Camp J: Bigger and Better — New specialty camps rolling out this summer at The J

Campers of all ages will find different specilty offerings, including sports, arts and cooking, when Camp J starts its 2018 season. (Community photo)

With the start of a new year and summer of camp just months off, Camp Director Mindye Mannel said a lineup of new “specialty camps” will be introduced this year.
Those specialty camps will take many forms: Snapology Lego Camp, Weather Camp, Basketball the Bellarmine Way Camp, Chess Camp, Turnip the Beet Cooking Camp, Soccer Camp, Dance Camp, Young Artists Camp and so much more.
The goal of Chess Camp will be to teach campers how much fun, challenging and engaging chess can be. This is a camp for kids of all skill levels.
“We will be connecting with a community we often haven’t been able to connect with,” said Chess Camp coordinator Ryan Velez. “Chess is, so far as I know, the most diverse enterprise in the world. We work with many different people of many different backgrounds.
We work in public schools, Catholic schools, at the Islamic school, and now we get to work with the Jewish Community Center.”
Snapology Camp Owner Orla Pylant said her camp will “connect” with The J families and campers, entertaining and engaging them over the summer.
“We love meeting new families and students and appreciate the opportunity to partner with The J,” Pylant said. “We like to say that kids will have so much fun in our programs that they don’t even realize they are learning.”
Mannel said the Young Artists Camp, which is for campers in kindergarten through 10th grade, will provide a new and inclusive opportunity for Camp J campers.
“This is a social-emotional theater camp, [which] will be a full inclusion workshop for both students on the autism spectrum and their general education peers,” Mannel said. “In this camp we will use theater games and activities to enhance social interaction and empathy skills.”
Touting the 2018 J Camp theme, “Summer of Superheroes,” traditional and specialty camps will strive to offer inclusive opportunities … and fun.
“Each superhero has a value they represent, and we will focus on that value for the week,” Mannel said. “Our themes are going to make camp fun and educational at the same time.”
Camp will host superhero dress-up day each Wednesday and will have Funky Fridays with outfit add-ons, such as silly socks, wild hats, pajama day and more.
“We have great staff this year for camp,” Mannel said. “Many of our best counselors are returning. Those that are the most skilled and dedicated to camp and their campers, as well as many new staff with fresh ideas.”
Two shlichim (Israeli counselors) will again join the camp staff this summer. Camp families and members of The J have the opportunity to host them for a few weeks during the summer, learning more about Israeli culture.
Traditional camp registration is open now, and specialty camp registration will open at the end of January. A camp open house will be held on May 31 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and a Yachad-specific open house will be that same day, from 5 to 6 p.m.
Camp will run from June 4 through August 10. For questions about camp or offers to host the shlichim, contact the camp office at 502-238-2718 or

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