Lindsey Feldman, a 6th grade student, had planned to spend the night at her local JCC camp this past July. When the summer of 2020 ravaged the Jewish camping world and closed dozen of camps across the United States, Lindsey was one of thousands of Jewish girls who looked for alternatives.
Then her parents heard about CGI Poconos, the only Jewish overnight camp for public school children, which had pledged to keep its doors open despite the pandemic. In the summer of 2020, despite all the adversities, CGI Poconos carried out its unique summer program in compliance with all Covid regulations. Lindsey and the girls she met at camp enjoyed a natural, spiritually deep camping experience that ignited their souls in ways they could never have imagined.
Now that other camps are trying to recreate themselves, CGI Poconos is soaring and building on its previous success, attracting more children than ever before.
In preparation for Season 10, the camp is working with one of the most extensive high ropes courses in the northeast to offer its campers enhanced climbing adventures throughout the summer. The first high and low ropes course includes challenging trusses, zip lines, climbing walls and first-class professional instructors. In addition, the camp offers an expanded water sports program with various opportunities for boating and fishing, as well as a wide range of art, sports, theater and classic camping adventures.
While Directors are excited about the expanded options, this focus on physical challenges and nature-related activities is not new to CGI Poconos. “By immersing our campers in nature and challenging them both physically and emotionally, we lay the foundation for a deeply spiritual experience,” says founder and managing director. Gershon Sandler. “Like most American children, our campers spend their lives surrounded by screens, technology, and society’s outward-looking ideals. At camp, we value a profound, screen-free environment that enables our campers to truly be themselves and connect deeply with their peers and their Judaism. It changes life and makes it better! “
With the pandemic affecting many parents’ ability to cover the cost of the camp, Sandler insists on making the camp accessible to all campers despite financial difficulties. “After being here for ten years, we are seeing the lifelong impact our camp has on the girls and we need to make this available to any girl who is interested.” he says. Many of the camp’s alumni have attended Jewish high schools, CTeen, Chabad on campus and even a seminar in Israel.
With nearly 100 campers already registered, CGI Poconos is preparing to award grants worth over $ 150,000. A group of dedicated supporters is working this week to start a charidy campaign on Pesach Sheini to help cover the cost of these scholarships.
“Pesach Sheini is all about second chances. Let’s give every Jewish girl a second chance to experience the beauty of Yiddishness. ” Explain the campaign manager.
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Over the past 10 years, over 100 Shluchim have sent children from their Chabad homes to CGI Poconos, and over 500 happy campers have gone through the program. As new registrations are received every day, there are still some places available for employees aged 18 and over
who are experienced and passionate about working with public school girls. Interested applicants can submit Here.
For more information, visit www.cgipoconos.org Call or email the camp office at 845.425.0903 [email protected]