S’mores Included: FJC National Board Camps in Colorado
JEWISHcolorado welcomed the National Board of Directors of the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) in July as the organization held its biannual meeting in the state. FJC is the engine behind the One Happy Camper® initiative that has since its inception in 2012 funded Jewish summer camp incentive grants to some 1,300 Colorado children, including 149 campers this summer alone. Said JEWISHcolorado President and CEO Rabbi Jay Strear, “These matching grants have energized giving in this community toward summer camp programs. So many people talk about how their Jewish camp experiences inform the rest of their Jewish lives.”
FJC National Board Chair Jim Heeger of California said about being in Colorado, it is an “incredibly meaningful experience to return to where my own Jewish camp journey began at Shwayder Camp in Colorado many, many years ago.” His journey returned to Colorado camps with visits to JCC Ranch Camp, Camp Ramah, and Shwayder.
Heeger continued, “We each have a deep commitment to ensuring a strong Jewish future, and we know that “camp works. We know, based on previous research, that Jewish camp alumni are more likely to be engaged in Jewish life, support Jewish institutions, and have a relationship with Israel. We also know that Jewish camp is a feeder for Jewish communal professionals. A recent study showed that approximately 60% of Jewish communal professionals attended Jewish camp.”
For their part, the FJC board is focusing its efforts on how to accelerate enrollment growth for the field over the next 5-10 years. For the Colorado community, that means supporting JEWISHcolorado’s camp efforts for the next three summers with a One Happy Camper Expansion Grant, where FJC will provide JEWISHcolorado with a grant of up to $100K in matching dollars to expand the number of first-time camper incentive awards distributed annually by the Federation.
The National Board’s evening at JEWISHcolorado ended with roasting s’mores — a traditional camp treat too inviting to pass up. If you are interested in helping Jewish children get to summer camp, please contact JEWISHcolorado Director of Annual Campaigns, Ben Einhorn at email@example.com.