Being a CLASP Fellow has allowed me to combine my love of Jewish overnight camp and congregational communal work. The opportunity to learn and work with exceptional mentors in both settings has given me the confidence and ability to lead creative learning models and grow personally and professionally.
- Emily Halpern CLASP Fellow at URJ Harlam Camp and Temple Emanuel in Westfield, NJ
We added postcards from GUCI into our school book bags. Every family enrolled in religious school in grades K-6 received GUCI info at the book pickup. Since we were social distancing, we could only wave to the kids in their cars, so I dressed up as a wacky waving inflatable tube man and acted like a fool for the families. It was so successful, GUCI now wants me to wear the suit for opening day 2021!”
- Matt Hastings, CLASP Fellow at GUCI and Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation in Indianapolis, IN
Our CSR Teens Kickoff event was an in-person and socially distanced campfire in the parking lot of the synagogue. The teens made s'mores with fancy chocolates and helped to put together High Holiday at Home Boxes for the religious school families. Then we all wrote down what we needed to get rid of from the past year in order to start the year off with a clean slate and threw our papers into the fire. This was my first real event in my new position, and I am thrilled with how well it went! I have incredible staff who helped make it possible to do everything safely, and I finally got to meet the teens whose names I had seen on lists all summer!
- Leah Beck Bordman, CLASP Fellow at Eisner Camp and Community Synagogue of Rye in Rye, NY
For our Yom Kippur youth experience (K-8th Grade) this year, we created paper plate awards. The participants gave themselves either a “best” award for being the best at something during the past year or a "most likely" award for something they were going to do in the upcoming year. We created the paper plates to include Camp Coleman branding, and one of our teen volunteers and I then spoke about Camp Coleman, our experiences, and what all they can do at camp. I noted which participants asked questions and reached out later to follow up with parents.
- Seth Cohen, CLASP Fellow at Camp Coleman and Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach, FL
I teamed up with Shira Brandhandler from Temple Jeremiah (Northfield, IL) and Mady Frischer from North Shore Congregation Israel (Glencoe, IL) to host a drive-in movie event we called “Drive-In and Camp Out.” Kids were encouraged to come in a favorite camp t-shirt, and we invited them one at a time to make s’mores at a fire. We followed it up with an OSRUI-style Havdalah.
- Akek Kopulsky, CLASP Fellow at OSRUI and B’nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in Deerfield, IL
At the beginning of the month, we had our first Family Shabbat Dinner where we engaged families with children of any age in our religious school. We gathered outdoors both for dinner and Kabbalat Shabbat singing since children cannot yet attend indoor services again due to vaccine requirements. When it came time for Birkat Hamazon, my students who attend camp were THRILLED to get to share the hand motions from camp with their friends. Kabbalat Shabbat singing was "Song Session Style”, and families sang some classic camp shabbat songs together and had a great time!
At the end, I had several families ask about the next family Shabbat dinner. The energy of this event was similar enough to the energy of camp that many of my camp students ended up talking to their friends all about the camp experience, totally organically without being prompted.
This was a really successful event that brought our families closer together and created a Shabbat experience that was really special to us as "our" thing. We'll be having this kind of dinner once a month and everyone is looking forward to the next one!
- Micah Marder, CLASP Fellow at Camp Harlam and Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia, PA