By Rabbi Nathan Weiner
JCC Camps at Medford Committee Member, Katz JCC Board of Directors
Part Two of our Summer 2020 CAMPaign.
Whenever a guest visits the bus yard of JCC Camps at Medford in the morning, I encourage them to breathe in the vibrant Jewish future, evidenced by the throngs of Jewish campers and staff coming together in joyful anticipation of the day ahead.
JCC camping was a big part of my life as a child. During rabbinical school, I interned at Congregation Beth Tikvah (where I am now the rabbi) and worked in the summers at JCC Medford’s Gesher/LIT program. I immediately fell in love with camp. It is my happy place, and it is through camp that I came to really understand and appreciate the South Jersey Jewish community. The JCC Camps at Medford is THE place where our community comes together as one. No matter the synagogue, denomination, affiliation, status, ability, all are welcomed, and all are celebrated. We all wait all year to get back to this decidedly JEWISH space. What more could I, a rabbi, ask for?
Clergy from across our community visit camp each summer, connecting campers’ and staff’s summer experiences to their congregational experiences. We see how camp supports our missions and our values. And now, we all need to support camp more than ever before. To ensure that our community continues to have a thriving Jewish summer camp for our children, we need to support camp financially.
While camp has cut spending at this time, you may be wondering why so many expenses have been incurred prior to the summer starting, and why camp needs our help. Here are just some of the ways that money is spent in preparation for the summer:
- Professional Staff Salaries – Our year-round professional staff members work all year to plan an amazing summer experience. They have already taken pay cuts while still working above and beyond their regular hours, and the Katz JCC has laid off 60% of its workforce.
- Site Maintenance & Utilities – Our gorgeous 120-acre site requires ongoing maintenance and upkeep.
- Recruitment – Our professional staff go to camp fairs and community events across the region to talk about camp, meet with families, and recruit the next generation of Medford Campers.
- Marketing – Our marketing team works directly with our camp team to create eye-catching and engaging marketing materials.
- Program Planning & Supplies – From the day camp ends, we are already thinking about program improvements for the following summer. Throughout the entire offseason, our team is planning and purchasing supplies for summer programming.
Though there will be no in-person traditional full camp this summer at the JCC Camps at Medford, we hold camp in our hearts, and we need to work together as a community so that camp is here for decades to come. Camp is always in my heart, and I look forward to returning, G-d willing, with you and your children, next summer.
To make a donation to help sustain the JCC Camps at Medford, please click here.