The JCC Maccabi Sports Camp Blog

North Bay Fires: Strength in Community

Posted by October 12, 2017 • Share:

Our sincere thoughts and prayers are extended to all those affected by the North Bay wildfires that have spread across Northern California this week.

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that URJ Camp Newman has suffered unimaginable damage during the fires. In a statement posted on Facebook earlier this week, Newman revealed that the majority of their buildings and their property have been destroyed.

Camp Newman is a home away from home and a place of comfort, fun and spirituality for hundreds of children and adults. The destruction caused by the fires evokes powerful feelings of shock, sadness and vulnerability. Our heart aches for all of Newman’s campers, staff and alumni during this tragedy.

At JCC Maccabi Sports Camp, we truly believe there is great strength in community. We are committed to supporting Camp Newman in any and every way that we can during these times of sorrow. Additionally, there are some individuals and families within our own JCC Maccabi Sports Camp community who have been impacted by the fires. We are all part of the warm, inclusive, Jewish summer camp community whose members help to care for one another. As we know more information in the coming days, we will let you know how we can best help everyone in need via our Facebook page.

In the meantime, donations can be made to the Jewish Community Federation’s North Bay Wildfire Emergency Fund. All donations will be used to help Camp Newman and the many families affected by the fires.

May we display the strength of JCC Maccabi Sports Camp’s community as we support each other and our Camp Newman brothers and sisters during this difficult time.

Nakum u’vaninu— Let us rise up and rebuild.

With great sorrow,

Josh Steinharter
Executive Director

 

Staff Changes & Opportunities at JCC Maccabi Sports Camp

Posted by September 28, 2017 • Share:

Camp is a place of personal growth, where people have the opportunity to contribute to a community while also bettering themselves in preparation for the future. For some that’s a club soccer team, or preparing for college, and for others it’s about taking the next steps in their career.

In that spirit, it is with mixed emotions that we announce that Mara Berde, Associate Director, will be leaving JCC Maccabi Sports Camp to pursue new opportunities effective November 1. While Mara has many options of where to go and what to do next, we hope she will always consider our camp her home as we look forward to supporting her next success.

As camp is also a place where people are encouraged to take risks, then it should also be recognized that Mara enthusiastically took a leap in joining our team when camp was still a blossoming idea, long before the first camper had even registered. As the first Assistant Director of JCC Maccabi Sports Camp, and in time promoted to Associate Director, Mara has been a tremendous influence on the program, character, and culture of our camp, infusing the community with her knowledge and passion from her vast experiences prior to joining our team.

Most notably, Mara is responsible for setting a high bar when it comes to our summer seasonal staff, hiring a growing number of qualified, talented, and fun staff to shape our community each summer. Mara’s tireless efforts also shaped a robust Staff Week complete with trainings ranging from the theoretical to the practical, allowing new and returning staff to prepare for the summer ahead while meeting and making new friends to last the summer and beyond.

In creating a new Jewish camp, establishing a meaningful Jewish culture was of utmost importance. Nowhere was Mara more comfortable than in front of our camp during Kabbalat Shabbat or Saturday Morning Service, ably guiding our community through powerful Jewish moments. The program as it is today comes from Mara’s heart and her legacy will be felt for summers to come when we gather in the Shabbat Garden.

It is with heartfelt gratitude that I say thank you to Mara Berde for all she’s done and given to camp… working long hours, traveling great distances, pushing herself and others to strive beyond themselves and in doing so, establishing the beginning culture and community of JCC Maccabi Sports Camp. I am thankful to have shared the previous four years with Mara as my partner, teammate, and friend.

As one chapter ends, a new one begins and we start our search for a new Assistant Director and also hire a Camp Administrative and Operations Coordinator. Please share these job openings with anyone you feel might be interested in a new adventure. The full job descriptions can be found here, Assistant Director and Admin/Operations.

We hope you are already thinking about camp and returning next summer. We’ll be in touch soon to begin the conversation about Summer 2018!

Thank you

Josh

Shanah Tovah – Happy New Year!

Posted by September 18, 2017 • Share:

The start of a new year always brings with it much hope. Hope for new beginnings, hope for new opportunities, and hope for new personal and professional relationships.

