Summer Camp opens at JCC with spirit and fun

by | Jul 13, 2023 | Trending News

Off to an exceptional start, Camp JCC’s campers and counselors are quickly finding their rhythm – building solid relationships throughout the camp community.

One key to Camp JCC’s initial success is the dedicated team of counselors who seamlessly settled into their roles. With their enthusiasm and commitment, the counselors create positive, joyful, and fun experiences for campers. Many of Camp JCC’s counselors are returning for their third summer and are just as fulfilled by their time at camp as the campers.

“Camp JCC gives me the opportunity to build relationships that benefit all of our experiences with endless amounts of fun and the chance to build core memories,” says Elizabeth “Lizz” Hughes, a returning Camp JCC counselor. “I have learned more about myself as a leader, and I have had the joy of building my own community within the JCC. Seeing the campers’ smiles light up every morning when we begin our day at Boker Tov reminds me of my own time as a camper, and I am happy to be able to come full circle in making their summer meaningful. Each day is different and exciting!”

Camper care specialists at Camp JCC also play invaluable roles in ensuring that every camper feels included and supported. These specialists are experts in connecting with campers and have been instrumental in guiding counselors to employ effective strategies that promote inclusion and foster a sense of belonging. Their efforts have led to a harmonious and cohesive camp environment where campers of all backgrounds and abilities thrive.

Shyane Reyes, who started at the Simon Family JCC as an after-school care counselor, then became a summer camp counselor, and is now in a leadership position as a camper care specialist, guides campers and counselors towards making the camp experience positive. “The first week of camp was truly mesmerizing,” says Reyes. “I helped our counselors navigate their campers’ individual needs. Watching these campers form special bonds with their peers and counselors is captivating. I am so honored to have the chance to have another amazing summer with Camp JCC and these amazing campers in this new role.”

Despite inclement weather, Camp JCC has maintained a diverse range of activities to keep campers engaged and having a blast. Swimming sessions continue to be a highlight, offering campers a chance to cool off, improve swimming skills, and bond with their peers. The art program allows campers to explore their creativity, while sports activities promote teamwork, coordination, and healthy competition.

In addition, the Tidewater ShinShinim are leading Israeli culture sessions, meeting with each group at least weekly for Israeli games and crafts. Pati Oliszewski of Temple Emanuel also brings Israeli flair to camp each week with Israeli dance sessions.

Summer camp is an excellent opportunity not just for campers, but also for counselors and staff to grow as future leaders in the Jewish community.

“I went to Camp JCC as a kid, then came back as a counselor, and this year as a unit head,” says Rachael Stromberg. “I have loved getting involved in so many different parts of camp while also seeing the kids grow and have fun every summer.”

Rain or shine, Camp JCC continues to provide an unforgettable summer experience filled with laughter, growth, and cherished memories.

-Dave Flagler