In overnight Jewish camps, the assistant or associate director often plays a leading or key role in recruiting campers, hiring the staff, and creating the daily program for the summer. Many of these year-round camp employees are likely to become directors in the future, either at their existing camp or at another one within or outside their camp movement. Because of their current and future responsibilities, with funding from AVI CHAI the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) developed a leadership training program that would inspire assistant and associate directors and teach them how to infuse Judaism throughout the camp’s programming and become role models for their junior staff.
The program began in spring 2009 with a cohort of 20. They attended five multi-day seminars over the course of a year, including a nine-day trip to Israel. Participants learned how to apply a Jewish lens to all the work they do, and to model this approach to their camp’s staff. The work culminated with camp-specific programs that were implemented during summer 2010.