Camp JCC campers make mitzvot the center of their camp experience

by | Aug 19, 2021 | Other News

Michelle Fenley

Two special groups of Camp JCC campers demonstrated this summer that joy can be found through doing mitzvot.

Despite the limitations that COVID‑19 placed on summer experiences, the two oldest groups of campers at the Simon Family JCC’s summer camp creatively developed several community service projects in which they could help others and express their own gratitude. These two groups, the Tel Aviv and Jaffa bunks, consisting of 20 campers, responded positively and energetically to the projects.

At the start of summer, the campers held a brainstorming session with counselors and identified local agencies and causes that were important to them. Choosing their projects clearly contributed to the passion and excitement they felt throughout the summer.

One project, which combined two of the campers’ interest areas—environmental awareness and animals—included recycling old t-shirts and making animal toys for the SPCA. The campers also made kindness cards that they delivered with the dog toys—expressing to the SPCA employees their appreciation for the care they provide to animals.

The largest of their projects was a campus-wide craft supply and game drive for The Benjamin Goldberg Playroom at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters. Marley Fenley, a Camp JCC teen camper, and a member of the Benjamin Goldberg Foundation Junior Advisory Board, worked closely with Wendy Goldberg, the board’s president, to orchestrate this endeavor. Thanks to her role on the advisory board, Marley was able to tell her fellow campers about the amazing playroom that has been constructed on the hematology and oncology unit at CHKD. Marley was passionate about this project as she and several other campers in the Tel Aviv/Jaffa groups were Benjamin Goldberg’s peers when he attended Camp JCC. The campers were excited about bringing these creative and enjoyable activities to children receiving medical care. They discussed the importance of having fun and the healing that can be found through play.

Thanks to their creativity, these campers touched the lives of so many this summer. They spread the message that kindness matters with posters and signs they created, cards of gratitude, kindness rocks, and a general willingness to help with camp-wide needs throughout the summer.

Kate-Lynn Cipolla, head of Camp Gadol, says, “I felt so proud of these campers all summer long. It was a long school year, yet they came into this camp experience with such positive and giving attitudes. Their ability to enjoy and participate in camp activities, while also giving back to the community was touching and admirable.”


To learn more about Camp JCC, or to hear about year-round opportunities for teens in the community, contact Dave Flagler, director of Camp and Teen Engagement, at or 757-452-3182.

Michelle Fenley, is Camp JCC’s Yachad inclusion program coordinator.