JCC Camp Recognized Nationally

JCC Camp Ruach in Bridgewater among Jewish Nonprofit Camps recognized nationally and receives grant from Harold Grinspoon foundation for adapting to meet needs of campers.

Following an unprecedented summer that left many camps across the country closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, JCC Camp Ruach was among Jewish nonprofit camps recognized recently for measures the camp took to respond to the needs of campers and to secure their futures.  As a part of its efforts this summer, JCC Camp Ruach, located at the Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Bridgewater, New Jersey, hosted an innovative, creative, and successful in-person day camp program this summer. JCC Camp Ruach was the only summer day camp to receive an Adapt Grant from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s JCamp 180.

According to JCC Camp Ruach Director, Alanna Steinberg, “Throughout the camp planning process during Covid, we developed multiple plans based on the information we were receiving from State officials and what we anticipated we would be able to offer at camp.  It was a very fluid time period leading up to camp opening, and once we received confirmation that day camps in New Jersey could open on July 6, we were ready with a camp program that was first and foremost safe for campers and our staff. Campers experienced an eight-week summer camp program filled with fun, and allowed kids to be kids again, which was something they all needed after a disrupted school year with months of minimal opportunities for recreational and social interaction.  JCC Camp Ruach committed to a high level, full summer camp program in 2020. We were extremely proud of the summer camp experience we offered our community.”

JCamp 180®, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF), dedicated its annual conference to celebrating not only camps’ swift adaptation to the many challenges created by the pandemic, but also to thanking donors, including parents, who played a key role  in helping camps weather summer 2020. Because camps plan all year for each summer, a summer with reduced or no tuition income can have a devastating impact on a camp’s stability and future.

“Camp fosters a sense of belonging and purpose in Jewish youth, forging independence, and cultivating future leaders,” said Sarah M. Eisinger, Director of JCamp 180. JCamp 180 invests in the sustainability and organizational effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps to assure the continuity of Jewish identity, people, and culture through transformative camp experiences. Camps are supported through matching and challenge grants, training for lay and professional leaders, and ongoing individual consultation.

As part of the JCamp 180 conference, camps were invited to share lessons learned and the actions they took this summer to stabilize budgets and foster connectivity amid physical distancing. The camps that received Adapt grants were introduced by a virtual message from entrepreneur and NBA team owner Mark Cuban, who is an alumnus of a Jewish summer camp.

“None of us want to look back years from now to realize we had this incredible asset the community built over these years and that we did not step up to save it, which is why we knew this was the moment to give boldly, to give beyond our usual spend levels,” said Winnie Sandler Grinspoon, President of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

“We thank all of our families who donated and rolled over their camp fees.  There is a continued need for the community to support our Camp, and we hope that funders step up to join parents and first-time donors,” said Ms. Steinberg.

Camp Ruach is a high-caliber, inclusive, and welcoming day camp program for campers ages two years through entering grade 9. Diverse programming includes instructional and free swim, art, cooking, music, athletics, archery, ropes course, STEM, dance, community service projects, and more. Beautiful 14 acres camp ground includes indoor and outdoor pools and ADA-compliant splash pad. Camp Ruach adheres to all safety and health protocols. Camp runs June 28-August 20, 2021. Half-day options available for youngest campers and transportation is provided for full-day program. Virtual Open House Monday, November 30 at 8 PM. To receive Zoom link and to schedule your personal tour, E-mail ASteinberg@ssbjcc.org. Live chat at jccCampruach.org.

Camp Ruach is a high-caliber, inclusive, and welcoming day camp program for campers ages two years through entering grade 9. Diverse programming includes instructional and free swim, art, cooking, music, athletics, archery, ropes course, STEM, dance, community service projects, and more. Beautiful 14 acres camp ground includes indoor and outdoor pools and ADA-compliant splash pad. Camp Ruach adheres to all safety and health protocols. Camp runs June 28-August 20, 2021. Half-day options available for youngest campers and transportation is provided for full-day program. A Virtual Open House is scheduled for Monday, November 30, at 8 PM. E-mail ASteinberg@ssbjcc.org for Open House Zoom link and to schedule a personal tour. Live chat at jccCampruach.org