Jewishly-intensive overnight camps provide a unique opportunity for campers to experience and live Judaism around-the-clock, in an environment that aims to support their spiritual growth. In most camps the experiential nature of Jewish programming provides a counterpoint to the classroom experience, often as both supplement and an alternative. However, even the most successful camps sometimes implement their Jewish education programs based on assumptions and models developed many years ago that do not take full advantage of the most recent advances in experiential education.
The Planning Grants for Educational Programs in the Camp Movements were developed to assist camp movements to develop clear educational goals and evaluate approaches that will provide the strongest and most memorable Jewish experiences during the summer for both campers and staff. To date, the Ramah and URJ Camp movements have used these grants to research and plan for changes to their camp’s program and curriculum. The Ramah grant was used to create the Daber program described under “Strengthening Hebrew & Israel Education at Ramah.”