PITTSBURGH, Dec. 14, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is making available incentive grants of $1,000 to local Jewish families wishing to send their children to a full session of Jewish overnight summer camp for the first time in summer 2011.
Last summer 70 local children took advantage of the grants program, which is funded by the Federation Foundation's Centennial Fund for a Jewish Future (CFJF) in partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Camp. The program provides children with an experience proven to be one of the most effective tools for building Jewish identity and a strong connection to the Jewish community.
Participating families can apply their grants at any approved Jewish summer camp, with options ranging from programs affiliated with movements of Judaism to those affiliated with specific organizations and Jewish Community Centers. These offerings run the gamut from programs that immerse campers in Jewish ritual, to those that focus on Jewish cultural enrichment.
The CFJF, a permanent endowment that generates funds to support innovative programs and tried-and-true activities that build Jewish identity, has set Jewish overnight summer camp as a top funding priority.
"Jewish overnight camp immerses children in a fun and engaging community of peers and role models," said Cynthia Shapira, co-chair along with her husband David, of the Jewish Federation Foundation and the CFJF. "That intensive experience has the unique power to shape and reinforce values and ideas and, consequently, make an incredible impact on children's sense of identity."
Extensive research has been done to determine the major factors in giving today's Jewish adults a strong background and commitment to Jewish life and the Jewish community.
Among the resulting statistics are the following:
- 41% of those who have attended Jewish summer camp felt a strong attachment to Israel, as opposed to only 14% of those who never attended Jewish camp.
- Parents who themselves went to Jewish summer camp are more than 2 1/2 times as likely to send their own children to a Jewish camp.
- 30% of parents who had gone to Jewish summer camp sent their children on Israel travel programs, as opposed to only 4% of parents who had never attended Jewish camp.
"Summer camp is fun," Cynthia Shapira said. "But it also has been proven to be one of the strongest transmitters of Jewish identity. If our children can have fun while we work toward ensuring a next generation of caring, committed Jews, it's a win-win situation."
Families wishing to apply for a grant should visit the website OneHappyCamper.org. For families whose children attend Jewish day school, please contact Sally Stein at the Jewish Federation, 412.992.5243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh