Why We Give Children Camp Scholarships

By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO

Summer seems far away when the thermometer outside struggles to break through the freezing mark. This period of long nights and frosty mornings, however, is the right time to think about a highlight of summer – when hundreds of our community’s children spend weeks at Jewish overnight summer camp.

Going to camp is an experience every Jewish child should have the opportunity to enjoy, which is why the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle awards camp scholarships to local children for overnight camp. The benefits are lifelong – lasting friendships, a sense of community, and a strong, durable Jewish identity.

That’s what camp did for me. I grew up with a strong sense of Jewish identity and my life is founded on Jewish values, in part because I went to Camp High Point in the Catskill Mountains. But for a set of unusual circumstances, I might not have gone. Camp can be expensive and there were no scholarships available from the local federation at that time. I was able to go only because my mother, a single parent, worked at Camp High Point.

Financial barriers should not stand between our children and the identity- and values-building experience of Jewish camp. The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is deeply committed to making camp affordable for more children, as one of the ways we are investing in Jewish life for the future. Every year, the Federation awards overnight camp scholarships to local children. Your generous gifts to Federation make these scholarships possible, in addition to grants we have received in recent years, including those from the Samis Foundation, The Loeb Family Charitable Foundation, the Charles and Lillian Kaplan Scholarship Fund, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, the Alfred & Tillie Shemanski Trust Fund, and the Alfred & Tillie Shemanski Testamentary Trust and Foundation.

Additionally, we participate in the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s One Happy Camper program through which we award incentive grants of up to $1,000 for eligible children attending camp for the first time.

You can find Federation camp scholarship eligibility guidelines and applications at jewishinseattle.org/campscholarships. The application deadline for 2017 camp scholarships is February 25, a short six weeks from now. For first-time campers, we accept applications for One Happy Camper incentive grants on a rolling basis. Visit jewishinseattle.org/firsttimecampers to learn more about eligibility guidelines and to apply. First-time campers can apply for both scholarships and incentive grants.

Awarding camp scholarships is one of the most impactful things we do at Federation. From my personal experience and from the heartfelt thank-you letters we receive from children after camp season, I know how special camp is. Let Federation help you give that special experience to your child this summer.

 

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Children have received PJ Library and PJ Our Way books since the programs’ beginning through April 2017.