S’more JCC Camp News



As we head into another camp season, JCC Association is very excited to welcome Aaron Greenberg onto the camp team as the senior consultant for day camp initiatives. He might be a familiar face to some of you who have met him in his role as director of JCC Camps at Medford. Aaron will begin consulting this summer, and will come on board as a full time day camp consultant this fall.

Aaron has a wealth of experience running the excellent JCC Camps at Medford, part of the Milton and Betty Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, NJ, which he has been doing since 1999. Under his leadership, JCC Camps at Medford has earned national recognition for excellence in leadership and management. Aaron has been a Mandel Center for Jewish Education TAG Team presenter, and has conducted professional and lay leader training seminars at JCC Association’s track at the American Camp Association’s Tri-State Conference and at JCCs of North America Professional Conference and Biennial. He has a Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania and earned his bachelor’s degree at Brandeis University.

We know that you’ll enjoy working with Aaron and will appreciate the depth of commitment he brings to the position.

Hiring Aaron has increased the number of our professional consultants and strengthens our work in Jewish camping, but it is not the only change we’ve made to ensure camps continue to offer the highest quality experiences to their campers with the help of our expertise and guidance.

Jodi Sperling, who has been living in Israel, will be working in the United States and Canada this summer and into the Fall, overseeing and focusing her efforts on our vision and strategy for overnight camps as our senior consultant on overnight camps. As the previous vice president of JCC Association’s camping services, Jodi authored “The Complete Guide to Jewish Day Camp,” Jodi is well-versed in this area and will be doing some of our day camp visits as well. Jodi has a thorough understanding of Jewish camp from her own experiences as a camp director and hopes to see all of our overnight camps this summer.

Shara Perlman Borus, our assistant director of camp services and youth engagement, will also be active in the field this summer, continuing to consult with day camps, manage our J-1 Visa international staff program, and coordinating communication with the field. Shara brings her knowledge as a day camp director and an independent consultant, and will continue working closely with JCC day camps so that they will provide positive and enriching Jewish camp experiences this summer.

We want this summer to be one where not only our campers learn and grow, but also where the camps that serve them do, too. We are committed to providing you ongoing support and guidance and will be available throughout the summer to ensure that JCC camps continue to provide their campers and their families with the excellence they have come to expect.

Email Aaron
Email Jodi
Email Shara


Adamah Adventures
We are happy to welcome six camps to our camp community since summer 2014. We look forward to meeting the camping professionals from each of these camps on the road this summer, at upcoming conferences and through virtual regional meetings and trainings. Wishing you a great summer 2015! Find out more about these camps by visiting their websites:


This spring a group of counselors from 2014 JCC Camps Staff Taglit-Birthright trip reunited at Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Cornerstone seminar.

Now is the time to tell your summer camp staff about the amazing opportunity to go to Israel in December 2015 with other camp people! Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive from our trip in 2014 and we know many of you are planning to share this incredible opportunity with your camp staff. The participants spend 10 days in Israel, traveling north to south, spending Shabbat in Jerusalem – learning about past, current and future Israel, and how to bring Israel back to camp in meaningful and real ways.

The JCC Camps Staff Taglit-Birthright group was summarized well by Hannah Caplan from Camp Wise: “Camp people are a special breed of people, and it’s impossible to describe to someone who isn’t one. All I know is that I want to be surrounded by camp people for the rest of my life.”

In December 2014, 40 camp counselors from seven JCC day and overnight camps met in JFK International Airport. Upon arriving at the gate to await their flight to Israel, it took only minutes for small circles of people who did not know each other to form. They pulled out guitars and suddenly, the terminal felt like opening day of staff orientation. That was the vibe for the entire 10 days that followed.

Tell your staff about this amazing opportunity! This is a way to energize your staff, who will return excited about their experiences, ready to talk to their campers, teach them and share their personal stories and connection to Israel. The Israeli mifgash (encounter) participants will be shlichim from our camps – who all share the love and passion for our camps as well and are eager to spend time with “camp people” over the winter.

How this works: You will receive additional information on the @JCCamps Facebook page and listservs. Reach out with any questions that you may have to Ido Medan-David, Director, JCC Maccabi Israel, JCC Israel Center.


