PJ Library Goes to JCC Day Camp, Thanks to Grinspoon Foundation

Mike Steklof, assistant camp director of Jewish Community Center of Louisville’s Summer Camp, is receiving 24 books from PJ Library, a program within the Harold Grinspoon Foundation for the summer of 2014 to be used as part of Camp Keff.

Over 50 camps are receiving these books to be utilized by campers ages 4-8 to enhance Jewish literacy in JCC day camps. This new partnership between the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) and JCC Association reinforces the importance of Jewish literacy at a young age through day camp programs.

Through this new partnership, JCC Day Camps throughout North America will enhance their programs by using PJ Library books in their daily programming. These 24 books, filled with stories of Jewish values and assorted holidays, will help infuse Jewish literacy throughout the summer.

This partnership and program is part of JCC Association’s Day Camp Initiative – an effort to raise the programming and profile of Jewish day camp.

“I’m delighted that PJ Library and HGF have chosen to partner with us to add the richness of PJ Library books to the resources that our day camp staff will have available to bring Jewish learning to life,” said Allan Finkelstein, President and CEO of JCC Association.

“JCC day camps are the entry point into Jewish life for over 65,000 children each summer, and we believe by providing valuable tools to enhance summer learning and programs connect campers to a life of Jewish engagement,” said Jodi Sperling, director of camping and the Merrin Center for Teen Engagement at JCC Association. “There’s also incredible potential to reach the 12,000 young adults who work at JCC day camps each summer,” Sperling added, noting that for most day camp staff, working at camp is not only their first real job, but their first exposure to Jewish communal work.

This grant is an example of the broad-based support we receive from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF), both for JCCA and for local JCCs throughout the country. HGF currently provides fundraising incentives and consulting mentors to 18 JCC day camps and 24 JCC residential camps throughout the US. In addition to marrying Harold Grinspoon’s two passions (Jewish camp and Jewish books) the PJ Library® grant for day camps helps unite two great arms of our local JCC partners.

“We are delighted to partner with the JCCA to offer this wonderful opportunity to day camps across the country,” said Mark Gold, executive director of HGF’s JCamp180. “Many JCCs are partnering with their local PJ Library programs to provide another way for the community to impact families raising young children. Since PJ Library sends the gift of Jewish books and music to children through age eight, this is one of many opportunities for mutual marketing support and joint program development.”

“When we work together, we can make a bigger difference,” said Marcie Greenfield Simons, director of PJ Library.

PJ Library often brings out families who have not yet been connected to the organized Jewish community. Working together, JCC camps and PJ Library provide two key resources that can keep young Jewish families engaged year ’round. “We are so excited to partner with Louisville JCC Summer Camp to expose more children to PJ Library,” says Jen Tuvlin, Louisville PJ Library director.

What started as a small project sending books to 200 children in Western Massachusetts in 2005, PJ Library now delivers more than 130,000 Jewish books per month to children throughout North America. Last month Mr. Grinspoon personally delivered the five-millionth PJ Library book to a three-year-old in Natick, MA. His Foundation also invests over $2.2 million annually in Jewish summer camps, much of which is leveraged by those camps to provide $151 million in total impact. For more information visit www.hgf.org.


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