[by Jacob Efman]
Summer Camp at the Jewish Community Center is kicking into high gear this year with a higher enrollment of campers, 320 as of now, which is a 22 percent increase over last year.
Camp spirit (ruach) and unity are central aspects of Summer Camp at the JCC. Every day starts with everyone coming together for Whole Camp Ruach – listening to and singing with local folksinger John Gage.
Each morning, campers also compete to see which group is most spirited and for the right to keep the highly decorated spirit stick throughout the day.
Camps at the JCC offers something for everyone, whether your child is an aspiring singer, dancer, actor/actress, artist, equestrian, athlete or chef. There are non-stop activities for the campers that focus on having fun while learning.
Specialized counselors and teachers offer a wide variety of dancing, singing, arts and crafts, and educational activities. There are also games and free swim in the pool under the supervision of swimming instructors. So far, campers have worked on a newsletter and made life-size boats out of cardboard boxes to race in the pool.
Some new additions to the camp have already had great success, such as “What’s Cookin’?”, headed by Chef Linda Harkins, a certified culinary educator and executive chef. So far campers have made ratatouille, challah, ice cream, cake and cookies, learning skills they’ll be able to use throughout their lives.
Camp Keff participants in grades K-3, go on a field trip every last Thursday of a session. They’ve already visited the Puzzle’s Fun Dome; and upcoming trips include the Louisville Zoo, Hubers Farm, Incredible Dave’s and the Louisville Nature Center.
Camp Chaverim participants in grades 4-6 go on two field trips every week with a final overnight trip on the last Thursday of each session. They have already made been to Incredible Daves, Cedar Ridge Camp, the Frazier Arms Museum, the Kentucky Horse Park and Coney Island (OH). They really enjoyed their first overnight trip, where they traveled to Cincinnati to see the Reds play the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Campers can also take an active part in social and community service by helping cook dinner for the Ronald McDonald House, visiting the elderly at Four Courts, and helping out at Dare to Care.
Additional service projects include collecting school supplies for those in need and tending the Camp garden, which was funded by a grant from Jewish Hospital HealthCare Services. Campers are almost ready to begin harvesting herbs and vegetables, and flowers are already starting to pop up. Campers will have the opportunity to sample their harvest, and the rest will be donated to Jewish Family and Career Services’ Food Meyer Pantry.
Social service projects teach Gemilut Chasadim, Hebrew for “the giving of loving-kindness,” a fundamental social value of our everyday lives.
Thanks to the sponsorship of Perelmuter and Goldberg Orthodonics, campers celebrate Shabbat every Friday morning of the week, where they receive awards for their achievements and share a group lesson about character. Campers learned about a “mensch,” a Yiddish word which means “a good person.” They also learned how to be more mensch-like by demonstrating qualities one would hope for in a dear friend.
The devoted camp staff and programs make the Camp at the JCC a fun and safe place to be all summer long. The program also offers extended day options such as “Get up Gang” from 7:30-9 a.m. or “Stay ‘n Play” from 3-6 p.m., where campers do fun, organized games and other activities under supervision.
Limited space is available for J-Tots and traditional and specialty camp sessions are available on a first come first serve basis, the next three sessions will run from July 5- August 13. For registration information, call the camp office at 238-2718.
Camp at the JCC is a program of the Jewish Community of Louisville.