  • PJ Library Goes to Day Camps has brought over 70 JCC Day Camps books and materials between summer 2014 and 2015! Find ways to use the books, your relationship with PJ Library, and how to connect your books to TAG units.
  • The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Jewish Education shares resources for staff training! Find them on JCCA.me.
  • How are you being green this summer at camp? Check out some great resources from Hazon, a national organization at the forefront of the evolving conversation around engagement with food, the outdoors and the environment.
  • The Redwoods Group is hosting a webinar on Thursday, June 18: State of Aquatics Webinar. They also have a simple checklist to ensure your playgrounds are ready for summer! Find details and register now for the webinar!



JCC camps are a beautiful place to celebrate Jewish peoplehood. Hear from Josh Smith, assistant director at 92Y Camps and Joel Charnick, director of JCA Shalom about how they are integrating Jews from around the world into the fabric of their community and camps.

How many international Jewish staff join your camp team every summer?
Josh: We bring 32 international staff, all shlichim and all Jewish. 20 of them will be working in our Hebrew immersion program, Camp Bereisheet, and the rest of the staff are integrated into Camp Yomi.

Joel: This year, we’ll have close to 40 international staff.

How does having Jewish staff from around the world impact your camp community and campers experience?
Josh: Our shlichim come to camp with great energy and enthusiasm and greatly increase the presence of Hebrew throughout camp. Each year our staff continue to add decorative maps, flags, Hebrew signs and other visuals to our challenge course area to enhance the visibility of our support for Israel. Their presence also shares with our campers the wonderful diversity present in Israeli society. We teach our campers that Israel is a country and place with many sets of customs, values, and individuals and our campers experience this firsthand.

Some of our shlichim live here at the 92Y dorms and connect with 92Y staff, patrons, and camper parents each morning and afternoon and represent our camp community very well. They are visible to our community here as important members of our team. Others live with host families and truly become members of the families and communities where they stay. These relationships have allowed our host families to become more deeply connected to the program and many have volunteered year after year to open up their homes.

Joel: The impact on camp is profound. First and foremost, it opens our campers’ and staff members’ eyes that there is a greater, worldwide Jewish community. At Camp JCA Shalom, one of our core values is Kehillah or community. For us, this is not just the community we create at camp, but the greater community outside of camp’s gates. Our international staff plant the seeds of curiosity in our campers and staff. Our campers are curious about what Jewish life is like in England and Israel. Our staff are curious about the struggles that English students feel on their college campuses. Everyone is curious about what serving in the Israeli army is like.

There’s also a “cool factor.” Our Jewish British staff teach cricket to the campers. Campers love it when their staff people have accents and hang their country’s flags in the cabin. Every international staff person is encouraged to bring photo albums about what life is like in their country. They love to share about where they’re from.

After we increased the number of international staff, we saw that staff people were traveling to England and Israel more. In school, kids can learn a lot about Israel, but it doesn’t compare to meeting, and becoming close with Israelis. On our Camp JCA Shalom birthright trips, our staff feel like they are being greeted by family. At every stop along their trip they are being visited by Israelis from that area.

How would you suggest that camps integrate their international staff to feel part of the community?
Josh: Home stays are a great way for staff to get connected to the community. We have actually found that the bus rides to and from camp (for day camps) are a great time for international staff to get involved and meet different staff and campers. They can share a “Word of the Day” related to camp or a weekly/daily theme or share songs, cheers, etc from their culture that become a part of camp life. Involving them and allowing them to contribute to culture and rituals of camp is a great way to welcome them in to the camp family.

Joel: We do a number of things to make sure that all newcomers (but especially international newcomers) feel welcome. We organize orientations in England and Israel with our staff where we discuss techniques for integrating themselves into camp. We discuss the importance of not staying with people from your home country, and sitting with new people at mealtimes, for example. On the first day of staff orientation we talk about hachnassat orachim, or the welcoming in of guests, with our veteran staff. The veteran staff brainstorm ways they can be welcoming. We have created an elaborate system of making sure that local staff host international staff (and out of town staff) on days off. Most of all, we emphasize the importance of having a welcoming culture in camp.


