J Camps opens in a few short weeks. We are getting excited about everything that we have to offer this summer, and we cannot wait to welcome you and your children.
One of the many things that makes J Camps special is the diverse population of our campers and staff. The world that we live in is ever-changing, and the needs of our campers and staff constantly evolve. The social and emotional well-being of our campers and staff is as important to us as their physical safety here at camp.
Last summer we contracted with a psychologist on a part-time basis to help us on this front and felt that even though the help was limited, it made an important impact.
In Pirkei Avot 1:17, it is written “It is not what one says, but rather what one does, that makes a difference.” This summer, by building upon what we started last summer, we are making a strong statement and putting our passion for inclusion into action by hiring a full-time Inclusion Specialist as part of the J Camps leadership team.
This specialist will provide social support services to our campers and families and be an important resource for our J Camp counselors and camp directors to address struggles that may arise. This specialist will also facilitate the inclusion of campers who need special accommodations during the summer.
J Camps and the Children and Camping Committee are doing what we know is best for our entire J Camps community by making inclusion and the social-emotional well-being of our campers a top priority.
Please join us in welcoming Asmait Gebrekristos, LCSW to the J Camps team. Ms. Gebrekistros is a clinical social worker with experience in leading school-wide social emotional learning programs. She has a master’s degree in Social Work from Boston College and B.A. in International Relations from Mount Holyoke College. Before becoming a social worker, she coordinated youth summer programs for several non-profit organizations. We are very excited to have her join the J Camps leadership team.
When we include a diverse population in our camps, campers and staff learn acceptance of people different than themselves and that all people have different abilities. This summer’s Judaics theme is Love Thy Neighbor, and the theme will manifest itself throughout the different camps over the summer.
I am so excited that we picked this theme this summer, and I cannot think of a better way to help our campers learn and express kindness and the inclusion of others. Love Thy Neighbor will be discussed in learning sessions during camp, campers will be rewarded when they are seen doing something kind, and the value of kindness will permeate the Shabbat and Havdalah experiences throughout the different camps. Our Inclusion Specialist will work throughout the summer to help staff and campers love thy neighbors.