Camp Works – and We Can Prove It!
Recently, the URJ Camp and Israel Programs leadership was able to study with Bob Ditter, M.ED., LCSW, who helped us articulate what our campers know so intrinsically: URJ Camps and Israel Programs provide our children the opportunity to be vitally engaged. Wow. The word “vital” alone gets me, let alone the “engagement” part! Our children immerse themselves in a world shaped and defined by Judaism without distraction of any screen (rapt attention), are allowed to self-direct spontaneous creative play, build deep and meaningful relationships and master the critical skill of grit (an oft-underused word) and resilience. Not do our children thrive in this environment, they are hungry for it.
Not only do our children thrive in camp, they also obtain a love and appreciation of Judaism in such a deep and meaningful way. Studies document how summer camp influences the ways in which adult Jews choose to engage with the community and the degree to which they associate with other Jews can be felt long after the last sunset of the summer. The impact is striking, especially when compared to their peers who did not spend their summer months at Jewish camp.
The Foundation for Jewish Camp’s CAMP WORKS study provides evidence that summers at Jewish camp create adults who are committed to the Jewish community and engaged in Jewish practice. Utilizing the most recent National Jewish Population Survey and 25 local community studies completed between 2000–2008, this report offers the fullest picture to date of the impact of Jewish summer camp.
Camp attendance increases the likelihood of adult participation and identification in every one of these areas. As adults, campers are:
- 30% more likely to donate to a Jewish charity;
- 37% more likely to light Shabbat candles;
- 45% more likely to attend synagogue monthly or more; and
- 55% more likely to be very emotionally attached to Israel.
Check out the infographic below and the full report for more.