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The Case for Camp: Why Should Your Child Attend Camp Yofi? The Benefits are Amazing!
April 15, 2013
Our Camp Yofi traditonal day camp gives your child the opportunity to learn many life skills in a fun camp environment. Woven into the fabric of art activities, swimming lessons, special events, field trips, Color Wars, Jewish values, and much more are valuable life skills that will help your child be productive throughout his/ her life.
The camp experience enriches lives and changes the world.
Camp provides children with a community of caring adults, who nurture experiential education that results in self-respect and appreciation for human value. All of the outcomes — self-identity, self-worth, self-esteem, leadership, and self-respect — build personal competencies. These personal competencies are reflected in the four "C's" of the camp community: compassion, contribution, commitment, and character! For years, campers' parents have reported that when their children return home from camp they are more caring, understand the importance of giving, are more equipped to stand up for what they know is right, and are willing to be more responsible. These are the qualities that will help build a successful nation and a civil society.
Change is a part of life. It is often directly related to survival and can enrich one's life in ways unexpected. Childhood is in essence a time of profound change and development. It is exciting and disquieting at the same time. When it comes to our children, we need to be sure that change is made for the better.We've concentrated so much on the brain, we forget about the rest of our bodies. This change in focus has led to an obesity rate that is unacceptable. Our kids are not as healthy as the generation before. Families used to live in a community. We've lost that, keeping kids inside and losing a sense of neighborhood.
Add to that the fact that our kids stand to inherit all the economic, social, and environmental challenges we've created, and the legacy we have left our children and youth begins to look bleak. So, how do we prepare our children with the skills and more importantly, the competencies they will need to tackle changes in our world? We could start with a positive camp experience. A quality camp experience provides our children with the opportunity to learn powerful lessons in community, character-building, skill development, and healthy living — a meaningful, engaged, and participatory environment.
Camp promotes community. It creates this great space that shows kids how to live together and care for one another. There are norms and negotiation of boundaries; there are rules. Camp is a place where kids can "practice" growing up stretching their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive muscles outside the context of their immediate family. This is what childhood is supposed to provide.
Camp teaches critical thinking. We need to remember how important it is to be actively involved in the learning process, and camp affords that. We're going to need really strong problem solvers in the next century. We need the science, math, and biology, but without the ability to relate, connect, empathize, or inspire innovation, how will our kids be able to make a difference in the challenges now facing us?
The camp experience embraces the natural environment. While children have fewer and fewer opportunities to be outdoors, the camp experience advances the outdoor learning environment. As we become more concerned about saving the planet, we run out and make DVDs and videos about it. But the environment needs to be experienced to be appreciated. Kids need to catch tadpoles in the creek, wander among the trees, and feel the sun on their faces to understand the importance of those things. What happens to a generation that may grow up not seeing stars in the dark of the night?
Camp creates future leaders. The camp experience offers kids a close-up look at compassionate leadership through the camp director, counselors, resident nutritionist, and other camp personnel. And kids get loads of opportunities to practice being a leader themselves — song leader, lunch table leader, team captain, the list goes on and on.
Camp is an equal opportunity life changer. It addresses universal childhood needs not specific to a particular racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic group. Nobody is left out. It's all about childhood development.
Camp has a lasting impact. One of the greatest gifts you can give a child is a sense of success and achievement. Camp teaches kids how to be active participants, ask questions, ask for help, and try new things. They leave understanding that it's okay to feel a little uncomfortable sometimes, because that's generally what happens when you're getting ready to learn something. The camp experience translates back in real-world experience — in an "I can" attitude.
We need to advocate for our young people. We should promote opportunities for kids — give them camp experiences that serve as an antidote for the world's challenges. We need to recognize this is not a series of frivolous activities. We often think if it looks like fun it must be unimportant, but "fun" is a young person's "work" — to learn, to grow, to be productive, creative, and happy. If they don't do that work, they won't turn into healthy adults.
Camp LJCC Has A Tremendously Successful 2012 and Planning Begins for Summer 2013
August 28, 2012
Camp LJCC has enjoyed another highly successful season. In addition to “having lots of fun”, our campers made new friends, improved athletic and swimming skills, created art masterpieces, explored the great outdoors, developed self-reliance, made worthwhile contributions to the camp community, and learned to be their best.
New friends: Every year, we have a few campers from out of town who are visiting relatives in Birmingham for couple of weeks. The first summer they come to camp is a little scary. They don’t know anyone! But by the end of their camp experience, they are exchanging email addresses and planning to come back the next summer. We have campers that come every summer for as long as they are age eligible.
Improved athletic and swimming: Day camp swim lessons are one of our top priorities! 154 swim level patches were earned by campers as a result of these lessons. Here are some of our success stories: A boy in the fourth grade learned to dive for the first time after trying to master this skill for two summers. Another younger swimmer came to camp on the first day literally shaking with fear. By the end of the seventh week, she was jumping off the diving boards and swimming to the side unassisted. A camper in the second grade did not like to go swimming on the weekends with his family because his siblings and parents always wanted to go off the diving boards. He was too scared. This summer we got him in the deep water and jumping off the boards himself.
Creating masterpieces: Our art instructor, Ms. Judy, is entering quite a few of the campers’ art works into a national contest called Celebrating Art. They choose the top 25 % in the nation to be published in a book. They also choose the top 10 for each grade category. Our summer day camp will be submitting some still-life drawings, weavings, batik owls, mandalas, paper mache animal masks, and hand designs. We will let you know how we fare in the contest! It could be so exciting for the children to get published in a book!
Exploring the great outdoors: Our Hiking and Camping Specialty Camp is in its fourth year. Each year the campers learn outdoor skills such as establishing a campsite, building a campfire, setting up a tent, packing a backpack, and learning what to do if they get lost. Many of the campers have never had a camping-out opportunity before. And this is the beginning of a lifelong love! These campers become future “guardians of the earth” which is one of the Jewish values that is so very important to us now.
Contributions to community – food drive: Each summer, Camp LJCC helps the Collat Jewish Family Services Food Closet by asking the campers to contribute non-perishable food items for a camp food drive. You should have seen the before pictures with empty shelves and then the after photo with the shelves overflowing! The campers were really proud to have excelled at this mitzvah (good deed)!
Be their best: This year we instituted a new program encouraging campers to be a mensch called the Ruach program. Staff looked for campers “doing something nice” while no one was watching. We caught the campers doing things like: turning in money they found, helping others when they got hurt, encouraging their friends to keep trying a new skill, picking up trash, and sacrificing their turn to help someone else. The campers were recognized for their “random acts of kindness.”
We are already planning for next summer with lots of new ideas for Camp LJCC 2013, so be looking for details throughout the year!
The J is a place where people of all faiths and communities come together for wellness of mind, body and soul.