By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
Throughout our Jewish journeys, we cherish remembering those wonderful experiences that illuminate our lives. One of those special memories is the time we enjoyed at Jewish overnight camp. The summers I spent at Camp High Point in the Catskill Mountains were an unforgettable time of making friends, having spirited adventures in a beautiful natural setting, and gaining an indelible sense of my Jewish identity.
Camp High Point is no longer open, but the precious Jewish memories that I made there have stayed with me always. Shabbat services every week. Dressed in my green and white camp dress shorts. Sitting on the bench in the social hall — such a wonderful memory. Learning how to play so many sports and then there was color war — the iconic camp crescendo. The camp experience is one that every Jewish child should have the opportunity to enjoy. That is why the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, thanks to our many generous donors, lowers financial barriers to attending camp by awarding need-based scholarships to hundreds of local children every year. In 2018, all who applied for a scholarship received one.
Now is the time to give your child the gift of Jewish camp. Applications for need-based camp scholarships for the 2019 camp season are open through Tuesday, March 5.
Our mission to help children get to camp involves much more than awarding scholarships. Federation also works closely with camps and congregations to pool financial resources and ensure that, collectively as a community, we meet the needs of each child. Another service we provide is administering the scholarship program for Camp Solomon Schechter, Sephardic Adventure Camp, and URJ Camp Kalsman, so they can put all of their focus where it belongs — giving our children the best possible Jewish camp experience.
One more thing: If your child has never been to Jewish summer camp, you might also be eligible for a One Happy Camper incentive grant of up to $1,000 for first-time campers. You can find out more and apply for a One Happy Camper grant here. Please hurry! Funds for One Happy Camper grants are limited, and are awarded first-come, first-served.
Whether your children are going to camp for the first time or are seasoned camp veterans, you can be sure they will have the time of their lives — and they will value the Jewish connections they make at camp. As one of our 2018 scholarship recipients told us: “I have met some of my best friends there. There aren’t many Jewish kids at my school, and it means a lot to be with so many at camp.”
The benefits of camp ripple out far beyond campers and their families. Camp is an investment in the entire community. Children who gain a strong Jewish identity at camp often stay closely involved in Jewish life as they grow into adulthood and start families of their own. They join congregations, support Jewish causes with their time and resources, take on leadership responsibilities, and build strong relationships that are the heart of a strong community.
When their own children are ready, they give them the gift that their parents gave them — a life-changing experience at Jewish overnight summer camp that will ensure Jewish continuity, l’dor v’dor.
We’re here to help. Take that step and apply for a Federation camp scholarship today.