happy jewish campers campers By H
R y l ol
rom New York to California and every town in between, Jewish kids and overnight camp go together like lox and bagels, hummus and pita, latkes and applesauce. What started out 100 years ago as an escape from the city, with the convenience of a kosher meal, has become an ingrained summer tradition for many Jewish families who think nothing of planning vacations, bar mitzvahs and college tours around a summer camp session. While summer camp is admittedly a fun venture, (check out the book, Camp Camp: Where Fantasy Island Meets Lord of the Flies), its results are surprisingly serious business. According to research, the benefits of bonding with other Jewish kids go way beyond mud hikes, late night gab fests and color wars.
happy jewish campers campers
In fact, studies show that kids who go to Jewish overnight camp are more likely to become active members of the Jewish community as adults. According to the study CAMP WORKS: The Long-term Impact of Jewish Overnight Camp, “the influence of summer camp…can be felt long after the last sunset of summer. The impact is striking, especially when compared to their peers who did not spend their summer months at Jewish camp.” The study notes that as adults, campers are 30% more likely to donate to 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. Another study, Generation of Change: How Leaders in their Twenties and Thirties are Reshaping American Jewish Life, notes that “A whopping 71% of young leaders attended Jewish summer camps, youth movements, Hillel and other forms of Jewish education, suggesting that many young leaders were groomed rather than having bloomed on their own.” In response to the compelling research, the Foundation for Jewish Camp began its One Happy Camper program, providing scholarships of $700, $1000 and $1500 to any first-time camper attending a Jewish camp. In Pittsburgh, One Happy Camper operates through the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future (CFJF) in partnership with the Papernick Family Foundation.
J Ma g az i n e
Published on Mar 27, 2012