PJ Library Goes to Camp Ora!

This summer, our Camp Ora Summer Day Camp will receive a complimentary set of 24 books from the PJ Library, a program within the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Camp Ora is one of over 50 camps that will receive books this summer to be utilized by campers ages four through eight. Using these 24 PJ Library books in creative, inspired ways to bring Judaism to life for their campers, Camp Ora staff will enhance their daily programming with stories of Jewish values and assorted holidays. Everything from using the stories to adapt into dramatic play, arts and crafts projects, cooking projects, and much more may be implemented at camp this summer.

“The gift of these 24 PJ Library books will be a wonderful way to extend the learning that goes on in our Early Childhood Program. The PJ Library provides books for our classrooms during the school year and the children love getting new books each month. We are so excited for this opportunity to expand the Jewish engagement and enrichment provided by the PJ Library into the summer months with special activities and with our mentoring program with the older campers,” said Shara Reiss, Camp Ora Director.

The PJ Library is committed to enhancing Jewish literacy in JCC day camps. This new partnership between the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) and JCC Association reinforces the importance of Jewish literacy at a young age. The partnership is part of JCC Association’s Day Camp Initiative – a continental effort to raise the programming and profile of Jewish day camps. “I’m delighted that PJ Library and HGF have chosen to partner with us to add the richness of PJ Library books to the resources that our day camp staff will have available to bring Jewish learning to life,” said Allan Finkelstein, President and CEO of JCC Association.

HGF’s camping program, JCamp 180, currently provides fundraising incentives and consulting mentors to 18 JCC day camps and 24 JCC residential camps throughout the US. “JCC day camps are the entry point into Jewish life for over 65,000 children each summer, and we believe by providing valuable tools to enhance summer learning and programs, we are connecting campers to a life of Jewish engagement,” said Jodi Sperling, Director of Camping and the Merrin Center for Teen Engagement at JCC Association.

“There’s also incredible potential to reach the 12,000 young adults who work at JCC day camps each summer,” Sperling added, noting that for many day camp staff, working at camp is not only their first real job, but their first exposure to Jewish communal work.

More than 80 campers are served each summer in the JCC’s Ora Summer Day Camp program. JCC day camps serve over 65,000 children and engage thousands of young adults as staff. “When we work together, we can make a bigger difference,” said Marcie Greenfield Simons, Director of PJ Library.

“By requiring, wherever possible, that a conversation take place between the JCC day camp staff and their local PJ Library program coordinator, we hope to encourage greater collaboration that will lead to greater impact on families.”  PJ Library often brings out families who have not yet been connected to the organized Jewish community.  Working together, JCC camps and the PJ Library provide two key resources which can keep young Jewish families engaged year round.

What started as a small project sending books to 200 children in Western Massachusetts in 2005, PJ Library now delivers more than 130,000 Jewish books per month to children throughout North America. Last month, Mr. Grinspoon personally delivered the five-millionth PJ Library book to a three-year-old in Natick, MA.  His foundation also invests over $2.2 million annually in Jewish summer camps, much of which is leveraged by those camps to provide $151 million in total impact. For more information visit www.hgf.org.

To sign up for Camp Ora or any of our other wonderful JCC Summer Day Camps, contact Lauren Barnes at lbarnes@columbusjcc.org or call 614-559-6251.