Camp VS. School: Is There Enough Value To Camp
By Rabbi Moishe Kievman - Chabad Chayil
June 15, 2023
With the school year coming to a close, many children are now looking forward to going to camp, while some parents are on the fence. They’re not sure if there’s enough value in camp to justify their investment. Afterall, to run a propper camp is not cheap. Especially with the new inflation on everything, think of what it costs just for eggs! Besides, for some children, they’ve gotten used to and are actually happy to hide behind a mask. In addition to basic social reasons, here’s some food for thought for those parents that may be on the fence.
Camp is the most special time of a child's year. In a way, it’s the most educational part of their year. Unlike school, where kids are in learning mode and not always excited to go school, camp is fun, full of exciting activities and always looked forward to by all kids! They're in a great mood and ready to soak things in!
Many kids who have a difficult time memorizing what they learn in school, have a much easier time memorizing camp songs and every silly skit & shtick they see in camp. They remember it with every hand movement, detail & nuance. The same kid who's failing school is excelling in camp!
For this reason, The Rebbe established the first Camp Gan Israel in New York 67 years ago, with the goal to capture the best of the child's year and infuse it with good character traits and a noninvasive education that kids look forward to.
Gan means a garden - a pleasurable place to spend time and where things grow. Israel, in addition to being the name of all Jews, is also the name of the Founder of Chassidim, the great Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. Thus, Camp Gan Israel (CGI or Gan Izzy as it's lovingly known) is a garden where kids grow in every way, from learning how to be a Mensch to the proper way for a Jew to tie his shoes.
Between overnight camps and day camps, today there are over 500 Camp Gan Israels, with close to a quarter of a million campers attending this summer! For our local Camp Gan Israel in Highland Lakes, activities include: Swimming, Cooking, Sports, Arts & Crafts, Boating, Survival, Crazy Science, Kabala 101, Team Building, Field Trips & Tons of Fun!
When Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov was a child of five years old, his father said to him: "My son, have no fear from anyone, except G‑d. Love every Yid, whoever he may be and however he may be, with all the fire of your soul!" These two things - The Rebbe taught - fear of G‑d and love of our fellow man, accompanied the Baal Shem Tov throughout his life and was the guiding force to his holy work. And it's these 2 things that are infused in every child that attends a Camp Gan Israel.
We, therefore, focus many activities on getting rid of children's fears. From swimming lessons with professional instructors to encouraging kids to play a sport that they're not yet good at. From animal therapy to exploring new kinds of art, children are fully immersed in exploring new experiences. And when kids learn to let go of fears together with other kids, there's a magical bond that develops between them! A bond that is sure to last a lifetime!
Kiddie Camp is for preschoolers aged 18 months through 4 years old, while the regular camp is for boys and girls ages 5 to 12. You can find a Camp Gan Israel in just about every county in Florida, with 2 dozen chapters right here in South Florida alone! To learn more about the camp, go to: www.ChabadChayil.org/camp - Or call: (305) 770-1919.
About The Author
Rabbi Kievman together with his wife are the ambassadors of The Rebbe to Highland Lakes, FL. They are the founders of CHAP - an afterschool program for Jewish children in Public Schools and direct Chabad Chayil. He’s the Rabbi at The Family Shul and can be reached at: (305) 770-1919. Or: rabbi@ChabadChayil.org
Photos: (L) The Rebbe established the first Camp Gan Israel in New York 67 years ago, with the goal to capture the best of the child's year and infuse it with good character traits and a noninvasive education that kids look forward to. (R) Local Camp Gan Israel in Highland Lakes, activities include: Swimming, Cooking, Sports, Arts & Crafts, Boating, Survival, Crazy Science, Kabala 101, Team Building, Field Trips & Tons of Fun