upcoming election year, House and Senate members seek these kinds of opportunities.  During such a visit, you can demonstrate the power of the above-mentioned policy issues.

The post Advocating for Jewish Camp on Capitol Hill 2018 appeared first on Foundation for Jewish Camp.

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“He says he has suicidal thoughts… this is not the first time… he thinks about knives and cutting and self-harm and he’s only telling me… his camp counselor.”

Unusual? It’s not unusual. This is a real life scenario. How does this 18 year old counselor help his 14 year old camper?

One in five children, ages 13-18, in the United States, has a serious mental illness. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth, ages 10-24. We cannot escape these daunting statistics, but we can provide tools and preventative strategies for those who work most intimately with our children. In the case above, the camp counselor, astutely and instinctively did the right thing and shared his camper’s pain with the mental health professional in camp. This was a simple intervention that averted a potentially severe crisis.

How can we ensure that cases such as these are handled properly? Will a counselor always listen? Will camp staff always notice? Will the proper help always be available?

With over 20 years of camper care experience, I understand the magnitude of mental health issues and I know that they are not always addressed properly. Today, campers and young adults come to camp with emotional baggage that pose serious challenges and we, the professionals, must respond!

Jewish tradition teaches us that if we see something that is broken, it is our obligation to repair it. Jews are asked to engage in tikun (repair) and may not turn a blind eye to any physical or emotional crisis. Spiritually healing the soul, body and mind is a core Jewish value. Rabbi Naomi Levy’s prayer reminds us of everyone’s search for healing and comfort: “May your pain cease. May your strength increase. May your fears be released. May blessings, love and joy surround you.”

Care, compassion and knowledge are essential healing ingredients. Dispelling stigma and distinguishing between behaviors that are problematic and those that are simply age-appropriate is critical. Youth Mental Health First Aid Training (YMHFAT) provides the tools that deliver new approaches to crisis intervention. As a seasoned social worker, I feel that receiving YMHFAT certification has given me new strategies and enhanced my perspective.

What is YMHFAT? Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.

One of the best “takeaways” for me was internalizing the 5-step action plan called ALGEE. The 5 steps are:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm

  • Listen in a nonjudgmental manner

  • Give reassurance and information

  • Encourage appropriate professional help

  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

ALGEE is an effective transferable skill to present to camp counselors that can ensure they are equipped to recognize the signs of crisis, take appropriate action, and refer to mental health professionals as needed.

I appreciated the reaffirmation of my longtime belief that anyone interacting daily with adolescents and young adults should be trained in YMHFA. By integrating real life “scenarios” into the training curriculum, the trainers set the stage for empathetic listening, concrete solutions, and evidenced based programs and practice. By taking the YMHFAT course, it becomes easier to intervene and do the Jewish actions of tikun and spiritual healing, and understand that it is essential to exponentially increase mental health wellness in our society.

Karen Legman Segal is the Director of Camper Care for Camp Ramah in the Berkshires. She participated in The Jewish Education Project’s Youth Mental Health First Aid certification program as part of the YouTHrive series of workshops designed to help Jewish educators understand their role in helping youth grow into thriving young adults.

Camp Ramah in the Berkshires is part of Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Mental Health & Wellbeing at Camp pilot program (supported by the Neshamot Fund – Women’s Impact Philanthropy of UJA-Federation of NY) to bring YMHFA training to counselors and staff at several NY area overnight camps.

originally published by The Jewish Education Project

The post Addressing Youth Mental Health Through Jewish Tradition appeared first on Foundation for Jewish Camp.

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Foundation for Jewish Camp by Foundation For Jewish Camp - 2M ago
Lauren & Todd

Camp Chi

When/how/where at camp did you meet?

We met at Camp Chi in 2000. Todd was 18 and going off to the University of Illinois that fall. Lauren was 17 and starting her senior year in high school. We happen to have grown up in the same town (Northbrook), attended the same high school and even the same synagogue but never knew each other. In the summer of 2000 we both ended up back at Chi (we’d both been there as campers for most of our lives – again, never meeting), and were counselors in the same unit. We met during the first week of camp and were put together to plan a scavenger hunt activity.

Was it love right away?

Yes, we instantly hit it off that night and started “dating” a few weeks into the first session. It was honestly love at first sight for both of us – we never looked back.

What happened between you when camp ended that summer?

Todd went off to school and we did the long-distance thing that whole year, and then for the next 4 years when Lauren went to school at Indiana University (often driving 2.5 hours in the middle of the night so we could see each other). During Lauren’s junior year, we decided to study abroad together in Amsterdam, and this experience really deepened our relationship. After college we both moved back to our parents’ homes for a year and then moved into our first apartment in the city. We married on August 9, 2009 and now live in Deerfield with our 2 sons, Benjamin (5) and Ezra (2).

Did you have any camp themed thing at your wedding?

No – but we strongly considered having the wedding at camp. We did get engaged at camp in 2008 (when we were visiting).

Do you find that your time at camp has influenced your relationship?

Yes, it has always been a big part of our lives and we reflect on that time with nostalgia. We definitely plan to send our kids to Jewish overnight camp and feel strongly that it has influenced our lives in a very positive way.

Will you send your kids to camp?

Absolutely! We joke that we need to create a camp account for each of them now to make sure they can go.

The post Summer Lovin – Lauren & Todd appeared first on Foundation for Jewish Camp.

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How Facebook’s New Ad Policies Affect Jewish Camps

By Stephanie Gonzalez, Social Summer Camp

In light of the recent scandals and controversies surrounding Facebook advertising, the social media company has recently rolled out numerous changes to their ad platform and ad policies. One of the more significant changes affecting Jewish camps involves use of the word “Jewish” in ads.

Per Facebook’s Ad Policies on Prohibited Content, the rules on including personal attributes states: Ads must not contain content that asserts or implies personal attributes. This includes direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s race, ethnic origin, religion, beliefs…”

How does this rule impact your ads for Jewish camp? The most important thing to note is that the rules allow you to use “Jewish” only as a descriptor for your program and not as a description of your target audience. For example, you are allowed to say “Check out our Jewish sleepaway camp,” or “Our programs are built on Jewish values,” but you shouldn’t say “Attention, Jewish moms!” or “Our camp is the best place for Jewish kids to spend their summer!”

Another potential complication is that Facebook’s ad-reviewing algorithm – implemented earlier this year in response to the surge of targeted harassment and hate speech online – is flagging the word “Jewish” more frequently than ever before. Even if your ad follows Facebook’s policies, you might find that including “Jewish” in your ad text will result in your ad being disapproved.

If you find that you’ve been struggling with disapproved ads lately, don’t panic. Always double-check that your ad follows the policy above and then submit an appeal. Submitting an appeal puts your ad through to Facebook’s Ad Team, who can usually review and approve your ad within a few hours.

More changes are sure to come as Facebook continues to battle the questionable ads on its platform. Just remember to have patience and double-check Facebook’s ad policies before launching your next big recruitment campaign!

Happy Facebook-ing! 

The post How Facebook’s New Ad Policies Affect Jewish Camps appeared first on Foundation for Jewish Camp.

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