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Elated Parents, Happy Kids

The much-anticipated re-opening of Jewish camps for summer 2021 is happening in full force! Duffle bags are being packed. Names are being written on everything, even masks!  Staff is on site at all of our regional overnight camps, and campers have begun to arrive. Our Jewish day camps are bursting with energy.   

Jewish Camp Initiative Manager, Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez, has been joyful and even a little teary to see so many kids returning to camp or going for the first time.  “A year ago, we had no idea what the future of Jewish camping looked like. And now, our camps are filled with campers and staff ready to dive back in and re-engage with this amazing immersive summer experience.”  

But don’t just take our word for it, hear from parents and professionals who are witnessing Summer 2021’s glorious reopening first-hand: 

A Camp Barney Mom:
Michelle Michelman, who grew up in New Orleans, is a Camp Barney Medintz alumna. Not surprisingly, her older daughter Ava, 11 has spent three fabulous summers at Barney and was heartbroken over last summer’s shut-down. “Ava talked about camp all year long in incredible detail — Shabbat, the ‘Blob,’ and her favorite activities. When she felt down about missing camp, she just texted her friends. We dropped Ava off last weekend and her younger sister Liza will be at Barney later this summer for a 10-day session for younger kids.” 

“I have no anxiety about my girls being at camp this summer in regards to COVID-19 or their general safety. Going through Hurricane Katrina taught me a lot about coming through on the other side. Our camps have spent a lot of time and planning to ensure our kids have a safe summer. 

To me, camp is a remarkable skill-building, growing experience — it’s everything! I jokingly tell the kids, ‘We will eat ramen noodles in order to send you to camp. It’s that important.”

Day Camp Parent:
Gabby Sirner-Cohen, said, “What a relief it was to drop off my little guy at In the City Camps on Monday morning. Their COVID protocols eased my nerves, and the warm, friendly staff eased my son’s nerves.” 

A Camp Director:
Danny Herz, Director of URJ 6 Points Sports Academy says: “Being back on campus brings such great anticipation for a wonderful summer ahead of transformative Jewish experiences. The energy is palpable, and I cannot wait to see the smiles on faces and the excitement amongst our staff and faculty after almost two years of being away! We are thrilled to be able to have our community of Jewish athletes be whole and together once again!” 

A Camp Counselor Parent:
Gayle Smith said, “My daughter Gabrielle is up at Ramah Darom right now for staff training. We moved to Atlanta from Memphis while she was still in high school, and this is her first time going to a Jewish overnight camp. Gabrielle was lucky to get active in BBYO here and it connected her to a great group of Jewish girls who were going to be counselors this summer. She said, ‘I want this.’ Our family has moved quite a bit and Gabrielle’s exposure to Jewish life has been up and down, but it has really expanded since we moved to Atlanta.”

“I’m excited for her and thrilled that she chose to work at camp, all on her own, right before going to college. Her brother Ethan, 12 will be a first-time camper at Ramah for second session and we’re so grateful for the One Happy Camper grant that’s getting him there.”

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