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August 22, 2010 10:42 PM
Affordable camping experiences
It's true that camps tend to be expensive.
However, there exist a variety of scholarships to subsidize the cost, especially for kids who don't attend Jewish day schools. I know of several kids who was able to attend Camp Nageela Midwest for free. Many others received significant scholarships.
For more information, contact your local federation or the camp's office.
August 22, 2010 2:35 PM
Camp is unaffordable for many parents.
I wish I could have sent all my kids to sleepover camp. However, I was a single mom for many years and, after the sacrifices of day school tuition, I did not have the monies for camp. My children, who watched many of their friends depart for a summer of camp delights, tried to push their disappointment deep down where Imma would not see it. Because the Jewish community does not consider camp a necessity, it is out of the question for many parents. Keeping at-home children busy and active is a problem for working parents, especially if that busyness cannot involve outlays of cash. I have read several articles about the importance of the camp experience, and, frankly, I find them insensitive to the segment of the population that finds that experience to be out of reach and impractical.
August 20, 2010 11:31 AM
Do you know any good camps in Israel? My kids would love to go, We are modern orthodox and I would love them to learn Hebrew.
Thanks - your insights brighten my day and my life!
August 19, 2010 6:51 PM
Camp is Life, The rest is just details...
I learned this phrase during the summer of 2003, where as a 43 year old woman, I got to experience again, the magic of Jewish Summer Camp, working in the office. As a child, my love of Judaism came from going to day camp at Camp JCC and to overnight camp at Camp JCA in the LA area. It left a lasting impression on me. When I applied to work at Camp Newman in Santa Rosa (where the majority of the kids from my synagogue attend), I found out that Ruben Arquilevich, Camp Newman's director, also attended Camp JCA. My summer at Camp Newman was magical because I experienced it through the children's eyes. I now always encourage the families from my synagogue to find a way to send their children to Camp Newman. It never ceases to amaze me how Jewish Summer camp transforms these kids...
August 19, 2010 4:24 PM
I have 3 children. My oldest attended Jewish camp from age 9 through16 thanks to the generosity our synagogue. We moved when my twins were 9. We were able to get scholarships for them for only 2 years. After that, scholarships were not big enough for us to afford the out-of-pocket funds asked of us. My two boys, who loved camp, were no longer able to attend. Such is the problem with Hebrew day schools. Both are priced so high that only the well-heeled can afford them. There is little scholarship for families who need help and I know of no family like mine that receives any help. The point I make is that if, as a Jew you don't have the income, don't bother trying because it becomes insulting and embarrassing to keep asking when you are offered too little to make a difference or to be denied outright. So, for the Rabbi who taught my husband that "EVERY JEWISH CHILD WHO WANTS A JEWISH DAY SCHOOL EDUCATION SHOULD BE GIVEN ONE REGARDLESS OF ABILITY TO PAY", well, yes, I agree. No one running day schools seems to agree. I venture that the opportunity for Jewish camping experiences should be treated the same and, of course, no one truly follows that train of thought either. Hence, in my experience, Jewish day schools and Jewish camps are only for those with the ability to pay. Of course, I do know that some children have attended both for no cost due to them being victims who lost everything in Katrina or some other disaster. That's okay until they get back on their feet, then they should contribute what they can afford. My children were not so lucky. I wasn't asked what I could afford, I was told what I must pay. Kosher food costs too much more than tref; a home in walking distance of a shul is much more costly. Lower income families cannot afford the costs. Hence, I can't afford to do what the Jewish community requires of me. I CAN'T AFFORD YOUR PIE. HUMBLE PIE ISN'T KOSHER.
August 18, 2010 5:57 AM
I went to camp Nageela for five years growing up. I can attest to the fact that it's a great experience for a non-observant camper. I learned so much from that camp and made so many great friends. It was also really clean (in the winter, it's actually a hotel) and the staff is so nice. Also, it was much cheaper then other sleepaway camps I went to (and was my favorite out of all the others). I definitely recommend Camp Nageela.
August 17, 2010 8:14 PM
I can't wait to see you B"H!!!
I hear you're coming to Edmonton on Sept 1 and I can't wait to see you!!!
Have a safe trip!
August 17, 2010 4:21 PM
Growing up in the secular world... Jewish Camp is often the first opportunity to live a Jewish life- to study, to sing and dance, and to pray in a way otherwise unavailable . The true taste of Shabbat... ahhhh.
Thank you for sharing the reminder of the life altering experience!
August 17, 2010 3:43 PM
Camp Nageelah Midwest Experience
Our daughter Sophie attended summer camp for the first time this year. Although Nageelah is Orthodox and we are far from that level of observance at the moment, Sophie was never pressured into anything she didn't understand or feel comfortable with. On the contrary, every effort was made to individualize the program to allow the wide diversity of girls to grow at their own pace. Perhaps the greatest gift Camp Nageelah gave us (besides a Jewish, boy-free atmosphere for Sophs for a few weeks; and a kind and enthusiastic staff who live what they teach), was the impact that it had on our whole family. Just dropping her off, picking her up, and visiting on family day, reminded us of how much we miss our own celebration of our Judaism. We now bake challot, put coins in the pushke, share a festive Shabbat meal (including as many brachot as we know ~ candles, wine, bread) ~ discuss the week's parsha, and usher the Sabbath out with Havdalah on Saturday night. We're also trying to learn the Birkat HaMazon and hopefully will continue to add something more each week. We live in the midwest cornbelt, so Camp Nageelah Midwest, like Aish, is a lifeline for us!
August 17, 2010 2:49 PM
camp nageela in upstate NY is an incredible, fun, and positive jewish experience. the kids benefit immeasurably from the warmth and friendship and excellent camp programming. i worked there as a counselor, and can personally attest that its a great way to make a child really proud of being Jewish!
August 17, 2010 4:36 AM
Camp nageela(midwest) is an amazing Jewish camp and offers scholorships..kids can end up going for not a lot of money. i worked there and it was AWESOME!
August 17, 2010 3:39 AM
lori,i totally agree with you that the kids will take home great memories and strong learning experiences. but really, financially, we just cant do it. no way.
August 16, 2010 6:09 PM
I never had the opportunity to attend
a Jewish camp. Now that I am becoming observant, I wish had the opportunity. As it does not look like Hashem has plans for me to have children of my own I will not be able to show them this aspect of Judaism.
August 15, 2010 11:00 PM
Its well worth the money! Thank you Lori!
August 15, 2010 5:53 PM
I went to a Jewish Summer Camp
There were positives and negatives. It helped strengthen my Jewish identity and learn about Judaism. I was alienated from the religious aspects because their beauty wasn't explained to me. Services were Orthodox style, as a girl I had to sit in the back, and they made no sense to me and what little I DID understand didn't touch or inspire me at all. It was also difficult being one of the few black children at a mostly Ashkenazi-style camp. Thankfully, the Isabella Friedman foundation has an alternative multi-cultural camp.
I was able to go because of the Chesed of the Jewish community. My mother couldn't have afforded the camp. While there was much isolation and difficulty, I ultimately benefitted greatly from the experience. Thanks C.B.B. Montreal!
August 15, 2010 5:12 PM
So many camps are $1,000 a week.......and its only your opinion of whether a Jewish camp is good or really gr8....some go for the sports...some go for the drama & arts....some go just for the frienships they will make. So it really is up to the camper/parents which camp is right for them. What is high on your kids priority list?
August 15, 2010 5:03 PM
Lori, many people can hardly afford rent and food these days.
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