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The Fun Continues at JCC Summer Camp

[by Emily Levin]

Each summer, kids flock to the JCC for a multitude of summer camps. This year, many new programs have been added, while other programs continue to provide a great experience for campers.

Traditional Fun
Many activities loved by the campers have been continued this year. Among these activities are morning circle, swimming lessons and free swim sessions offered throughout the week, with the new addition this year of the Lenny Krayzelburg Swim Academy. Camp Keff and Trek 46 provide field trips around the city and late or overnight programs.

“My kids love the field trips and are huge fans of trips to places like the Louisville Zoo and Huber’s Orchard,” said parent Leslie Bates, whose two daughters are participating in Camp Keff this summer. “They also love free swim.”

Besides weekly themes and associated crafts, trips and other activities, every Wednesday is Dress Up day with a different theme each week, from ugly tie day to costume day. Many campers as well as their counselors really get into the clothing themes each Wednesday.

“The counselors are so energetic and not at all standoffish with the kids,” Bates said. “Even in the morning when I drop them off, the counselors immediately engage campers in all sorts of activities.”

Bates also mentioned her great appreciation of Camp Director Julie Hollander and Camp Keff Unit Head Jill Beasley. “They care a lot for the campers’ well being. My daughters have been coming to JCC Summer Camp for four years now, and I haven’t had to worry a bit, even though my youngest has food allergies.”

Other interesting activities continued from last year include a petting zoo that was set up near the family park on June 19. The campers really enjoyed feeding and petting all sorts of animals. Later that week some campers took an exciting field trip to the Louisville Zoo to learn even more about animals. The Maccabi Games/Olympics, a popular event for children in grades K-5, yet again created friendly competition and fun during the week of July 16. Caring and Sharing Week, a week dedicated to service, also continued this year with more information below.

New Programs
New specialty camps have been added to the schedule this year, including Robotics: Mindstorm Mania with Bricks 4 Kidz, Sailing Camp with the River Cities Community Sailing Program, and Sports Stars with lead instructor Keith Callen. The Sailing Camp took place July 23-27, Robotics will run from August 6-10 for Grades 4-7, and Sports Stars continues Aug 6-10 for Grades 1-6.

Many new camp-wide events are also occurring throughout the summer. There was a Purim party held June 20, during which campers dressed up in costumes and learned all about the holiday of Purim through various crafts.  An All Camp Talent Show took place July 13.

There were also visits by everyday heroes to JCC Summer Camp during the heroes-themed week of June 25. Children were able to hear from a police officer and fireman, who talked about their important roles and allowed campers to see their police car and fire truck. Some campers also made a banner, cards and cookies for the unsung heroes at the JCC.

Another new feature introduced this year to camp is a Special Needs Inclusion Program. Funded by the Hannah Marks Endowment Fund, the pilot program provides advocates for children with special needs. Five campers have participated this summer.

Sharing and Caring Week
Now in its third year, JCC Summer Camp’s Sharing and Caring Week began July 24. All JCC campers had the opportunity to work on many service projects to raise money for the Jewish Family & Career Services (JFCS) Food Pantry, which provides help to more than 100 families in need of support each year. JCC Summer Camp has partnered with JFCS all summer, conducting food drives during carpool each Thursday, but this week is dedicated to helping out the JFCS Food Pantry even more.

On Tuesday, Camp Keff, Trek 46 and specialty camps took part in a Swim-A-Thon with pledges raised by each camper. On Thursday, while preschool campers held a Dance-A-Thon, community service campers went to the grocery store to use some of the money raised to purchase items not normally donated to the Pantry.

Campers also helped throughout the week in various other fundraisers, such as bake sales, gifts and wrapping paper sales in the front lobby of the JCC, and car washes near the halfway house.

A check presentation to a member of JFCS is scheduled for Friday, July 27, at 9:15 a.m. In the past two years, more than $2000 has been raised for the JFCS Food Pantry through JCC Summer Camp Caring and Sharing Week.

Still interested in signing your kids up for a fun summer camp experience? Some camps continue into August and still have limited spots available! New this year, if your child was a camper this summer and would like to participate in one more week of camp before school starts, the JCC is offering post-camp programs August 13-17.  Sessions include Dance the Day Away for grades K-3, Animal “Grossology” Lego Camp for Grades 1-5, Explore the Arts for grades 3-6 and Sports Spectacular with Keith Callen. Camps run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with Get Up Gang and Stay ’N Play available for an extra fee. Registration deadline: 5 p.m. Friday, August 3.

For more information on JCC Summer Camp and Post-Camp programs and how to register, call 502-459-0660 or visit online.

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