A View to the Past with an Eye to the Future



On eJewish Philanthropy’s blog today is a piece by Jerry Kaye, director of the URJ’s Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (more commonly known just as OSRUI) about the Reform Movement’s 60th anniversary of summer camping. In “A View to the Past with an Eye to the Future: The Reform Movement Celebrates 60 Years of Camping,” Kaye writes,

Born in 1952 on the shores of Lac La Belle in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) camping system has grown in leaps and bounds. The URJ now operates 13 camps across North America with specialty programs focused on the environment, special needs, Israel, sports, leadership and more. Our camp and Israel programs now serve more than 10,000 campers each summer.

But these metrics aren’t what matters most for the future of the Jewish people. As the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s study CAMP WORKS: The Long-term Impact of Jewish Overnight Camp (2011) showed, “summers at Jewish camp create adults who are committed to the Jewish community and engaged in Jewish practice.” The relationships and ideas that are nourished at camp represent the real vitality and impact of the past 60 years of Reform Jewish camping.

Take OSRUI as an example. The acres have grown from a mere eight to over 200; the facilities have expanded from a few buildings to a full campus. And activity choices have expanded dramatically.

But it’s still the people who have made the difference over the years. Campers have gone on to become rabbis, Jewish educators and cantors, as well as congregational leaders, taking their rightful places in the world of Jewish leadership.

Read the full post at eJewish Philanthropy. And happy camping!

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Kate Bigam

About Kate Bigam

Kate Bigam is the URJ's Social Media and Community Manager. Prior to this, she served as a Congregational Representative for the URJ's East District and at the Religious Action Center as Press Secretary and as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant. Kate is a native of Cuyahoga Falls, OH, and currently resides in Red Bank, N.J.

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