JTFN hits the road again and takes on another summer camp! Camp enthusiasts, and JTFN staff, Alana Hollander and Danielle Segal jump in their car and get ready for another Jewish summer adventure to Connecticut. This summer, as a part of the Foundation for Jewish Camp and AVI CHAI Foundation Innovation Fund, our team has the opportunity to bring Jewish teen philanthropy to camps across the country.
Next up: Camp Laurelwood, Madison, CT.
For two days our JTFN team was welcomed into the grounds of Camp Laurelwood, a Jewish camp that can boast an 80 year history. Our two day philanthropy experience involved the staff, SITs (staff-in-training) and Super Seniors (grades 5-7), all who had the chance to explore their own Jewish values, have meaningful discussions about giving, examine the work of nonprofits, and donate real money.
A key, overarching question across all age groups was global vs. local funding. This manifested in some fascinating discussions, made all the more meaningful by the participant’s personal stories, whether that was about a family connection to Israel, or knowing someone who had benefitted from the services of a local charity. So fitting then, that the two most awarded nonprofits were Hand In Hand (based in Israel which focuses on building bridges between the Jewish and Arab communities), and the Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven (a local social service that provides support for the poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable).
Even just visiting this environment for 48 hours allows you to witness and experience the magic of Jewish summer camp: the dining hall alive with singing, the hilarity associated with “stacking games” (whoever loses the game has to stack the plates for the table), seeing a room full of campers dancing under a canopy of bubbles (yes… bubbles!). By bringing a Jewish philanthropy experience to campers and staff, we can see a glimpse of the Jewish leaders of tomorrow… and it’s in good hands!