Hello, Muddah, Hello, Faddah: Camp Season is Here!

Perhaps some of you remember the incredibly popular camp song by Allan Sherman that was a hit in 1963. It speaks to how connections are quickly made at camp as well as how important it is to be connected back home.

We often speak of “bringing camp home” – but really, it is about connecting what we do powerfully during the summer to our congregations and delivering vibrant, profound and authentic Judaism 12-months a year. For campers, congregants, and clergy alike, it is important that we see the summer experience as extensions of our congregations, whether they’re in Israel, a URJ camp, Costa Rica, day camp or any other Jewish summer program – even for us who stay home. Four hundred congregations are sending kids to a URJ camp, NFTY Israel trip, or Mitzvah Corps program, and it is exciting to think about being audaciously hospitable to all the participants.

We know as parents, teachers and leaders of young people the importance of being inclusive and accessible so young people can find meaningful opportunities where they can leave their mark on the world.

To help make those connections consider doing one of two of the following:

  1. Acknowledge those in your congregations who are about to leave for a Jewish summer program either with a special prayer during services or oneg.
  2. Offer a traveler’s prayer to those heading overseas.
  3. Send a special note of thanks to parents for sending their children to a summer program.
  4. Write a letter to your camper or traveler.
  5. Welcome them home upon their return and ask them to share their experiences.

We look forward to hearing your stories and reflections from the summer, and to seeing many of you at one of our programs in the coming weeks. So unlike the closing in Alan Sherman’s song, don’t disregard this letter. Stay cool!

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Miriam Chilton

About Miriam Chilton

Miriam Chilton is the URJ's Vice-President of Youth; prior to this, she served as Director of Strategy, Operations and Finance for URJ Youth, Camp and Israel Programs. Miriam has a Master of Arts in Business Administration and Master of Science in Information Systems from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts, Political Science from Ithaca College. When not out in the field trying to engage more young people, she is an active member of Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, N.J.


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