Lazy summer afternoons, drought, triple digit temperatures: All part of what many of us faced this summer at camps across the nation. Things have gotten better since the first Jewish overnight camps opened 100 years ago. We now have some fans and AC for most of the staff … But comfort is not we offer at Jewish camps. We make an effort to create Jewish connections. We want every camper to find the commitment to our people, which will last a life-time.
In a recent report, scholars asked Jewish adults about their commitment to Judaism and Jewish causes. They found out some amazing data about the impact of overnight Jewish camps on Jewish identity. The report ("Camp Works") offers the fullest picture to date of the impact of Jewish summer camp. The basic question which framed the analysis was: "Does Jewish camp work?" The report demonstrates that summers at Jewish camp are an important part of the process whereby adults become and sustain a strong commitment to the Jewish community and to Jewish practice.
The report found that Jewish summer camp attendance is strongly related to the likelihood of adult participation and identification. As adults, campers are: 30% more likely to donate to a Jewish charity; 37% more likely to light Shabbat candles; 45% more likely to attend synagogue monthly or more; and 55% more likely to be very emotionally attached to Israel.
Everyone can take an active role in encouraging our families to consider Jewish summer camps (day and overnight) –regardless of the composition of your family. In addition, we must continue the work of making those Jewish connections at our congregation the rest of the year. The more our members are involved, the more examples we can offer our children of what an adult Jewish life means. We have a golden opportunity to be an example to our youngsters during our “GUCIbat” Service. If you have never been to camp, join us and have a taste of summer. Been a camper yourself? Join us for a trip down memory lane. And of course, if you would like your children to be campers, be sure you and your family join us for our camp-style Shabbat service in January. We welcome everyone; we want everyone there! Let us all show our support for OUR future.
To access the full report follow this link,
How Jewish camp impacted you and your family? Does the report represent your situation? How can you be part of the report in the future? Do you want to be? Please, leave a comment!