Camp is special in creating opportunities for learning and growth for children. At camp, we provide an environment where each child has the ability to strengthen and build on becoming the best versions of themselves. We create experiences that teach and reinforce different middot, or values, including: simcha (joy), kehilah kedoshah (sacred community), ometz lev (courage), savlanoot (patience), and much more. It was these same values, which were such an integral part of my personal camping experiences, that helped to form, reinforce and build my moral and ethical view of the world around me. Now, as the Director of our Squirrel Hill Day Camps, I have the unique opportunity to pay it forward and offer the same life-learning opportunities to others throughout our community.
In his article Relationship Thinking In The World of Camping: Seven Questions Today’s Parents Ask (and One Answer!) Joe Rich, MSW, RSW, a well-known Canadian therapist and lecturer, points out that today’s parents are more discerning in providing meaningful summertime experiences for their children and that their questions go well beyond just, “What will my child get out of attending your camp?” Instead, parents want to know how to get their child off the couch, how to help their child to make friendships outside of Facebook and social media, how to limit screen time and how to help their child to grow and to become more resilient. According to Joe Rich, the answer to all of these questions is simply, “Send them to camp.”
As a product of Jewish camp myself, I am fortunate that my parents subscribed to the Joe Rich philosophy. Camp is where I made best friends who are still part of my life; where I learned to graciously accept wins and losses; where I discovered that it is important to listen to others. Camp is where I became more self-confident and it was the driving force in what made my childhood awesome. Like my parents, I hope you’ll follow the advice of Joe Rich. If you want your child:
- To have the opportunity to make friends and build connections;
- To feel safe with the choices they make and to appreciate their role in making the world a better place, to build their values;
- To try new adventures and to fail and succeed within a strong and nurturing support system, to grow as a unique individual;
- To smile and laugh and cheer out loud, to have fun,
Send them to JCC Day Camps!
Director, James & Rachel Levinson Day Camp