A Community of Camps

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A community is a group of people living in the same area, sharing common interests, and sharing common goals. At each of the three Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds sites we have a group of camps located in close proximity to each other that want to provide the best possible program for their campers, maximize their programmatic and financial resources, and give their campers and staff the best summer of their lives. The Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds makes it possible for this “COMMUNITY OF CAMPS” to exist and flourish.

In his  book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten a few of the things Robert Fulghum tells us are: “share everything; play fair; put things back where you found them; and when you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together”. Our agency camp directors model these life lessons and what it means to be a community every day when they work together and create partnerships with each other to fulfill their common goals. Our agency camps work together in many different ways.


In Long Island this year the Suffolk Y JCC Summer Camps received a grant from UJA-Federation of New York to create the Israel Here and Now Project. The program is implemented and staffed by the Suffolk Y JCC for the benefit of all of the camps on the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds.

The Israel Here and Now Project is an intensive hands on immersion experience into Israel’s history, culture, society, language, historical sites, and cuisine. Campers, CIT’s (Counselor in Training), and staff had the invaluable opportunity to participate in this unique interactive experience that will hopefully translate into increased knowledge, love, and commitment to Israel and the Jewish people.

Through each week’s activities participants learned about the various groups who emigrated to and settled in Israel through food, dance, and song over the topography of the land. Bat-Sheva Slavin, director of the program and the JCC’s Center for Jewish Living, created a huge natural map to help the campers understand and interact with the land of Israel.

The land of Israel, literally!

The land of Israel, literally!

The staff say, "Next year in Jerusalem."

The staff say, “Next year in Jerusalem.”

The Sam Field Y Summer Camps and Central Queens Y came together to give their campers the best in specialty programming. They collaborate and share a variety of specialists in areas like arts and crafts, athletics, music, drama, and ropes course. They’ve even worked together on a great carnival.The Suffolk Y JCC Summer Camps and the Friedberg JCC Family of Camps followed the challenge course principle of working together when the two camps collaborated and applied together for a Sports for Youth grant (a UJA-Federation of New York group) to build a low ropes course to be shared by both agencies.Their proximity to each other on the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds made this a perfect match.

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Two camps, one challenge course.


Moving along to Pearl River, the Y of Washington Heights’ Camp Yomawah and JCC in Manhattan’s Day Camp @ Pearl River have been working together for years. Together they built a climbing tower and multipurpose athletic court to be enjoyed by the campers in both camps. The camps take turns each year in hiring the climbing tower specialists.

Since 2009, with what started with a Sports for Youth grant, the JCC on the Hudson has been coordinating “Inter-Camp Games” for all the camps on the Pearl River site that want to participate. The camps compete in a variety of sporting events like softball, track, and swimming. The emphasis is on spirit, fair play and appropriate competition. The goal is to make the experience fun and something that the campers will remember for a long time.



A great game of basketball on the multi-sport court.

Basketball is so much better on our multipurpose athletic court.

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“On Belay.” “Ready to climb”

At our Staten Island site, the SI JCC’s Lillian Schwartz Day Camp and New Country Day Camp of the 14th Street Y came up with a great way to work together. The Lillian Schwartz Day Camp built a new fifteen element ropes challenge course this year. Last year New Country Day Camp built a new amphitheater. So this summer staff from Lillian Schwartz is leading some New Country camper groups on the ropes course and in return New Country gives Lillian Schwartz access to use the amphitheater for some of their programs. That’s what I call a win-win for everyone!

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Lillian Schwartz Day Camp really appreciates using New Country Day Camp’s amphitheater for their show.

We all know what it means to be part of a team but do you know what TEAM really stands for – Together Everyone Achieves More! And that’s just what happens when our “COMMUNITY OF CAMPS” put their heads and hearts together to work on a project that benefits all involved.

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