Source: eJewish Philanthropy
Abigail Pickus reports on the recently issued strategic plan of The Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) which surveys the last few years and focuses on the strategic direction for the next five years (2011-2016) with the goals of increasing affordability; fostering greater connections between camps and Jewish schools, communities and synagogues; increasing awareness and creating innovative programming.
Thanks to a more advanced and accurate system of data collection launched in 2006, FJC estimates that between 2006-2010, over 139,000 children in North America experienced overnight Jewish summer camp with enrollment figures trending upward until the economic crisis in 2008-2009, when enrollment stabilized. According to the plan, this is in marked contrast to private camps, which have seen an overall decrease of 10% during the same period.
The high price tag for Jewish summer camp, which averages $1230/week, is a significant deterrent for many families. FJC works to offset costs through incentive programs such as the One Happy Camper program (OHC), which supplies first-year campers with a need-blind financial incentive grant and the JWest Campership program that awards financial incentives to first-time campers entering 6th, 7th, or 8th grade.
Incentive programs have brought 24,000+ new campers to Jewish summer camp over the last five years. Without these incentives, 55% of these new campers would have stayed home or attended a non-Jewish summer experience, according to the plan.
Future goals for FJC include increasing camp enrollment by 25%, increasing camper retention rate from 75% to 80%, opening more camps and training more staff. To achieve these goals they seek to increase their annual program revenue from $15M to $20M.
The plan also references recent studies in the Jewish world that show a direct link between Jewish summer camps and an increased involvement and commitment to Jewish life, practice and leadership roles within the Jewish world.