Nostalgia about summer traditions notwithstanding, Jewish camps have changed dramatically from a generation ago. Camp’s value for Jewish education and identity-building is now a major focus of communal attention. Major Jewish foundations, federations and organizations are investing heavily in the sector.
Many camps have become more intentional about incorporating Jewish learning, Shabbat and Israel into their programming. They’ve also evolved to meet families’ changing expectations and demands: offering a wider range of choices of all kinds (from food to activity to session length); providing more frequent updates and communications to parents; accommodating numerous medical requirements and allergies; and placing greater emphasis on safety and security.
At the same time, the Jewish camping field is becoming more professionalized. The job of camp director has been shifting from a seasonal gig to year-round career, and counselors are receiving more intensive training.
With all this change in the Jewish camp world, here are 10 specific trends we have noticed:
- Shorter sessions
- Specialized programs
- Healthier food
- More affordable options
- Broadening definition of camp
- Day camps brought into the tent
- Inclusion of children with disabilities
- Year-round programming
- Family camp
- Pew-fueled camp enthusiasm
Read more at JTA.