OJCF’s enduring commitment to camp

PHOTO: BB Campers do a philanthropy exercise.

Knowing that Jewish overnight camp plays a big role in kids’ and teens’ Jewish identity, the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation and our youth foundation consistently support our local camps – B’nai B’rith Camp and Camp Solomon Schechter. This support is varied but with the common goal to enable more kids to experience Jewish overnight camp and to benefit from all the programming and environment has to offer.

For more than 20 years, the Albert J. Kailes Fund has offered financial support to Oregon residents who wish to attend a Jewish overnight camp in the United States. Given the strong ties between the Oregon Jewish community and its local camps, a significant amount of this financial support goes to kids attending BB Camp and Camp Solomon Schechter.

Since 2015 the OJCF has contributed $14,000 to help increase the granting impact of the teen philanthropy programs at BB Camp and Camp Solomon Schechter. These camp programs have enabled rising 10th graders to learn about philanthropy and responsible grant making. After learning about philanthropy, the teens then make grants to support needs in the communities near their camps – Lincoln City, OR, and Tumwater, WA, respectively.

“Helping the community where BB Camp is located has brought me joy and self-worth,” says Morgan Glickman. “I am thankful for this experience, and it has sparked my interest in philanthropy.”

In addition, Oregon Jewish Community Youth Foundation facilitator Sonia Marie Leikam visits both camps during the summer to provide instruction and curriculum support when needed.

“We are grateful for our partnership with BB Camp and Camp Solomon Schechter in that the foundation can bring a little bit of OJCYF to camp,” says Leikam. “It’s really rewarding to see the reach of OJCYF extend beyond the Portland metropolitan area. Campers who participate in the summer philanthropy program come from cities and towns all around Oregon and Washington, and it feels really good that OJCYF’s curriculum is impacting these teens, even if only for a week.”

The bonds between OJCF, OJCYF and camp run deeper still. Over the years the OJCYF teens have supported programming at BB Camp through their annual grant cycle that follows their fund-raising dinner. OJCYF has made grants to both BB Camp’s Kehila Inclusion program and its day camp for Lincoln City kids.

This season OJCYF’s learning theme is caring for the vulnerable among us. At this year’s annual OJCYF dinner on March 14, the teen board members will spotlight three local nonprofits serving populations in need: BB Camp, Cedar Sinai Park and Jewish Family & Child Service. Representatives of each organization will speak about their deep commitment to supporting needy populations as well as their relationship with OJCYF.

“Camp is one of the few places on the planet where you can rejuvenate and find your true self,” says OJCYF board member Sam Blauer. “We do everything from color wars to teen philanthropy. It always exceeds my expectations. Camp is my sanctuary.”

Gail Mandel is the director of philanthropy at the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation.

OJCYF’s Annual Benefit Dinner

Casino Royale: All in On Our Youth
5:30-8:30 pm, Thursday, March 14
Mittleman Jewish Community Center
6651 SW Capitol Highway Portland
$54 per adult and $36 per youth
Tickets available at ojcf.org


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