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  • SummerCamp

    Supplement to Jewish News February 11, 2013

  • 34 | Jewish News | Camp | February 11, 2013

    One day they will be applying to the same universities.

    A Jewish Camping Tradition


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  • Februray 11, 2013 | Camp | Jewish News | 35

    Changing choices of camp

    Jewish News staff

    With down jackets and

    mismatched mittens

    spilling from our hall

    closets, summer seems

    like a long, long, way off.

    Its not though; for most of our chil-

    dren, school is almost two-thirds over.

    Which means we need to begin thinking,

    NOW, about summer camp.

    Todays camps arent like those of 50,

    30, or even 10 years ago. There are so

    many more considerations in 2013, with

    our technologically connected world that

    straddles the line between safety and

    interference, communication and com-

    pulsion, and our smarter and savvier


    Do we want to send our kids to a

    camp that has few modern, technological

    amenitiescabins with outside

    showers and a brackish lake for

    swimming? (Will they even attend

    a camp like that?) Or would hotel

    camp or school camp be pre-

    ferred? Day or residential? Close

    or far?

    If camp rules require kids to

    leave their cellphones, games and

    Facebook friends at home, but has

    classes in computer video editing

    and a way for you to catch glimps-

    es of them online, would theyor

    youconsider it? Will sending kids

    to a Jewish camp make a differ-

    ence to them, or does it just matter

    to parents?

    In this special Summer Camp sec-

    tion of the Jewish News, we gain insight

    into camps that are banning electronic

    gadgets but embracing technology, and

    we learn about donors and funds set up

    to help offset the costs of Jewish camps

    (FYIthe Simon Family JCC Camp has

    some scholarships available).

    This is the first of two special Summer

    Camp sections coming your way. Keep

    an eye out for the next one, in the March

    25 issue of the Jewish News. That issue

    will include our annual camp guide,

    which will provide local and national

    camp listings and contact information,

    along with some suggestions on getting

    ready for and choosing a summer camp.

    Let the camp songs begin!


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    Photo courtesy Camp Airy

  • 36 | Jewish News | Camp | February 11, 2013

    Going iphone-lessCamps trying to ban gadgetswhile embracing technology

    by Chavie Lieber

    NEW YORK (JTA)At a Jewish summer

    camp in upstate New York, theyre giving

    kids digital filmmaking classes and telling

    them to leave their Nintendo Game Boys

    at home. In Georgia, a camp is encourag-

    ing face time with video pen pals rather

    than time on iPods. In Wisconsin, a camp

    has traded snail mail for scanned mail.

    As technology oozes into every facet

    of childrens lives, Jewish summer camps

    are struggling with how to wean kids off

    their gadgetsat least for the summer

    while using technology to improve the

    camp experience.

    Once upon a time, kids were playing

    cards at night, but camp is a very dif-

    ferent place than it was 40 years ago,

    says Rabbi Paul Resnick, director of the

    Conservative-affiliated Camp Ramah in

    the Berkshires in Wingdale, N.Y. Camps

    need to keep up and evolve since technol-

    ogy keeps changing on us.

    Many camps now have rules banning

    gadgets such as cell phones, tablets,

    laptop computers, iPods and gaming

    devices. Bnai Briths Beber Camp

    in Mukwonago, Wis., has a no-screen

    policy.Camp Morasha in Lakewood, Pa.,

    bans any device that can connect to the


    But at the same time, camps are

    using technologies to their advantage:

    live streaming events so parents back

    home can watch, using digital

    programs to teach Hebrew,

    uploading photos to the

    Internet and replacing scan-

    ning with snail mail to

    instantly send the chil-

    drens letters to their


    Camps are

    evolving as they

    try to figure out

    how to toe the

    line between

    enhancing their pro-

    grams with technology

    while giving kids a rustic camp

    experience, Resnick says.

    Policies we implement one summer

    could be totally different from the next

    because we are still trying to see what

    works, Resnick says. If you would have

    asked me three years ago if Id ever let

    staff use cell phones in camp, Id say

    absolutely not. But last year we started

    telling staff to text as a way of commu-

    nication in camp, and its actually really


    As a way to appeal to campers seeking

    a more digital camp experience, Ramah

    in the Berkshires recently added digital

    filmmaking to its

    electives alongside

    traditional camp

    activities such as

    arts and crafts,

    cooking and nature


    Jodi Fleisig of

    Atlanta, whose two

    sons attend Camp

    Ramah Darom

    in Clayton, Ga.,

    says live stream-

    ing of the camps

    Havdalah service was a highlight

    of her summer. Through its

    Facebook page, Ramah Dorom

    invited parents and alumni to

    celebrate the end of Shabbat

    virtually alongside campers sing-

    ing by candlelight.

    Watching my son during

    the live Havdalah service was

    like watching him through a

    peepholegiving him the

    freedom and independence

    I want him to have

    while still getting

    to see him look so

    free, so happy and so engaged,

    says Fleisig, who hosted a viewing party

    at her home for the service. Its amazing

    to see your normally shy kids who dont

    sing, dont dance, literally come alive at


    Technology can be a wonderful vehi-

    cle to watch your kids grow, and to know

    that they are getting out of the camp

    experience what you were hoping they

    would gain without interfering with their


    Ramah Darom is looking into other

    programs to live stream this summer,

    including the camp play.

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    Photo courtesy Camp Airy

  • Februray 11, 2013 | Camp | Jewish News | 37

    At Beber Camp, parents can connect

    through anapp created last summer by

    staffer Brad Robison that gives parents

    access to camp videos, social media, sched-

    ules and activities. Beber also uses a web

    management company, CampMinder, to

    enable kids to write letters home that are

    then digitally scanned and uploaded to a

    portal parents access through the camp

    website. A unique barcode on the back

    of each letter ensures that it goes to the

    right account


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