Nowadays summer camps offer a variety of options to children and parents.
Video courtesy of jn1.tv
In Frankfurt there are several summer camps opened for the Jewish community, and one of the most popular is Camp Gan founded in 1956 in Israel. Today Camp Gan network serves the Jewish world with camps in more than 40 countries.
“We are doing all the things that there is also in other camps," says Camp Gan Director Sterni Havlin. "We are going to swim, we are playing outside, we are going to trips, but all the things are with a Jewish atmosphere."
For many children, especially for those who do not attend Jewish schools or live in a strong Jewish community, Camp Gan is their first real experience of living a fully Jewish life. And they live this experience while having fun.
"It's about enjoying themselves first of all," says senior counselor Dini Raskin. "It’s summer, it’s vacation, so we are trying to put as many Jewish elements into it in a fun way, through singing, through art.”
“For example," adds Havlin, "we have one kashrut day that means the kids learn which special food a Jew is supposed to eat… The kids know everything here is kosher, so nobody is bringing anything from the home because our camp is a kosher camp.”
What do you think the parents expect from the camp?
“First they want to give their children the Jewish education," says Raskin.
"They want their children to have fun and they expect us to give them a bit more than they usually get, so the kids grow up with the Jewish pride, so they know who they are and that they are Jewish.”
Jewish summer camps combine the activities, friendships and communal life of traditional summer camps with Jewish culture and values. They are an entry point into a lifelong Jewish community, and the friends you make at summer camp as a child often stick with you through college and beyond.