Sunday, March 29, 2009

Camp Background Story

A couple of years ago, while doing the dishes, an idea was seeded~

The idea was to start a new Jewish overnight summer camp based on environmentalism, social justice and spirituality.

To start something new, to build something new, to conjure our ideals, best practices and passions and pour them into something that will dramatically and positively affect this world, our world.

With amazing help from friends and family (community), we (founders Yoni Stadlin and Vivian Lehrer) started writing down the dream. A few months later, we found out about a new generous grant from the Foundation for Jewish Camp. The FJC wanted to start 5 new specialty camps, and had the money to do so from a major funder called the Jim Joseph Foundation. We spent months and many nights working on the many elements of the proposal, and the day after our wedding found out that our camp was accepted!

The grant asks that we do not buy or build a new camp, and instead rent an empty camp. On a synchronistic Monday afternoon, both the New York Federation and Yoni called the same friend (angel). The Federation commented, as an aside, to this angel that they had an empty camp and were looking for a Jewish environmental leadership camp vision... minutes later, we called the angel to tell her about our camp!

Sooo, we have a home! The site is 248 acres, with an 8-acre lake, pool, hills, bunks, kitchen & cafeteria, fields, space; it is an hour and fifteen minutes north of New York City, near the town of Cold Spring. There was a camp running at the site up until a few years ago. The site could definitely use some love. Campers are not coming until the summer of 2010, so we have this summer to build the farm, build some trails, pop up some yurts and clean the place up (see D-tails section for more about this summer).

An amazing organization called the Jewish Farm School has joined with us and will be planting, harvesting and teaching from the land. The camp will have a zero waste goal, use renewable energies, have a working organic farm, and use green building practices. The camp will be for all genders and all kinds of Jewish kids. There is a whole lot to write about the camp, and we hope that you will join the conversation.

We feel an exceptionally humongous amount of gratitude, and are having an incredible time building this dream. And hey, if you know of any kids or counselors or families that you think may be interested, please let us know!

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