Nothing But Nets Goes to Camp!
School is out, the weather is hot and mosquitoes are buzzing! This can only mean one thing: Reform Jewish youth across North America are in the final countdown to the opening day of summer camp! As someone who grew up going to camp and then spent many college summers working at Jewish summer camps, each year at this time I get a bit reminiscent of that countdown, of days with friends that seem to last forever, and even of the mosquito bites!
That’s why, as the Program Coordinator at the Religious Action Center, I was excited to work with URJ camps to write and distribute a summer camp program to engage the youth of our Movement with Nothing But Nets. Nothing But Nets, a global, grassroots campaign, raises awareness and funding to fight malaria in Africa. Working on this partnership and writing these camp programs has surely given me a whole new prospective on the notorious mosquito bites I remember getting each summer at camp.
That is why summer camp is a great way to engage Reform Jewish youth on the issue of malaria. How would camp be different if those pesky mosquitoes still carried the malaria parasite in the U.S.? Yet in many parts of the world, mosquitoes can carry the deadly parasite that is the number one killer of children and leaves many parents anxious when they hear the buzzing of mosquitoes.
The Reform Movement recognizes the importance of helping those in need, and is committed to saving lives, one net at a time. The camp program packet contains four ready-made programs for counselors to use to teach campers about the partnership, malaria and why this is an important issue for Reform Jews.
The first program, the “starter” program gives campers an overview of basic facts about malaria, Nothing But Nets, and our partnership. It can be paired with any of the other programs or serve as a standalone on a Shabbat afternoon or during a shiur session. The Living Talmud and Basketball Tournament programs serve as great Shabbat afternoon activities, a rainy-day plan or work it into the regular camp day. The final program, Nets Tag, is a fun evening program for an entire age unit, or multiple age units together.
Download the program packet off the Religious Action Center’s website or email me to get started with these programs at your summer camp. This is a great opportunity to teach our next generation of Reform Jewish leaders on the importance of eradicating global diseases and poverty, and why these are important values to Reform Judaism.