Ever since the 1990 National Jewish population survey revealed the extent of assimilation, the American Jewish community has focused on the challenge of passing along Jewish connection and commitment to the next generation.
Numerous studies have shown youth benefit from attending sleep-away camps. Jewish sleep-away camps not only help young campers learn valuable life skills, they have the added benefit of creating confident, engaged Jewish adults.
Based on CAMP WORKS, a study by the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) examining the long-term impact of Jewish overnight camp, there is compelling evidence that camp is a proven means of building Jewish identity, community and leadership. The study found that adults who attended Jewish overnight camp are 30% more likely to donate to a Jewish federation, 37% more likely to light candles regularly for Shabbat, 45% more likely to attend synagogue at least once a month, and 55% more likely to feel very emotionally attached to Israel.
In order to enable as many children as possible to experience the power of Jewish camp, FJC created the One Happy Camper program.
One Happy Camper provides need-blind grants of $1,000 to families with children attending nonprofit Jewish overnight camp for the first time. FJC created the grant in partnership with Jewish federations, foundations and camps across North America. Visit OneHappyCamper.org to find a Jewish camp and to apply for your grant.
The foundation collaborates with various partners around the country to provide the grants. Eligible camps in the Pacific Northwest include: B’nai B’rith Camp in Oregon; Camp Solomon Schechter, URJ camp Kalsman and Sephardic Adventure Camp in Washington; and Camp Miriam and Camp Hatikva in British Columbia.
The local community also supports camp opportunities for Jewish youth.
The Kailes Campership Scholarship at the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation provides need-based scholarships for Jewish camps in the United States. The average scholarship size is $250. To be eligible, an applicant must be Jewish and a resident of Oregon and must demonstrate financial need. For more information and an OJCF Campership Scholarship application, visit ojcf.org/receive/receive-a-scholarship.
FJC is the only public organization dedicated solely to nonprofit Jewish overnight camps. FJC employs a variety of strategies toward a single goal: to increase the number of children in Jewish summer camps. To this end, the Foundation creates inspiring camp leaders, expands access to and intensifies demand for camp, and develops programs to strengthen camps across the Jewish spectrum in North America. Through strategic partnerships on local and national levels, FJC raises the profile of Jewish camp and serves as a central resource for parents and organizations alike. FJC works with more than 150 camps, 70,000 campers, and 10,000 counselors across North America each summer to further its mission. For more information on this national effort, visit www.jewishcamp.org.