Camp Leaders & Congregations Selected for Service Corps to Engage Jewish Youth

The camping movement of the Union for Reform Judaism recently announced the selection of 25 camp staff members and 25 host congregations for its year-round URJ Service Corps program.

The URJ Service Corps program engages young camp staff and alumni to apply their experience, talents, and skills to create experiential, camp-style programming for families and youth in synagogue communities around the country. Working in partnership with the National Ramah Commission, the program seeks, over three years, to have a total of 80 young adult educators engaged in part-time youth leadership roles in Conservative and Reform communities throughout North America, working actively to recruit for camp and to help energize the communities they serve through innovative, inspiring, and immersive Jewish programming.

The names of selected fellows and the 25 host synagogues selected for the program can be found in this press release from the URJ.

The URJ Service Corps initiative builds upon the successful model of the Ramah Service Corps, funded by the Foundation for Jewish Camp and begun in 2010 with support from a Covenant Foundation Ignition Grant. Ramah and the URJ Camps share administration, logistical and developmental aspects of the program, while maintaining individual supervision over their own Service Corps participants.

Fellows must have spent a minimum of two summers working at a URJ camp and will be encouraged to work at a URJ camp in summer 2014. Fellows will work a minimum of four hours weekly at a host synagogue organizing URJ camps-style programs, creating opportunities for young URJ camps alumni in local communities to connect, reaching out to prospective URJ camps families, maintaining relationships with current URJ camp families in the synagogue, and assisting with local URJ camps recruitment efforts.Each fellow will be mentored by an experienced Jewish professional and will participate in training sessions via webinar and at a conference at Ramah California in January 2014.

Says Paul Reichenbach, URJ Director of Camping and Israel Programs,

These 25 exceptional leaders and congregations will lead the way in engaging communities in camp-style experiential learning. And Service Corps participants will be more likely to continue down their career paths in the Jewish community – providing us with excellent leaders for the future.

These congregations have appointed a supervisor for each fellow, to provide ongoing support for the work they will be doing within the congregation and community. In addition to the training provided to the fellows, the program will bring together the host congregations to create a “community of practice” through which they can share best practices in the field. Synagogues also agreed to provide $2,500 in scholarship funds for campers to attend URJ Camps. The URJ Camps will provide a matching grant of $2,500.

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From the URJ

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