As we move into a new year, in this difficult time in which we live, it is our hope that we all use each day, each moment, each breath to better ourselves and the world around us.

“If you‘re not going to be any better tomorrow than you were today, then what need do you have for tomorrow?” — Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

This year, JCC Maccabi Sports Camp turns 5 Years Old! As Rosh Hashanah quickly approaches, we reflect on the tremendous impact we have made on the lives of our campers and staff in our first four summers. We are proud of the strong Jewish community we have built through sports. And our team is excited and energized to further our mission in year five with new programs, new sports, and new initiatives.

Thank you for being part of this journey with us. L’shana tova, chag sameach, gut yontiff — whichever way you want to say it, we wish you a sweet and meaningful 5778!  May the joys of life, the power of community and the wonder of the universe fill this new year with possibility and hope.

Share Your Child’s Story – Help Save the J-1 Visa Program

Posted by September 5, 2017 • Share:

JCC Maccabi Sports Camp is asking our camp families to share a positive story or experience your child has had with one of our international staff members. We will pass these stories down to Washington D.C as we rally to keep the J-1 Visa Program alive. To share a story, click here.

 

 

 

 

JCC Maccabi Sports Camp believes wholeheartedly in the importance of cultural exchange. Nearly 40% of our summer staff comes from different parts of the world including Israel, England, Scotland, South Africa and Wales. Our international staff each bring a unique perspective, energy, and commitment to our camp community.

Hiring International Staff allows our campers to have a direct relationship with a person from a country and culture different than their own. It helps our campers learn how to ask questions, how to listen, and how to value differences and similarities. Those experiences, that direct relationship, helps build strong character.

Help Save the J-1 Visa Program

Posted by August 29, 2017 • Share:

According to reports in The Wall Street Journal, the Trump Administration is working to end the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor programs. An Executive Order may be released within the next 10 days disbanding several J-1 programs, putting an end to the hiring of international camp counselors and support staff at summer camps.

JCC Maccabi Sports Camp believes wholeheartedly in the importance of cultural exchange. Nearly 40% of our summer staff comes from different parts of the world including Israel, England, Scotland, South Africa and Wales. Our international staff each bring a unique perspective, energy, and commitment to our camp community.

Hiring International Staff allows our campers to have a direct relationship with a person from a country and culture different than their own. It helps our campers learn how to ask questions, how to listen, and how to value differences and similarities. Those experiences, that direct relationship, helps build strong character.

JCC Maccabi Sports Camp is asking our camp families to share a positive story or experience your child has had with one of our international staff members. We will pass these stories down to Washington D.C as we rally to keep the J-1 Visa Program alive. To share a story, click here.

Additionally, if you believe in the importance of cultural exchange as much as we do, please contact your local legislators and ask them to save the J-1 Visa Program. You can find a link to a sample email below. To find out who your local representatives are, click here.

We appreciate your support!

Sincerely,
The JCC Maccabi Sports Camp Family

 

Sample Email:

Dear Legislator,

I am writing to ask you to help stop the possible White House changes to the U.S. State Department’s J-1 Visa programs, specifically the changes regarding Camp Counselors and Camp Summer Work Travel (SWT). 

As a parent who sends their child to an American summer camp, the recommended changes would have a drastic impact on my child, their camp, and the participation of thousands of American youth and international young adults in camp programs around the globe.

The international staff who come to work at summer camps expose American campers to people from different cultural, religious, geographic and socio-economic backgrounds. In doing so, it provides a unique opportunity for campers to develop a greater understanding of diversity – both in the United States and worldwide.

The interactions children have with International Staff Members at camp allows them to build a deep, meaningful relationship with a person from a country and culture different than their own. It helps them learn how to ask questions, how to listen, and how to value differences and similarities. Those experiences, that direct relationship, helps build strong character in today’s youth that is greatly needed in our multicultural society.

There are also significant positive financial impacts international staff provide to each camp’s greater community and the entire country through travel and tourism. Additionally, hiring international staff does not result in fewer opportunities for American employees as each international staff member has unique skill sets that cannot be found in the American applicant pool.

I am asking you to protect the J-1 Camp Counselor program and the use of the Summer Work Travel program by America’s summer camps, as these programs are critical to the development of our children—the future of America.

Sincerely,

Parent of a Camper