S’more Camp News


Hello and welcome to the Fall 2016 edition of S’more Camp News!

Grant Opportunities

It’s never too early to start thinking about ways to help your camp for summer 2017!

ACA Grant Opportunities

Check out the ACA website for a variety of grants you may want to apply for.  Options include environmental projects, athletic programs, healthcare donations, and more.


The Walmart Foundation awards a range of grants, focusing on the areas of opportunity, sustainability, and community.


The Kars4Kids Small Grant Program aims to make a difference in the areas of education and youth development.

Two Ways to Visit Israel for Free!

Birthright Israel Trips Registration

We are excited to announce two separate Birthright trips to Israel, catered to two groups of JCC staff.

Jewish Professionals Trip: Applicants can be year-round professional staff ages 22-29, from any JCC or JCCA affiliated camp, as well as any young Jewish professionals at any Jewish organization! This Birthright trip is targeted to an older demographic and has an added professional development component that will help participants bridge the experiences they have in Israel with the work they do back in North America. JCC Association’s Joy Brand-Richardson will be one of the staff people on this trip.

Camp Staff Trip: This birthright trip is for 18-26 year old Jewish staff from any JCCA affiliated day or overnight camp. In its third year, the camp staff bus is a powerful, life-changing program that provides an additional layer of thinking about how to bring Israel back to camp. Past participants have had the time of their lives, exploring Israel with camp friends new and old. The camp birthright trip is a wonderful way for camp staff to bond with each other, connect to Israel, and return to camp with a greater knowledge and understanding of Israeli culture. Applicants can use code “JCC Camps” in their referral on the application. This trip is staffed by year-round JCC Camp professionals.

Job Openings

Camp Director, Sid Jacobson JCC, East Hills, NY. More info

Assistant Camp Director, Sid Jacobson JCC, East Hills, NY. More info

Assistant Director of Camper and Staff Life, Mandel JCC, Beachwood, OH. More info

Camp Shai & Youth Programs Assistant Director, Robert E. Loup JCC, Denver, CO. More info

Assistant Camp Director, Harry and Rose Samson Family JCC, Milwaukee, WI. More info

Director of Youth Services, JCC of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN. More info

Assistant Director of Youth and Camping, Dave & Mary Alper JCC, Miami, FL. More info

If you have other JCC Camp openings to share, please email agrassel@jcca.org.

Tivnu Partnership & Scholarship Opportunity

The Tivnu Gap Year program is nine months of hands-on Jewish social justice engagement. Participants live together, create community, discover the Pacific Northwest, and explore connections between Jewish life and social justice with their heads, hands, and hearts.

What does the new partnership between the JCC Association and the Tivnu Gap Year mean for you and the kids who have grown up at your camp?

  • The Tivnu gap year launches high school grads into the Jewish world – and back to the camp where they grew up – with hands-on skills to make a difference for good.
  • Tivnu is doing the kind of staff development that is challenging to accomplish during camp. Participants turn inspiration into action with a personalized set of social justice internships all over the city of Portland, Oregon. They finish nine months understanding their responsibility to their community as well as to their world.
  • What is more helpful than learning a little “adulting” as a camp counselor or specialist? Learning to create their diverse Jewish home, delving into complex social justice issues in a Jewish context, and creating unforgettable experiences they can share with camp friends and campers.
  • Plus, they go camping, rafting, hiking, skiing, and road-tripping in the great Pacific Northwest!

Exceptional camper or staff alumni of JCC Association camps can become JCC Association/Tivnu Fellows, earning one of three $5000 scholarships to the program. The Fellow application deadline is January 1, but all alumni of JCC Association-affiliated camps will receive a $1000 scholarship at any time. Additional need-based tuition assistance is available.

Learn more about Tivnu through this participant blog, this article in Tablet magazine or through our videoFor more details, email Executive Director Steve@Tivnu.org or call 502-232-1864.

Please use the description below to spread the word to your young staff:

Seeking adventurous high school graduates for the Tivnu Gap Year program, a nine month hands-on Jewish social justice engagement gap year program in Portland, OR!

Apply now for priority consideration as a JCC Association/Tivnu Fellow, including scholarships, internship placements, and tuition assistance.

Find out more about the JCC Association/Tivnu partnership (including $5000 scholarship), different Tivnu: Building Justice internship options, and potential additional tuition assistance: On our website, on Facebook, iTablet Magazine, through our video, or contact  Steve@Tivnu.org(503) 232-1864

Keeping Up to Date

It’s time to refresh those countdown clocks on your camp websites for summer 2017! We are also working on updating our camp website, jcccamps.org. We try our best to stay current, but the best way is for each camp to update your own page with any necessary changes. Please use this form to let us know what changes to make.

Campfire Story

Not Your Typical Day at Camp

jason-proposal  While every summer at camp is filled with memorable moments, there are some moments that stand out as truly special. Camp JCA Shalom had a magical Shabbat this summer, when a past counselor returned to camp to propose to his camp love. Jason and Elana met a few years ago, while both spending their summer at JCA Shalom as British camp staff and have been dating ever since. They were so inspired by their Jewish summer camp experience, that they joined together to create Jewish Camps USA (JCUSA), a company that places British Jewish staff in JCC camps, and is JCC Association’s official partner for camp staff in the UK. This past summer, JCUSA sent over 140 British Jews to camps across the US. This summer, while visiting camps, Jason and Elana had an extra special visit to their home camp, JCA Shalom. Jason proposed to Elana at camp, with the help of the entire JCA Shalom family! As the whole camp linked arms in their weekly Shabbat circle before dinner, a few staff members laid out rose petals leading Elana into the circle, towards Jason. Camp director Joel Charnick described the scene: “Jason, eyes full of tears, got down on one knee and popped the question!  Screams of joy were heard all around the ball field.  We all were part of the celebration.” The proposal was followed by a special dinner, complete with decorations, a sweetheart table for the couple, and sparkling grape juice for everyone. This was surely a night everyone at camp will remember for years to come.

Welcome to New JCC Camp Staff

Congratulations to everyone on completing your first summer in your new roles!


Engagement Idea of the Month

Each newsletter we will be featuring a unique way that a camp connects to campers or staff so that we can spread great ideas.

Idea: Stay connected to your campers year-round by honoring their B’nei Mitzvot with a gift or complimentary JCC membership.

Here is a sample certificate from the Cherry Hill JCC:


Upcoming Events

  • Overnight Camps Fall Conference, September 26-29, 2016
  • JCamp 180 Annual Conference, Nov. 6-7, 2016
  • Webinar: Effectively Confronting Non-Performance, Diana Bloom, a follow up to Bloom’s session at the Overnight Camps Fall Conference, Nov. 15, 2016 2 pm EST (registrants do not have to have been at our Fall Overnight Conference)
  • ACA Tristate Camp Conference, March 13-16, 2017
  • Professional Conference, March 19-22, 2017
  • JAFI Shlichim Interviews, Jan. 22-25
  • JAFI Summer Shlichim Seminar
    • Day Camp Seminar, April 24-27
    • Overnight Camp Seminar, April 26-30