By Deborah Frey
JCC Camps at Medford Committee Member, Vice President, Katz JCC Board of Directors
Part Five of our Summer 2020 CAMPaign.
In 2011, we moved to Haddonfield, NJ, from Pittsburgh, knowing only a handful of people in the area. After touring local preschools and the Katz JCC, we decided to enroll our then three-year-old in Early Childhood Camp at the JCC. From the moment we arrived in the building for the Kitty Cats, our South Jersey existence would be changed forever. Our daughter, Abigail, stayed at the JCC for preschool, through full-day Kindergarten, and our younger son, Alexander (“Zanny”), followed in her footsteps. During the early years living here, we spent nearly every Saturday at the JCC in the Imaginarium or at the pool and met many of our friends there, fueling on coffee and trying to squeeze in a work out whenever possible. When the kids turned five, we transitioned them over to JCC Camps at Medford. I still remember the kids’ excitement of being able to ride on a school bus, since Haddonfield Schools do not have busing, coupled with nerves about meeting new children and having a new experience. It turns out that the bus might be their favorite part of the camp experience – the songs, the bus counselor, and for our son, his favorite nap time to this day (at age 10)!
I guess for us, the JCC has turned into a home away from home. Each summer, summer after summer, our kids reunite with friends from the past and make new friends. At JCC Camps at Medford, they have learned independence, acceptance of others, and Tikkun Olam, values that are not just Jewish, but are core values that we seek to instill in our kids at home. Throughout the summer, I hear about popsicles, lost bathing suits and towels, swim cap colors and levels, and every amazing activity that the kids do each day. By the end of the summer, I hear about life-long friendships, helping campers in the Open Hearts/ Open Doors program get to daily activities and sharing their experiences together, and about how they cannot wait for next summer to come. And now, we are already counting the days to Summer 2021. The JCC Camps at Medford needs our help, more than ever before, to ensure that Summer 2021 can happen.
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.
Please consider a donation to the JCC Camps at Medford so that camp can continue to create these amazing summer opportunities for our children year after year.
To make a donation to help sustain the JCC Camps at Medford, please click here.