Jake Karp of Livingston is the 1,000th local recipient of a $1,000 One Happy Camper grant toward his first summer at Jewish overnight camp.
The $1,000 grants are gifts from the Foundation for Jewish Camp and local donors, made through the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. They were established as an outreach tool for families who may not otherwise consider sending their children to Jewish camp.
Since the start of the program in 2007, campers across the GMW region have received grants toward more than 50 different Jewish overnight camps across North America.
Grants are still available for summer 2013, and will again be available for summer 2014.
Jake headed off on June 25 to Camp Nah-Jee-Wah at NJY Camps in Milford, Pa., for his first full season of camp. He formed his connection to NJY Camps last summer by attending a Family Camp weekend and taking part in “short-stay” activities.
“Until you are in an environment where you are living, laughing, and growing with Jewish peers, you don’t realize how special that shared background is,” said his mother, Suki Karp. “We are so thrilled that our son loved his short stay last summer” and is now headed to camp.
Jake said he couldn’t wait to dive into the huge array of camp activities, from the giant waterslide and jet-skiing to high ropes, and was especially looking forward to the Baseball Specialty Camp program hosted by former New York Yankee Ron Blomberg.
Awarded to children ages seven-17 regardless of family income, the One Happy Camper grants can be used toward any of 150-plus Jewish overnight camps, including sports specialty camps, outdoor adventure, teen programs, camps for children with special needs, and traditional sleep-away camps. They are provided through One Happy Camper NJ, a program of GMW federation’s Jewish identity agency, the Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life, which also provides free, personalized assistance to help local families select the right camp for their child.
The camps are intended to help youngsters cultivate self-confidence, independence, and knowledge of their Jewish heritage, while participating in fun activities and forming lifelong friendships. For details about the $1,000 grant and free camp guidance, visit OneHappyCamperNJ.org or contact Tracy Levine at tracy@OneHappyCamperNJ.org or 973-929-2970.