The Jewish Community Center’s Summer Camp is already seeing a huge increase in enrollment this year, and now it’s headed for even greater success, thanks to its being selected to participate in JCamp 180, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.
The camp recently had its first visit with its new JCamp 180 mentor, Aron Goldman.
Goldman has worked for JCamp 180 for about a year and a half but has spent most of his career working in non-profit consulting. As a mentor, he works personally with camps and helps them professionalize their operation. “I visit camps and help them with organization and development, capacity building and back-end infrastructure,” Goldman said. “I work on growing enrollment and professionalizing camp.”
The organization does not do programming – that’s up to the camps themselves. “We help build sophisticated organizations,” he said.
“We got along with Aron very well, and all the camp staff are excited to see what he can help us improve,” said Betsy Schwartz, director of camp and youth services. “We have an excellent camp with an amazing parent committee here. But there’s always room to improve, and that’s what we want to continue to strive to do.”
Goldman said his initial finding in Louisville is that the camp is off to a good start by having a strong parent committee, but there’s still a lot that can be done.
Growing the connections with other JCC departments and engaging lay leadership are some priorities he’d like the JCC’s camp to work on.
JCamp 180 is a part of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, which also funds PJ Library. The mission of JCamp 180 is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit camps and other organizations that engage young people in meaningful Jewish cultural and educational experiences.
The mentoring program is not time-limited, Goldman said, “so we have time to get to know each other. What I can offer is help with priorities and from there develop a plan.”
He was also very impressed with the JCL management’s commitment to camp. “Stu (Silberman) and Sara (Wagner) seem to be incredibly positive and excited about opportunities to grow the camp and professionalize it,” Goldman said. “My initial findings are that there’s incredible excitement throughout the JCL.”
Mike Steklof, assistant camp director, said the visit was very successful. “We are all on the same page with our plans for camp.”
Another benefit of the relationship with JCamp 180 is that the camp leaders will be able to connect with other camp leadership. “It’s a way to have exposure to what peers are doing all over the country. It prevents isolation, and helps with best practices and gives leading edge strategies. “They’ll have exposure on the national level and we like to highlight exciting things.”
The JCC’s summer camp is a fun-filled time of learning and summer excitement. This year, the camp offers many options for specialty camps, including sports, swimming, Legos, science and theater. Camp will foster self-esteem and help campers develop their understanding of, and an appreciation for, the world in which we live at camp, at home and in the greater community. We believe that all campers can participate, all campers can succeed and all campers can make a new friend.
Camp starts June 8. Several weeks of camp are already full, so sign up for camp today at Jewishlouisville.org.