Every year my college friends and I get together for a “girl’s retreat” to catch-up on life and enjoy our long-lasting relationships. Topics of conversation have varied greatly over the years, but at this point they naturally gravitate toward our children.
Last year as we sat around thinking about summer plans, someone in our group expressed interest in teaching our young children about giving back to the community. It turned out that one of my friends had started a program in her home town with other families – a one-week community service camp for elementary-age children.
Of course! In thinking about my own children, who attend one of Baltimore’s Jewish day schools, I’m happy to say that they know something about community service and performing mitzvahs. But the idea of a one-week summer experience with multiple mitzvah projects really made sense to take it to the next level.
After receiving enthusiastic responses from other families in my area, I contacted Jewish Volunteer Connection and made the suggestion. Before we knew it, “Camp Tzedek: Little Hands Doing Big Things” was the newest pilot program for the summer of 2012.
We then asked ourselves what should these youngsters do for their mitzvah projects during the one-week camp period? Spend a morning at Kayam Farm learning about the environment? Yes. Visit Weinberg Village and get to know some of the senior residents? Great. Listen to a speaker from Healthcare for the Homeless and create care packages? Absolutely. As long as this experience stuck to the goal of exploring the Jewish people’s role in Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) through interactive and fun activities, the possibilities were (and are) endless.
And, naturally, knowing that it is still camp, we plan to offer traditional camp activities, including swimming and games every day.
Thanks to a conversation started by moms and the hard work of Jewish Volunteer Connection, Jewish Baltimore has a new way to engage our children.
For more information, contact Dayna Leder at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-843-7491.