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2017-01-27 digital edition

TODAY in the Jewish World:

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


January 27, 2017  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

At heart of new summer day camp: Community

A new Jewish Community Camp, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, will open this summer.

The day camp, welcoming campers ages 5 through 13, is a community investment project of the Federation. Camp will be held on the campus of Temple B’nai Israel, 1685 S. Belcher Road, Clearwater.

There has not been a Jewish community-sponsored day camp here since the 2014 demise of Camp Kadima, which was under the umbrella of the defunct Suncoast JCC.

Open to children of all backgrounds and religions, there will be three, three-week camp sessions. Session one will be from June 5-23; the second session will be June 26-July 14 and the third session will be July 17-Aug. 4.

“The Jewish Community Camp has ‘community’ at its center,” noted Emilie Socash, Federation executive director. “Campers will build community among themselves. They’ll do service-learning and social action projects that serve our broader community.”

Older campers will have a hand in organizing camp-wide give-back projects, and younger campers will have meaningful hands-on opportunities to make a difference. Projects involving packing backpacks with school supplies for low-income families, writing cards to troops abroad and making care packages for the elderly who are living alone are already being explored.

The Community Camp has established the overarching values of integrity, tenacity, courage, compassion, responsibility, and, of course, community, she said.

Each 3-week session of the camp will offer the traditional trappings of a summer camp experience: swimming several times per week, field trips to local sites, sports and music. Additionally, the camp intends to distinguish itself on the aspects that will speak to today’s campers: a “makerspace” will be home to arts, crafts and scientific creativity, and challenge activities will broaden each camper’s sense of self through activities like rock-climbing, archery and world games.

Young campers will also enjoy an undernight (late night) at camp, and older campers will have an overnight at camp.

“Social action as a component of camp is quite unusual, and as a parent, I know how desirable it is to give our community’s kids a space in which they can have a good time and do good for their community,” said Josh Gamson, the camp’s new director.

Gamson began his work with the community camp on Jan. 1, after the Federation board unanimously approved moving forward with the project in December. Gamson brings with him experience in both Jewish camping and youth education, having held positions of leadership and responsibility at the Union of Reform Judaism (URJ) Six Points Sports Academy, URJ’s Camp Coleman in Georgia, and JCC camp in Atlanta.

Federation President Steve Klein said the board was excited to get behind this project, which could have far-reaching impact. “A project like this gives the families in our community another option for how their kids spend their summers, and the idea of bringing together children from the entirety of the region is something that we know there is a need for.”

There may be another silver lining as well. “All profits from the camp will be distributed back to our area synagogues,” Socach said.

Children can attend any number of sessions, with each session priced at $795 per child or with a discounted price of $2,120 if a child attends all sessions. Camper siblings receive a 10 percent discount.

Transportation from Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg and Temple Ahavat Shalom in Palm Harbor will be available for an additional fee of $75 per 3-week session, per camper, and before and after care is also available.

For full information on session dates and rates, financial assistance and for instructions on registration, visit

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