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Let’s Start a Campfire!

By Jewish Camp Initiative

Did you know that the Jewish Camp Initiative has been sending kids to Jewish overnight camp for 10 years? It’s true! And you can be part of that legacy. The Start a Campfire campaign is happening now, and any money you donate will be used for camper scholarships and grants this summer! Many kids in Atlanta would not be able to attend Jewish overnight camp without this support. Kids like Jaron (18) and Lexi (14) rely on it:

“Sending our children to Jewish summer camp was non-negotiable for our family. We did not go to Jewish overnight camp when we were young, and we wanted our children to take advantage of the many opportunities we have within the Atlanta Jewish community. At summer camp, everything comes together—it’s immersive, they meet people from all over. And best of all, they are outdoors all summer.

But when our oldest, Jaron, was getting close to camp age (at the time, a rising third grader) we were uncertain how we were going to pay for his tuition. We started doing research on ways to make it affordable. We filled out an application with Temple Emanu-El for a scholarship, and someone recommended Federation and the new Jewish Camp Initiative scholarships. And the rest is history.

Both Jaron and Lexi have attended Camp Coleman since the first summer each was eligible. They would not have been able to attend without the grants and scholarships, especially during the summers where we had both of them going—and we would never have wanted one to go and not the other.

This will be Jaron’s first summer as a counselor, and he is very excited to be on staff; he is ready to give back to the campers at Coleman from an adult perspective. Camp is a part of each of their identities—it’s a tradition, it’s what they do every summer, it’s what they can count on. They both have tight-knit friend groups they talk to and lean on throughout the year, even when they are not at camp.

Other parents, we want you to know: it does not have to be scary to ask for help. A grant or scholarship is an investment in your child, in their Judaism. You can reach out, there are plenty of resources.

You should care about camp even if your children are grown, or if you never had children, because the traditions of Judaism are passed down through camp. It is the chance to teach and model outside of the home. The values that camp instills are the same as at synagogue. Our children would never have had these opportunities without the Jewish Camp Initiative, and they have become better people because of it.”

-Paige and Evan Pearson

In the last 10 years, Jewish Atlantans helped raise over $30,000 annually during Start a Campfire (plus matching donations), which has helped provide over 5,200 camp scholarships and grants! To see more of the tremendous impact of Start a Campfire and the Jewish Camp Initiative, click here.