I came to go to many different camps as a young person, and then to work at a few as well. Pretty much every summer as a teenager. After a few years off, I returned to working at camp - this time for the first time at a sleepaway camp - Camp Hess Kramer in Malibu, CA. CHK (as it is called), is a Jewish sleepaway camp in the Reform movement and it is where I learned to appreciate Jewish immersion, Jewish joy, Jewish song, identity, dance, and the rhythm of a Jewish day.
Jewish summer camp is not for everybody. It can bring up all kinds of feelings about class, politics, exclusion, insularity, and inadequacy. This is a basic list of the neuroses and fears I had about the idea of spending every day all day with only Jews doing Jewish things.
Then I met the Reconstructionist movement's camp, Camp Havaya (formerly called Camp JRF), and things started to shift for me. It was basically a camp for a lot of people who had my fears and neuroses - people who wanted radical inclusivity, Jewish positivity, financial accessibility, fun, identity-building, and evolving. It was a delight and a relief to find others who wanted something similar there. This summer, the Reconstructionist movement opens a new camp - one that is specifically arts based - in Southern California, and they are inviting people in Reconstructionist communities up and down the West Coast (and anywhere else) to give it a good look. They have some remarkable financial aid packages with a commitment to make camp accessible to anyone who wants to attend. Imagine your young person flourishing in an environment designed for quirky, artsy, brilliant, talented Jewish young people - infused with many of the Reconstructionist values that Kadima also aspires to.
On Saturday, February 3, Julianne Schwartz, assistant director of Havaya Arts will pay a visit to Kadima School to meet parents and bring some of her talents as a performer and youth leader to our young people and adults, while also making herself available to meet parents, answer questions, and let perspective camper families know of some ways to make camp accessible.
Help us welcome Julianne to Kadima on Saturday and bring your questions!