Congratulations to Joshua Steinharter of San Francisco and to the Boulder JCC on being chosen as recipients of Specialty Camp Incubator grants from the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Steinharter will launch the independent JCC Maccabi Sports Camp, a resident camp incorporating the values and traditions of the JCC Maccabi Games®, which he knows so well from his time as athletic program manager for youth and coach development at the JCC of San Francisco. The Boulder JCC will be introducing Camp Inc., a resident camp that will focus on business and entrepreneurship rooted in Jewish values. “We are thrilled to be welcoming these new camps into our JCC family of camps,” said Jodi Sperling, JCC Association’s national director of camping and the Merrin Center for Teen Services. “These new ventures open up so many possibilities for innovative, creative partnerships with our day and resident camps and will bring Jewish camping to a wider audience.”
The Specialty Camp Incubator II cohort is jointly funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation and the AVI CHAI Foundation. FJC’s Incubator program seeks to reach campers not engaged in Jewish camping. The first cohort of Incubator grants funded five specialty camps in 2010, including Passport NYC, a program of 92Y in partnership with NJY camps. The four new recipients of the grants are scheduled to open in 2014.
A 2012 graduate of the Merrin Teen Professional Fellowship, Steinharter long dreamed of combining his love of JCC work, camping, and youth sports. While discussing his dream with Sperling at a Merrin seminar in Israel, his vision for the camp was born. Sperling and Dan Deutsch, director of JCC Maccabi Experience, both encouraged him to apply for an Incubator grant and collaborated on the parallels between the camp and the JCC Maccabi Games experience. “Josh has been a delegation head for Team San Francisco for five years,” Deutsch said, “and he knows and loves the JCC Maccabi Games. We are so proud that he will now be able to build a camp program around many of the same elements. Currently, less than twenty percent of JCC Maccabi Games athletes have had a Jewish camp experience, and this camp will be a true game changer in the field.”
Josh Pierce will be the founding director of Camp, Inc., which will be the resident camp of the Boulder JCC. Boulder JCC Executive Director Jonathan Lev, who conceived the idea, believes that many Jewish teens will be attracted by the vibrancy of the social entrepreneurial sector and that business provides a unique way of learning about Jewish values and tradition. Like Boulder, Israel is a hub for high-tech startups and new business ventures, and Israel education through the lens of business development will be integral to the new camp. Campers will envision and develop their own businesses with the help of mentors and advisers drawn from the business and philanthropic communities.
The JCC Movement represents the largest network of Jewish day and resident camps in North America. “We are excited by the potential to bring the impact of Jewish camping to even more children and teens through the creation of these two new camps,” said Allan Finkelstein, president of JCC Association.