For many young people in the FSU, Jewish camping is their initial link to accessing and fostering their Jewish identities and their connections to Jewish life, peoplehood and the State of Israel. To ensure that the approximately 7,500 campers (a summer) who attend one of the more than 150 camps in the FSU have a uniquely outstanding Jewish experience, there is a real need to increase the level of professionalism of camp counselors and other camp staff. Currently, most of the local counselors at the summer camps are young, with little or no training and often work in Jewish camping for one to two years only.
With the aim of further developing and strengthening Jewish camping in the FSU, the Israel-based Dor Camping Group is working in nine FSU countries (in 14 cities), operating trainings for camp educational personnel, developing curricula and content for these trainings, as well as programming for local camps. The results will produce a cadre of local and post-army Israeli Russian-speaking counselors and educational leaders, all of who are committed to working between two to five years in summer camps in the FSU.
Group workshops and trainings will focus on Jewish Identity, Peoplehood and the connection to Israel and will cover practical and theoretical instruction. Trainings for 115 Russian-speaking Israeli counselors – 60 new counselors and 55 senior counselors – will take place in Israel. Training sessions for 210 new FSU-based counselors will take place in 14 cities across the region. The age range of local counselors will be between 16 and 25; most of the trainees being recruited are themselves former campers from local camps. Trainings will be run by Israeli experts and will include strengthening knowledge and skills and developing camp programming. In addition to trainings for counselors, the programs will also train 14 Israeli tutors and mentors who will provide support to camp staffers.
The Pincus Fund for Jewish Education is a strong supporter of trainings for Jewish educators in formal and informal settings throughout the diaspora. The Pincus Fund is pleased to have the opportunity to impact so significantly on this generation of Jewish youngsters, so as to help safeguard a Jewish future in the FSU in the years to come.