Camp and Retreat Models of Innovation
The Jewish Education Project
The Camp/Retreat Model provides learners with intense, immersive Jewish learning environments. Emphasis is placed on experiential learning that strives to build rich, meaningful community as it deepens Jewish knowledge and understanding. Learners may come together for a weekend or a week or even two weeks at various points throughout the year. These experiences are often supplemented by monthly family learning or other activities in order to maintain community connections and provide ongoing opportunities for learning. By concentrating learning in a weekend, week or two weeks, this model seeks to replicate the best of a camp setting combined with the rich Judaic resources a congregation can offer its learners. In a Camp Model, congregations use the language, structure and design of camp learning during the year. For example, instead of children going to class, they go to a bunk with a counselor. Another variation on this model is known as “Camp Connect.” In these versions of a camp model, communities create a 12 month curriculum with identified camps. A strong link is made between the summer camp and the fall through spring experience by connecting staff and learning content and methods throughout the year.
These models are part of a larger collection of innovation models for Congregational Learning.
Temple Beth Sholom, Roslyn, NY. Learners in grades 1-6 are paired. A child in an older grade serves as a mentor for a child in a younger grade. The pairs, Yedidim (friends/buddies) live Jewish life together and share everyday experiences.
Adventures in Jewish Education weaves Jewish learning and Hebrew into an all-day, once a month, active outdoor experience.
Village Temple, New York, NY. All-day mini-camp on days when secular school is not in session and an afterschool Hebrew School. Post-b’nai mitzvah students serve as madrichim/counselors.
Temple Israel New Rochelle (TINR), NY. Chavaya uses camp language, feel, and a hands-on approach. Students form eidot (communities) to experience chuggim (electives) such as art, drama, and music.
Washington Hebrew Congregation, Washington, D.C. WHC Mobile is an 8th/9th grade innovative educational model that includes weekend and weekday learning opportunities with three main components: retreats, hands-on learning, and special events.
Temple Judea, Tarzana, CA. Nisayon includes week-long camp experiences, family programming, and parallel adult education. Annual content themes are paired with activities like music, dance, drama, and krav maga.