Just like our campers spend their off-season from camp in school, our team at the JCC Camps at Medford spends the winter months learning how to continue to be the best summer day camp we can be! We love any opportunity to learn the newest trends in the camping industry, share ideas with colleagues from other camps, and hear from experts in our field.
This year, we have had a number of really exciting opportunities that we wanted to share with all of you, and we have even more opportunities planned for this spring!
In November, Sara and Beth joined other Jewish summer camps from across the country at the Grinspoon Foundation’s JCAMP 180 conference. In addition to a focus on fundraising and development, we learned about new marketing strategies, ways to infuse camp with PJ Library, and how to create special, memorable moments for campers and staff.
In December, we had two opportunities to meet with other JCC camps in the tristate area. At NJYU, we encountered Maplewoodshop, a phenomenal new woodworking program that we are bringing to camp this summer to enhance Camp Aaron’s woodworking program…and an exciting new club for Camp Shalom!
Also this month, we attended a regional JCC conference in Margate. While there, we had an opportunity to learn about effective communication from the Comedy Sportz improv group in Philadelphia, as well as spend time with our camp director colleagues from across the Northeast. We had a ton of time to program share and walked away with some great ideas.
This week, Sara and Beth are attending a Youth Mental Health First Aid course. Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent who is experiencing a mental health challenge. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. We believe that, as summer camp professionals, the most important part of our role is ensuring the physical, mental and emotional well-being of our campers. We are excited to be armed with more tools to help us with this.
In February, Sara will be attending the JCC Association’s Professional Conference in Orlando. In addition to sessions on staff training, bringing more Israel programming to camp, and making first impressions, Sara will be presenting our Fall Festival to camp directors from across the country for replication!
One of our favorite weeks of the year comes in March, when our whole team heads to the American Camping Association Conference! There, we get to learn about all of the latest products and activities…and it is in that vendor hall that we find some of our favorite new items for camp!
And finally in April, Beth will be heading to Israel to be a part of shlichim training through the Jewish Agency. We are particularly excited that both Stav and Orel are planning to come back this summer!
As you can see, we are taking advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow as professionals and camp directors. We can’t wait to share all of our new ideas with you for Summer 2019!