50+ StL Jewish Families Gifted
$1K JFed Happy Camper Grants
Jewish camp works -- at least that’s according to feedback from a national survey. It reinforces the fact that Jewish camp is a magical transformative experience for Jewish children and plays a big role in shaping future Jewish leaders and professionals. That’s why Jewish Federation of St. Louis is giving 50+ St. Louis Jewish camp-age children, who are going away for the first time for at least 19 days, a special gift. Each is receiving a One Happy Camper (OHC) grant -- $1,000 off their camp tuition.
The group of One Happy Camper grant recipients represents kids from 12 area congregations who are attending 12 different camps. For example, more than 20 of those receiving the grants are going to Camp Sabra. Several others are attending Camp Ben Frankel, Camp Livingston and Camp Nageela Midwest. Between 10% and 15% of Jewish camp aged children attend a non-profit Jewish overnight camp any given summer. In 2010, more than 400 children from St. Louis attended Jewish camp.
Recently, some 50 attendees, representing 30 federations and foundations from across North America, participated in the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s (FJC) continental OHC Conference in New York City. Jewish Federation of St. Louis was represented by Susan Scribner, the St. Louis One Happy Camper project manager. “The conference was inspiring and full of good ideas,” said Scribner who touted St. Louis’ OHC program. “Many of those who received the grants this year came from our congregations. Parents said they were excited and grateful to have this assistance for anyone who chooses a Jewish camp for at least 19 days.”
Jennifer Tompras, mother of Elliot, 13, said receiving the grant “was such a wonderful surprise… it even helped us make a decision about our second child, Benjamin, to get him to extend his camp stay from two weeks to four. I also told a friend, Carol Goldstein, about it and she did the same with her son Max, 11. We’re very grateful for this grant.”
Parent Amy Lentin said, “Our son Jacob, 11, who is going into 6th grade at Parkway Central Middle loves sleep away camp. We have been able to send Jacob to camp the past couple of years for two weeks -- the financial cost of sending him for four weeks was a bigger decision for our family. We want him to go to camp because he loves it. The lessons of independence and the bond of being with other Jewish children in this unique environment is something that can't be created anywhere except at away camp. It was a wonderful surprise when we heard about the ‘One Happy Camper’ grants. This enabled us to send Jacob away for four weeks to relieve some of the financial costs of away camp. Getting the approval from One Happy Camper was a pleasant and painless process.”
The One Happy Camper program (OHC) is a needs-blind cash grant that has, to date, allowed more than 20,000 children in the U.S. and Canada to attend nonprofit Jewish overnight camp. This is the first year that Jewish Federation of St. Louis has participated in the One Happy Camper Program. Federation entered a funding partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Camp. FJC will provide a four-year matching grant to the St. Louis community. Michael Staenberg is providing the leadership around fundraising in the St. Louis Jewish community to meet the FJC’s matching grant.
According to the Foundation for Jewish Camp parameters, grants are available only to children who currently are not involved in a Jewish immersion program or enrolled in a Jewish day school. Eligible 1st-time campers may choose from among 150+ Jewish non-profit camps listed on FJC’s website www.jewishcamp.org.
Some facts about the impact of Jewish camp. As adults:
There is still time to sign up to receive the $1,000 grant. Go to www.onehappycamper.com, Before your begin the application process, be sure you have carefully reviewed the eligibility criteria. Have your camp and session information readily available as you will need both to complete the application.