Every summer, we, as parents, have to make choices about the experiences that we want for our children. We look at the 12 weeks that our children will not be in school and think “How can I make this time meaningful and fun for my kids?”
There are so many different choices: family vacations, spending time with extended family, staying at home, volunteering, going to work with a parent, going to residential camp and attending day camp.
As a parent and as the J’s Director of Children and Camping, the answer is quite clear to me. Sure, my older child will spend 3.5 weeks at residential camp this summer (Ahhh… I can’t believe he is old enough for that), but the rest of the summer will be spent right here at J Camps. My younger one will be at J Camps all summer.
So let me tell you why I believe that Jewish Day Camp here at the J is the clear choice.
- The friendships: My kids are continuing relationships that they have built over the last three years since we’ve been in Houston. They are getting to see friends they made in preschool who have gone on to other elementary schools; they are building friendships throughout the community that will continue for a lifetime. These friendships will last for my kids, and for yours, way beyond the summer. These relationships that they are forming are part of the bond that they will continue to have with the J and the Jewish community throughout their lifetime.
- Jewish camp addresses the whole camper: Camp teaches confidence, skill-building and socialization. They learn how to manage in a diverse group of peers, and they face new situations and overcome challenges on a daily basis. At Jewish day camp, adult role models and mentors create safe spaces for campers to grapple with complex ideas based on Jewish values, texts and traditions. Jewish camp is thus able to provide balance by creating space for spiritual, emotional and physical growth for campers.
- The options are endless: J Camps provides so many different opportunities for our kids. There are sports, arts, STEM, performing arts, visual art, gymnastics, tennis and more. Campers throughout J Camps get to try new skills like circus or cooking and they get to just have fun and play. Free play is an essential part of growing up, and kids at J Camps are empowered to make their own fun during bunk time or during free swim.
- Speaking of Swimming…SWIMMING: In Judaism, we are commanded to teach our children to swim. Swim lessons, water safety and a general love of the water are essential parts of J Camps. We cherish that time in the pool as a way to cool off, but also as an essential part of the learning that our campers do during camp.
- Jewish experiences shape the Jewish adults these campers will become: There is hard evidence that Jewish informal education, including Jewish day camp, shapes the Jewish future of these campers. Values like tikkun olam (repairing the world), Btzelem Elohim (everyone is created in G-d’s image), kindness, inclusion and more are part of the everyday experiences at J Camps. Campers learn these and practice these at camp. These values are universal, and you do not have to be Jewish to learn and practice them. Campers will make positive connections with Judaism that will help determine the kind of Jewish adults they will be.
To me, it is quite evident why J Camps is the place for my kids and your campers this summer. There are still spaces for all ages for your kids to join us. Register online at erjcchouston.org/camp or call 713.595.8166.