B’nai B’rith Camp pivots to serve the community

The financial implications of the Governor’s mandated closing of overnight camps are profound for BB Camp. The total lost revenue from the cancellation of BB’s overnight camp, our youth, teen, adult and family activities, and retreat rentals is $2.2 million. BB Camp relies on fees to cover camp’s summer costs and our year-round efforts to plan for camp, including staff salaries, year-round programming, and maintaining their beautiful grounds, to sustain a world-class experience for the community.

Despite the overnight camps closure, BB Camp staff and lay leadership pivoted, creatively adapted, and persevered, using their Jewish values as their guide. Under these unprecedented circumstances, BB Camp has proven to find resilient, new, and forward-thinking approaches to programming to provide to the community this past summer, including:

  • Following COVID-19 mitigating protocols, BB Camp shared simcha (joy), passion and magic with 613 campers at four BB Day Camp programs, including Portland, Lincoln City and Seattle. It was beautiful to see BB Camp’s responsiveness to the community when called upon, as the team produced new pop-up programs – BB Middle School Days in Portland and BB Day Camp Seattle, along with the already established BB Day Camp Portland and BB Day Camp Lincoln City.
  • They built chaverut (friendships) with 1,937 campers, alumni and community members via virtual programs.
  • Worked to repair the world, tikkun olam, by serving 30,441 free “grab & go” meals (June-August) to Lincoln County’s food-insecure and hungry children on their campus and off-site locations, through their Summer Food Services Program.
  • As summer began to wind down, their kehila (community) of 229 men’s campers and guests gathered in a touching Zoom Memorial Shabbat Service, an engaging Zoom Good & Welfare, and a fun (but hot!) annual Golf Tournament. And 80 ReJewvenation women joined in a weekend of sisterhood and meaningful conversation on Zoom. All to benefit BB campers.
  • And, amid this very challenging time, for the future generations, dor l’dor, BB Camp finished construction of all new ADA accessible cabins on their northside.

Less than a week after the “Send a Kid to Camp” Golf Tournament, the historic straight-line windstorm and Echo Mountain Complex Wildfire hit the camp’s local area. The wildfire was imminently and dangerously close to BB Camp. Staff was evacuated, without warning. The fire almost reached BB Camp. It was just a few small blocks away when courageous firefighters stopped the treacherous fire. BB Camp was spared. Unfortunately, many of their neighbors and friends were not as lucky. Although BB Camp was saved from the fire, the camp sustained some damage and loss. However, the heartbreaking loss for BB Camp came from the impact of the food loss and prevention of serving 5,040 free meals to food-insecure and hungry children during this intense time.

As BB Camp turned its attention to post-fire recovery, their commitment and efforts focused on continuing to provide free, delivered meals to food-insecure and hungry children in the local Lincoln County area as well as the evacuees from the Echo Mountain Complex Wildfire. Due to the pandemic and the unforeseen and increased need to feed families during this crisis, BB Camp has now served more than 46,000 free grab & go meals, so far, to food insecure and hungry children in the local area since June, and will continue to serve meals to the community’s children through August 2021.

Additionally, they serve and deliver three hot, delicious and nutritious free meals; breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days per week, to more than 300 wildfire evacuees. And they’re delivering these meals to nine shelters. To date, they’ve served almost 17,000 free meals to evacuees! They will be supporting the evacuees through March. BB Camp is eager and delighted to provide this critical assistance to sustain the community.

In anticipation of summer 2021, BB Camp has opened overnight and day camp registration. BB Camp encourages families to register early at bbcamp.org. Due to potential COVID-19 mitigating protocols, availability may be limited.

BB Camp, approaching its 100th anniversary, is nearing the completion of its decade-long campus rebuild, with the building of a new amphitheater and aquatics center at the forefront for this year. Community celebrations will begin post-COVID.

To overcome the loss of revenue due to the pandemic, BB Camp asks the community to contribute to the Bridge Covid Relief Campaign or their annual #BBGives, on Giving Tuesday, December 1.

For more information and to donate, please visit bbcamp.org.



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