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Summers spent at Camp J will make good grownups out of good kids

June at The J is the best time of year. Happy faces and laughter are front and center.
Hundreds of campers and teen counselors (the best role models ever) converge on our campus for Camp J, our summer camping program. From tots to tweens, the kids are everywhere, and the energy is high; the magic of camp, which is the essence of The J, is hard at work.
Camp J is fun (and it should be), but it’s much more, too. It is empowering, encouraging and inspiring – three gifts our kids need in a rapidly changing society.
At the recent JCCA biennial conference in Memphis, Tennessee, Jeremy J. Fingerman, CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, spoke about the kids we serve at camp. He referred to Generation Z, or “IGEN.”
Who are these kids?
They are unique, research shows. They are growing up more slowly and less emotionally secure. They get less in-person social time and more hours of screen time.
Camp J is purposefully planned to ensure each kid will flourish and grow into the best people they can be. The impact of camp provides lifelong skills. Campers benefit immediately, enhancing their crucial emotional skills, developing skills and strengthening their identity.
Friendships are particularly important. While school is on vacation, Camp J is focused on ensuring that every kid learns how to build friendships, taking positive risks and building the kind of self-confidence they can call upon wherever they go in life.
Several generations have grown up at Camp J.
If you ask our campers what their favorite parts of camp are, we hear their counselors, swimming, art and morning circle. Parents especially commend our staff, the benefits of physical experiences, emotional and social.
Every day, our campers practice thinking differently. Our Yachad, (Together) program meets the desire and demands of families and campers with special needs while also modeling important values for the entire camp community.
Camp J is an immersive experience, including shared morning and afternoon circle, Maccabiah and Shabbat programming. It demonstrates the power of being part of a community, from winning the spirit stick to creating a caring kehillah (community).
Share the pride that we foster at Camp J: Jewish values and celebrations, inclusivity, trust, safety and discovery. There is no limit to the outcomes our campers achieve today.

(Sara Klein Wagner is president and CEO of the Jewish Community of Louisville.)

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