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21 Jewish Community Camps Awarded Over $1.5M to Strengthen Disabled and Mental Health Services

JCC Association heralds grants from the Foundation for Jewish Camp, Marcus, and Weinberg Foundation

NEW YORK — JCC Association of North America is heralding more than $1.5 million in grants from the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC), the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and the Billie and Bernie Marcus Foundation to strengthen accessibility and inclusion for JCC campers and staff with disabilities that affect their emotional, mental, and social health.

Nine Jewish Community Camps (JCCs) were awarded a total of $1.3 million through the “Yashar Initiative” by FJC and the Weinberg Foundation to enhance access and inclusion for those with a range of disabilities. 12 JCC camps, including some of those awarded a Yashar grant, were among 32 Jewish camps awarded a “Yedid Nefesh” grant (from a total pool of $3.2 million) to help the camps address the mental, emotional, and social health (MESH) needs of campers and staff.

“We are deeply grateful for these substantial investments by FJC, which acknowledge and reflect the JCC Movement’s vision to make all our Jewish Community Camps fully accessible, inclusive, and supportive of individuals with disabilities and MESH challenges,” said Doron Krakow, president and CEO of JCC Association of North America. “These grants underscore the prominence and importance of our Jewish Community Camps as the largest and most effective access points to advancing mental health initiatives in our communities.”

The nine Jewish camps, a mix of diverse overnight and day camps across North America, receiving the Yashar Initiative $1.3 million grant include:

Camp Tawonga, CA (Affiliated Jewish Community Camp)
Camp Jaycee, CA (Lawrence Family JCC of San Diego County Jacobs Family Campus)
Stamford JCC Day Camps, CT (JCC Stamford)
Camp Barney Medintz, GA (Marcus JCC of Atlanta)
Camp Kehilla, NY (Sid Jacobson JCC)
Camp Twelve Trails, NY (YM & YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood; Shames JCC on the Hudson; Riverdale YM-YWHA)
Camp JCC Bender JCC, DC (Bender JCC of Greater Washington)
JCC Rainbow Day Camp, WI (Harry and Rose Samson Family JCC)
JCC Camp Chi, WI (JCC Chicago)

Funding will support capital improvements, professional development, staff training, research, and evaluation. The grant is intended to support a wide range of campers and staff, including individuals with an autism spectrum disorder, as well as those with intellectual, developmental, physical, and sensory disabilities.The 12 Jewish camps awarded the “Yedid Nefesh” grant consist of both day and overnight camps and reflect a range of Jewish denominations, regions, and camp movements. The camps include:

JCamp Westside, CA (Westside JCC)
Mountain Chai Jewish Community Camp, CA (Affiliated Jewish Community Camp)
JCC Maccabi Sports Camp, CA (Oshman Family JCC)
Camp Shai, Denver, CO (Staenberg JCC)
Camp Barney Medintz, GA (Marcus JCC of Atlanta)
JCC Camp Kingswood, ME (JCC Greater Boston)
JCC Camps, NJ (Katz JCC)
Camp Livingston, OH (Affiliated Jewish Community Camp)
Pinemere Camp, PA (Affiliated Jewish Community Camp)
Camp Interlaken JCC, WI (Harry and Rose Samson Family JCC)
Camp Chi, WI (JCC Chicago)
Emma Kaufmann Camp, WV (JCC of Greater Pittsburgh)

Funds will be distributed to help camps hire qualified mental health professionals and will be directed to counselor training and wellness programming such as meditation, yoga, and journaling.

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About JCC Association of North America

JCC Association of North America leads and connects the JCC Movement, advancing and enriching North American Jewish life. With 1.5 million people walking through the doors of JCCs each week, the JCC Movement represents the largest platform of Jewish engagement on the continent. JCC Association is the convening organization of this powerful network, partnering with JCCs and camps to bring together the collective power and knowledge of the JCC Movement—which represents 6,000 full-time skilled professionals and more than 32,000 part-time seasonal staff—and supporting them as we enhance and strengthen Jewish life throughout North America together.

 Learn more at jcca.org, on Facebook, Instagram and on Twitter at @JCCAssociation.

 

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