The JCC Camps website is the place where every JCC Association affiliated camp is listed. Here’s where current and prospective campers, parents, staff, alumni, and donors can learn about your camp and the JCC Camps movement. While we know that you may already have a strong web presence, this additional resource benefits your camp when it has all of your most up-to-date information included.

  1. Check out your page and have someone in your office complete your profile form to make any necessary updates! (It should take less than 10 minutes – once you begin it. You need to complete it in one sitting, since it will not save unless submitted).
  2. We wish you all wonderful summers and would love to hear about it. Share your testimonials with us! There is an easy-to-use form to submit testimonials from your camp community.
  3. Make sure you are keeping up with trends and staying current with your families through social media! Two camps that are doing great work are JCA Shalom and Camp Tawonga.


Camp JCA Shalom Camp Tawonga




Summer social media is a bit of a conundrum. While you’re trying to limit screen time for campers, it may feel like a bit of a contradiction to be taking photos and videos on your phone. The truth is, sharing snapshots of the day through channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is the easiest way to keep parents, friends and family members updated — and is a great form of marketing for camp. One of the most important things to remember is not to overshare. Go for quality over quantity, and make sure that what you’re sharing provides value in some way. Some tips to keep in mind as you plan for a social summer:

  • Tell the story of camp: Parents want to see their kids having fun, and they want to know what they’re doing. Share everyday moments, as well as special ones, and give a “behind the scenes” tour of life at camp.
  • Change it up: Post single photos, albums, videos, and links to articles. Variety is good for engagement.
  • Think before you post: Although it’s tempting (and super easy) to upload something the second you capture it, keep in mind that every piece of content you share is part of your camp’s story.
    • Check the foreground and background of photos and videos to make sure everyone is smiling.
    • Make sure you’re not posting something that will be too “insider” for people who aren’t at camp to understand. Think about whether you should be providing context for your audience.
  • Make it a team effort: If your staff members are allowed to carry phones or cameras, enlist their help in capturing the story of the summer. Social media is also a great way to introduce your audience to the people who will be working with their kids. If your camp has animals (like JCA Shalom), feel free to introduce them too!
  • See what works: The great thing about social media is that you can see pretty quickly what works and what doesn’t. Take what you learn from your stats and use that to inform your future posts.
    • Use a link shortener like bit.ly to keep track of clicks, and make sure you know how to take a peek at your Facebook Insights.
    • Hashtags are a helpful way to keep track of (and contribute to) the conversation. Everyone loves a good #throwbackthursday picture too!
    • If you’re using Instagram, Iconosquare is a great resource for tracking interaction.
    • Ideal sizes for images: Facebook—940 pixels x 788 pixels. Twitter—1024 pixels x 512 pixels, or 2:1.Highlighting your shlichim through social media


We are happy to welcome new JCC camp professionals who have joined us just in time for summer 2015! If we accidentally missed you, sorry! Email Shara with your photo so we can include you in our next newsletter and make sure you are in the know with all things JCC camps.

brian emma pol_adam
Brian DeBolt Emma Fiebach Adam Griff
Director Dir of youth & family services Director
Email Brian Email Emma Email Adam
Charleston JCC Milton & Betty Katz JCC Marcus JCC
Charleston, SC Margate, NJ Atlanta, GA
photo colleen Anthony_MJCC_Staff-46B
Daniel N. Irving Colleen Malone Anthony Markey
Director Country Day Camp Dir Day Camp Director
Email Daniel Email Colleen Email Anthony
JCC of Greater Rochester JCC on the Hudson Mittleman JCC
Rochester, NY Tarrytown, NY Portland, OR
ben Ari rachel
Ben McCue Ari Paskoff Rachel Saslove
Asst youth & camp director Assistant director Assistant director
Email Ben Email Ari Email Rachel
Worcester JCC Capital Camps Camp Interlaken JCC
Worcester, MA Rockville, MD Milwaukee, WI
Eric Schwartz
Youth and camp director
Email Eric
Valley of the Sun JCC
Scottsdale, AZ