“Every summer my kids can't wait to go to overnight Jewish summer camp. It is an oasis that creates memories that last the entire year. Due to the pandemic, it has been almost 18 months since they have been to Eisner Camp; yet they still talk about it. Jewish overnight camp is not cheap. The gift of the One Happy Camper initiative toward a child's first summer at camp was a tremendous help for our family. It is my hope that every child who wants to will get the chance to go to Jewish overnight camp.” – Rabbi Michael Pincus, Congregation Beth Israel
It’s no secret that Jewish summer camp is a transformative experience like no other. But did you know that attending a Jewish summer camp makes campers at least 20% more likely to feel that being Jewish is very important? These sun and fun-filled summers are responsible for countless memories and friendships - and they also build a stronger sense of Jewish identity and belonging. It’s one of the best ways to build pride and connection to Judaism.
For all these reasons and more, your Federation is proud to partner with the Foundation for Jewish Camp to offer an incentive program called One Happy Camper. This program – which sends thousands of North American children to Jewish camp each summer – provides grants of up to $1,000 to families whose children will attend a nonprofit, Jewish overnight camp for the first time. Our local One Happy Camper program, established in 2013, gives kids of all ages access to over 150 Jewish camps.
This year, Federation is excited to announce some program changes that will make Jewish camp even more accessible:
- For the first time, a limited number of scholarships will be available for students who are currently enrolled in a Jewish day school.
- Siblings of previous scholarship recipients will receive $500.
First-time campers typically receive $700 for a 12- to 18-consecutive-day session or $1,000 for a session of 19 or more consecutive days. They can choose a traditional overnight camp or a specialty camp for sports or the arts. Because funds are limited, they are awarded on a first come, first served basis.