New York, July 31, 2014 -Who says the magic of camp has to end in August?
After an impressive first year, The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) announced a second cohort of URJ Service Corps Fellows to bring experiential camp education to 38 Reform institutions throughout
Service Corps is a joint program of the URJ (Reform) and Ramah (Conservative) Camping Movements. The program combines young camp staff and alumni to
provide camp-style programming throughout the year outside the camp setting. Though each Movement runs their own cohort, they share professional
development programs and materials, and learn from one another. URJ Service Corps Fellows are supported by camp professionals and a rabbi or educator in
their assigned congregation and are charged with two main goals:
Cultivate an awareness of the power of camp in the congregation and encourage more students to attend Jewish summer camps
Utilize best practices from Jewish summer camps, including experiential education models, relationship building, and role modeling, to engage students
in Judaism and bring some of the "magic of camp" to congregational programs
"Our program participation in URJ summer programs has increased so significantly, it is simply remarkable. We are so grateful for the grant money that
enabled us to encourage many, many more people to attend a URJ summer program for the first time this year," said Rebeca Robins of Temple Sinai in
"We have seen an increase in camp enrollment this year, and even more exciting, we have also seen significant excitement about camp from our youngest
students who will be eligible to enroll in the next year or two," said Meredith Kahan at Rockdale Temple in Cincinnati, OH.
The URJ will train and support 34 young adult educators, who will serve in part-time youth leadership roles for 4-5 hours per week at 37 Reform
congregations and one Reform day school (see list below). Brimming with enthusiasm, these educators will work actively on camp recruitment to help
reenergize the communities they serve through innovative, inspiring, and immersive programming.
"Service Corps Fellows have been able to have an impressive impact on camp recruitment numbers - an impact that previous efforts were unable to
accomplish," said Senior Program Manager for Camping for the Union for Reform Judaism Michelle Shapiro Abraham, "We are now able to identify what success
looks like and have a glimpse into a new and exciting approach to connecting children to camp and engaging them in Jewish life year-round."
The 2014-15 URJ Service Corps Cohort will include:
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is a dynamic network of congregations, institutions, lay leaders, clergy and professionals across North America that
impacts the lives of millions of individuals every day. Our progressive, inclusive approach unites thousands of years of Jewish tradition and values
with modern Jewish experience to strengthen Judaism today and for future generations. Through programs, information and networking opportunities
provided by the URJ, our nearly 900 member congregations enhance their capacity to build and expand community, deepen Jewish learning, energize
worship, pursue social justice and develop inspired leadership. http://urj.org.
The URJ's Campaign for Youth Engagement marshals the resources of the URJ, as well as congregations and institutions
of the Reform Movement and beyond, to engage a majority of Reform Jewish youth in Jewish life in meaningful ways.URJ Youth Programs NFTY, Camps, Israel Programs and Mitzvah
Corps bring inspiring experiences to thousands of young people each year.