Attendance at Jewish overnight camp is a top indicator of future Jewish connection. Research from the Foundation for Jewish Camp found that as adults, alumni of Jewish overnight summer camps are:
- 55 percent more likely to feel very emotionally attached to Israel.
- 45 percent more likely to attend synagogue at least once a month.
- 25 percent more likely to report that most or all of their close friends are Jewish.
- 30 percent more likely to donate to a Jewish Federation.
Because the impact of overnight Jewish camp is immediate and lasting, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta is helping more kids get that experience.
In May 2013, Federation’s executive committee unanimously approved taking “an active role in the long term promotion of and funding of Jewish overnight summer camp in order to double the number of children in Atlanta attending a Jewish overnight summer camp by 2022.”
Federation started by raising awareness: What exactly is camp?
Jewish camp is fun, but it also has soul. Jewish camp is packed with action: boating, basketball, filmmaking, rock climbing, cooking, archery, painting, drama and dance. Kids participate in such activities while celebrating the values of independence, friendship, community, fairness, diversity, giving back, inclusion and heritage.
At Jewish camp, ruach (spirit) is part of every activity, from arts and crafts to baseball, allowing campers to explore their connection to Judaism in a meaningful way while having a great summer.
Camp learning is effective because campers don’t feel as if they’re being taught. Songs and activities are often tied to intrinsic Jewish values. A color war, for example, is more than “red vs. blue.” Teams may be based on Jewish historical leaders or places in Israel. This approach leads to an immersive Jewish summer experience.
The impact lasts far beyond the summer. The immersive experience of overnight camp helps children think creatively, become more innovative and flexible, and listen and communicate more effectively. Camp activities emphasize independence, communication, problem solving, collaboration and leadership — all critical skills for future success.
Campers hang out with strong Jewish role models. Staff members inspire confidence and independence, guiding children to hone their skills, build self-esteem, and discover interests and talents.
Studies show that children who go to Jewish camp are more likely to become adults who value their heritage, are engaged in their communities, support causes and take on leadership roles throughout their lives.
To help more kids go to camp, Federation offers grants and scholarships, including the following:
- First-Year One Happy Camper incentive grants. Overnight campers can receive up to $1,000 off their first summer at camp. Grants are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and are not based on financial need. Jewish day school students are not eligible for One Happy Camper. Other summer experiences may apply. Visit www.atlantajewishcamp.org for a full list of approved programs.
- Second-Year One Happy Camper incentive grants. Atlanta campers who received a One Happy Camper grant for summer 2015 may be eligible to receive a second-year incentive grant of up to $500. To apply for the second-year grant, complete the One Happy Camper application, which includes questions to determine eligibility. A family’s combined household adjusted gross income must be less than $160,000.
- Needs-based scholarship. Federation’s Camp Scholarship Program helps families in metro Atlanta with the cost of camp tuition. Scholarships are based on financial need and are awarded by a committee as a part of an anonymous review and allocation process. All applications and inquiries are confidential. The Camp Scholarship Program is funded by individual donors, grants from charitable foundations and Federation’s annual campaign.
To apply or get more information, visit www.atlantajewishcamp.org. The application deadline is Jan. 30.