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Camp Solomon Schechter Teen Foundation

Year Founded: 
Name of Host Organization: 
Camp Solomon Schechter
Host Setting: 
Summer Camp
Program Type: 
Teen Foundation
Funding Areas: 
Program Description: 

Since Summer 2013, Camp Solomon Schechter has partnered with the Jewish Teen Funders Network (JTFN) to offer the CSS Teen Foundation program to our Gimmel campers (8th – 10th graders). The curriculum is based on the materials created by the JTFN for teen foundations across the country and altered to fit well into a Jewish camp setting. Each cohort works through eight key tasks to ensure a successful program: 1) Introduction and values clarification; 2) Understanding tzedakah; 3) Building consensus; 4) Defining mission; 5) Reviewing grant proposals; 6) Making site visits; 7) Grant-making decisions; and 8) Celebration and sharing. In addition to the summer staff educators, we also invite a major Jewish philanthropist or two in the community to talk with the campers in the cohort about community philanthropy. Prior to the beginning of camp, staff solicits proposals from at least 15 non-profit organizations in the Greater Olympia area ensuring a diversity of missions (basic needs, youth, education, arts, health, environmental, social services, etc.) with the expectation that we will receive approximately ten proposals for review. Concurrently, Schechter publicizes the CSS Teen Foundation to our camp families to engender camper interest in the program and to solicit additional contributions for the funding pool. After developing their mission statements, each cohort reviews proposals and then conducts site visits to at least three of those organizations. The program culminates with an all-camp gathering where funds are presented to the awarded organizations. The Teen Foundation has been, and continues to be, a great addition to the camp’s curriculum. First and foremost, the program provides an additional fun and engaging chug (activity) where experiential Jewish education occurs – learning more about tzedakah (charity) and tikkun olam (repairing the world). 18-25 Gimmel campers are directly involved in the group process of learning about giving, non-profit organizations and functioning as a foundation board to review request for proposals, go on site visits and award modest grants. And, all campers are indirectly involved through requests for tzedakah to add to the funding pool, updates by the program participants and an all-camp gathering where grant awards are distributed. This is an incredible opportunity to teach Jewish values to our future leaders. Participants have commented:“We talked a lot in the beginning about different, important Jewish values and how each word can have multiple definitions.”“During this philanthropy program, I think that I have learned a lot about responsibility and consensus.”“We learned how to add important details into a short statement.”

Program Contact
Jeff Nobbe
Work Phone: 
1627A 73rd Ave. SE
Olympia, WA 98501 US

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