Invest in the Future of a Child

Preserving Jewish Identity, Values and Culture Through The Gift Of Summer Camp

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THE CHALLENGE

In today’s overwhelmingly secular world, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep our children connected to their Jewish heritage, culture and traditions. Without strong ties to their religion and each other, youth and young adults are less likely to make Judaism an integral part of their own families and communities as they mature. The population of those who identify as Reform or Conservative Jews continues to decrease at an alarming rate.

In particular, families who do not have the means to afford Jewish camp find the opportunities for their children are even more limited.

OUR VISION

Our goal is that all Jewish youth will have the opportunity to find meaningful connections to their Jewish identity, and carry that into adulthood, where they can share it with others.

TURNING THE TIDE

The research is clear: participation in Jewish summer camp has a tremendously positive impact on campers’ adult Jewish life. They are:

  • 45% more likely to attend synagogue at least once per month

  • 10% more likely to marry a Jewish partner

  • 55% more likely to feel very emotionally attached to Israel

  • 21% more likely to feel that being Jewish is very important

Not only that, the Jewish camp experience turns youth into leaders: 70% of young Jewish leaders in their 20s and 30s attended Jewish summer camp.

CAMP LAURELWOOD'S ROLE IN JEWISH IDENTITY

Here in Connecticut, the best way to enhance and increase Jewish identity in our youth, and help sustain our proud heritage, is Camp Laurelwood. Since 1937, Laurelwood has integrated Jewish traditions and culture into a judgment-free summer camp program where each child can find their own comfort level with their religion, and live American values through a Jewish lens. 

In the “bubble” of camp, they are no longer in the minority, but instead enjoy an inclusive environment where they can be themselves. As Camp Laurelwood is not associated with a particular movement within Judaism, we welcome and support a wide variety of Jewish tradition, values and celebrations.

YOUR PARTNERSHIP IS NEEDED NOW

Providing a first-rate, engaging Jewish overnight summer camp experience, complete with kosher meals and Shabbat services, is an expensive endeavor.  While many of our camp families are able to afford the full cost of this invaluable experience for their children, many others are not. Although they see the value, and wish for their children to share in this Jewish rite of passage, they simply do not have the financial resources.

In reality, every camper at Laurelwood benefits from financial assistance, as camp tuition is subsidized by as much as 30% to ensure it remains affordable. It is through our annual campaign that we are able to maintain the rates our families need.

As someone who cares deeply about Camp Laurelwood and supporting our Jewish heritage, you have a unique opportunity to join us in ensuring that every child who wants to attend camp this summer will have that opportunity.

Your contribution to our annual campaign will provide direct financial assistance for campers who will grow up to help carry on our traditions.

Camp Laurelwood only exists because of the many families who have participated in
and supported it over the past 79 years. As the last remaining Jewish overnight camp in Connecticut, your partnership is vital to ensuring that we are here for future generations of children.

Join with us now by making your investment in our community and helping to ensure that every Jewish child can embrace and celebrate our religion and culture through summer camp. The return on your investment will be the most rewarding you’ve experienced.

 

Please Read "Jason's Story"

Making a Difference That Lasts A Lifetime

Each summer, Jason’s friends would go off to Laurelwood, leaving him alone in the community. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to go – his family believed that they couldn’t afford it. It seemed to Jason to be just another situation in which the world was judging him based on financial status.

However, they then learned of Laurelwood’s financial assistance program, which allowed him to attend for four weeks the next summer. While Jason was excited to be going, it was tempered by the chip on his shoulder, expecting to be ostracized because he was there on scholarship.

To his amazement, however, Laurelwood provided a “wildly different” atmosphere, where “no one cared about status” and “the culture was one of inclusion.” Camp was a “safe, structured environment where [he] could let down [his] guard and just enjoy being a kid, making lifelong friendships.”

Jason attended camp for two more summers, and continued for six more years as a staff member. While Jason never fully understood the impact and value of his experience and the importance of the financial assistance at the time, as an adult he sees his time at Laurelwood as the most formative years of his life – laying the groundwork for a life of confidence, personal achievement and financial success.

To that end, Jason has become an ardent camp parent, board member and supporter, giving generously of both of his time and money to ensure that other children can benefit from the Laurelwood experience as much as he did.