For the first time, One Happy Camper (OHC) grants and camp financial assistance will be offered not just to families from Louisville with children attending Jewish overnight camps, but to youth from all over Kentucky.
In partnership with the Jewish Heritage Fund, the Jewish Federation of Louisville will offer OHC grants and overnight camp financial assistance for all Jewish youth in Kentucky to attend sleepaway camp.
Children attending camp in their first, second and third years are all eligible to receive OHC grants. Parents do not need to provide income eligibility forms or provide personal financial information. Additional financial assistance is available to ensure children can return to camp in subsequent years, even after year three of OHC. All Jewish youth in Kentucky are eligible for the same grants if they want to attend camp.
The grants are available to any Jewish youth interested in going to an approved summer camp. A list of camps can be found at www.jewishcamp.org.
Alison Roemer, Senior Director of Camp, Youth and Families for the Trager Family JCC and the Jewish Federation of Louisville, has been spending time on the road recently traveling around Kentucky sharing this news. She recently spoke to two religious schools in Lexington to make sure that parents, students and families know about this new opportunity.
“We want every Jewish child and teen in Kentucky to be able to attend camp each summer,” Roemer shared. “Camp is transformative for our Jewish youth and it is our goal to make it as accessible as possible. Family finances should not prevent a child from attending overnight camp.”
As one parent stated as part of an anonymous survey in 2022, “My boys loved their camps! When they came home, they were more independent and self-assured. They were full of stories and new friendships. Camp is what they have looked forward to all year long and because of sleepaway camp, they both have a stronger connection to Judaism.”
Youth attending camp for the first time are eligible to receive a OHC grant of up to $2,500 for a session of 19 days or more and up to $1,500 for an 11 – 18 day session. If additional assistance is needed, families are invited to apply for further support. Additional information on second and third year grants, as well as financial assistance, is available at jewishlouisville.org/grants.
Passport to Israel Grants Now Available
Roemer is adamant that trips to Israel are equally as life-changing for youth and young adults. “Passport to Israel” grants are available to those age 15-24 who identify as Jewish and from the Louisville area. First-time youth traveling to Israel for more than 21 days through an organized program can receive up to $4,000 and second-time travelers can receive up to $2,000.
“For so many of our youth, going to Israel is the trip of a lifetime,” says Roemer. “So many parents tell us how their children’s eyes have been opened up to a global level of understanding and how they further appreciate their Jewish culture, place in the world and meaning in their lives. The friendships made on a trip to Israel will last a lifetime.”
Roemer reiterated that the Jewish Federation of Louisville does not want financial barriers to be a hindrance. An additional incentive for Israel travelers is the Root One voucher (www.rootone.org), available for most trips, which provides an additional $3,000. Combined with the $4,000 from the Jewish Community of Louisville, a teen’s trip to Israel is essentially paid for in full. Roemer encourages all families with children who identify as Jewish to contact her and learn more about the opportunities available.
One Happy Camper Grants
One Happy Camper grants are open to all Kentucky residents under the age of 18 identifying as Jewish and attending an approved camp. A list of camps can be found at jewishcamp.org.
First-year campers: Youth attending camp for the first time are eligible to receive up to $2,500 for a session of 19 days or more, and up to $1,500 for an 11-18-day session.
Second-year campers: Louisville campers who received a One Happy Camper grant in Summer 2019 may be eligible to receive up to $2,000 for a session of 19 days or more, and up to $1,250 for an 11-18-day session.
Third-year campers: Campers attending camp for third year may be eligible for a $1,500 grant.
Passport to Israel Grants
Passport to Israel grants are open to all Louisville-area residents age 15-24 identifying as Jewish and attending an organized Israel trip that is 21 days or longer. Birthright Israel is not included.
First-time travelers: Youth traveling to Israel for the first time on an organized trip are eligible to receive up to $4,000.
Second-time travelers: Youth traveling to Israel for the second time on an organized trip are eligible to receive up to $2,000.
For more information, visit jewishlouisville.org/grants.
For questions, email Alison Roemer at email@example.com.