January 2019 Camp Newsletter Highlights

By JCC Camps at Medford


Happy New Year!

It always amazes us how quickly things fly by as soon as the calendar turns to a new year!  2019 has come and we are so excited for all of our upcoming events, camp fairs, open houses, tours, and more.  Summer 2019 will be here before you know it.  We are happy to keep you up to date on a number of exciting things we have going on in the camp office.

Happy New Year!

Beth, Sara, and Jared


CAMP STAFF HIGHLIGHT: Mitch Canter climbing the heights!

One of the most exciting things about summer camp is the opportunity to try new things, especially those outside of your comfort zone.  Our Ropes Director, Mitch Canter, helps ensure each summer that hundreds of campers get to climb, zip, and jump their way to new heights.  Our adventure area is one of the most popular activity areas of camp, and Mitch does an amazing job of training his staff, ensuring camper safety, and helping campers have a blast!

Mitch is a full-time Associate Professor of Communication at Mercer County Community College and coordinates the college’s Communication and Radio programs.  He earned his B.A. at Thomas Edison State University and his M.S. at Full Sail University.  He also conducts workshops on Communication and Presentation Skills for Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education and is a part time on-air personality at 107.1 The Boss, a classic rock radio station in Monmouth County.

Mitch came to the JCC Camps in Medford in the summer of 2002 to take charge of the Things That Go specialty in camp Aaron.  After 2 successful seasons running Things That Go, Mitch took a season off.  He returned in 2005, this time to direct the Ropes course.  Over the years the campers’ challenges at the Ropes course have expanded and so has the Ropes course staff.  Mitch supervises an average of 17 Ropes specialists each season.  He says there are two distinct connections to camp that he loves.  When it comes to the campers that come to participate in Ropes, Mitch enjoys watching campers conquering their fear and stepping out of their comfort zone.  Whether its campers climbing a high ropes element that seems scary to them, or an individual stepping up to lead a bunk of peers in a low ropes team challenge, he loves seeing that sense of accomplishment manifest in a camper.  Second, Mitch values the team building among his staff.  Every season the Ropes staff is comprised of a slightly different mix of people: new staff, returning staff, a diverse combination of personalities.  Every season, they build a team mentality that not only serves the campers well, but builds bonds across the staff that extend beyond camp.  Ask Mitch about the Ropes course and he’ll always tell you, it’s not just the unique challenges that makes the Ropes course successful; it’s the Ropes staff that encourage and support the campers as they take on those challenges.



Each winter and spring, we attend a number of local camp fairs and events, as well as our own Open Houses.  We love when current campers stop by and visit.  Bring a friend who is interested in camp to one of these events and get a pair of camp sunglasses.  We hope to see you there!

  • Sunday, January 20, 10-2 ~ Philadelphia Family Camp Fair at the Franklin Institute
  • Sunday, January 20, 12-4 ~ South Jersey Mom’s Camp Expo at the Moorestown Mall
  • Saturday, February 2, 11:30-3 ~ Moorestown Friends School Camp Fair
  • Saturday, February 9, 12-7:30 and Sunday, February 10, 12-7:30 ~ Tabling at Regal Cinemas at the Moorestown Mall
  • Saturday, February 23, 12-4 ~ South Jersey Mom’s Camp Expo at the Cherry Hill Mall
  • Sunday, March 17, 11-2 ~ Camp Open House at JCC Camps at Medford!
  • Sunday, April 14, 11-2 ~ Camp Open House at JCC Camps at Medford!



Each month we will be bringing you a new question…some to help us grow as a camp, and some just for fun!  For December:

Is your child a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation camper?  Please let us know what generation they are and which relatives have attended camp!

Email Sara Sideman, Associate Camp Director, at ssideman@jfedsnj.org.



We are excited to introduce a new partnership with MAPLEWOODSHOP!  We have ordered one of their amazing woodworking carts and their extensive curriculum to bring new and exciting hands-on projects to Camp Aaron.  Additionally, Camp Shalom will have Woodworking as a club for the first time, utilizing hand tools and project design.

Check out more about Maplewoodshop HERE!



Dugma, the Hebrew word for role model, is a standard that we hold all of our counselors to each summer at the JCC Camps at Medford.  We love watching our counselors grow and develop as professionals, many of whom eventually become advocates, case managers, division heads, and more.

For Summer 2019, we are SO excited to be rolling out our new DUGMA FELLOWSHIP.  The goal of the JCC Camps at Medford Dugma Fellowship is to build a team of dedicated, enthusiastic counselors to serve as camp leaders and role models for younger camp staff and campers.  We want to build our future leadership team from within!

Participants in this prestigious program will participate in additional leadership training, weekly lunches with the directors, and as orientation leaders and more!



A few weeks ago, Sara and Beth attended 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 and staff.  We are excited to be armed with more tools to help us with this.

You can learn more about the training HERE.



As you may know, our Open Hearts/ Open Doors program is subsidized by the Saltzman Foundation and supported by a fundraiser called Broadway Live! Through these two revenue streams we are proud to offer the needed support to our campers with special needs without passing the additional expense of advocates, case managers, directors and supplies along to our families. Camp tuition would almost double for campers with special needs without these funds.

We are excited to announce that this is our 10th anniversary for Broadway Live! and we will be celebrating in style. We were able to secure the rights to Fiddler on the Roof and the Cherry Hill School District has agreed to partner with us, making Cherry Hill West available to us as our venue. Ben Lipitz, a Cherry Hill native, camp alum, and Pumba in both the Broadway and national touring companies of The Lion King, who has been our producer for the past 10 years is putting together a star studded cast.  This will be a Broadway production customized for our community! Mark your calendar for Monday May 13, 2019.

For this event to be a success, we need your help and there are many ways to get involved. Consider joining the Broadway Live! committee as we will need the additional support for such a large undertaking. Assist in selling ads, take out an ad yourself and help expand the Playbill. Help sell tickets to the show by sharing email groups you are part of and bring your family and friends. Volunteer on the night of the event because we will need more ushers, back stage help and ticker takers. Make a donation.  You can even make one today HERE.

We are counting on our camp community to support this amazing event and keep our Open Hearts/ Open Doors program strong. For more information or to get involved please reach out to Beth Segal at Bsegal@jfedsnj.org.