Two weeks ago, our entire full-time team spent a week attending two significant conferences in the camping community – the Foundation for Jewish Camp Leaders Assembly, and the American Camp Association Tri-State Conference.

2016 J-Camp Group Photo

Every other year, the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) brings together over 750 camp professionals, lay leaders, educators, and philanthropists to spend three days sharing, learning and networking at Leaders Assembly.  Sessions ranged from creating a culture of service at camp, to bringing 21st century skills to our campers, to empowering your camp staff.  This was my third Leaders Assembly, but the first time I was asked to present in one of the breakout sessions. As every camp parent knows, as soon as your child returns home from the summer you receive emails from us asking (sometimes over and over!) for you to share your feedback with us on our annual Parent Satisfaction Survey. Every year we take the feedback we receive and look at how we can make meaningful change – whether it relates to the way we train our staff to meet the individual needs of each camper, how kids have the opportunity to customize their camp program, or even the system we use for tracking incoming phone calls so we can respond to parent calls in a timely manner.  Perlman is one of the camps that has seen the most success in recent years on truly using parent feedback to improve the camper experience, and I was thrilled to be able to share how we do this with other camps.

We were fortunate to have two members of our summer staff join us at Leaders Assembly this year. Candice Goldstein and Kelsey Maxwell had a great time attending sessions, meeting with other seasonal camp staff, and bringing lots of new ideas back for the upcoming summer. Here’s a note from Kelsey about her experience at Leaders – we are so glad she could be there with us!

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending Leaders camp conference right down the road from where I attend grad school (Go RU!).  It was an amazing few days filled with more camp people than I’ve ever seen together in one place before and let me tell you: it was incredible.  I had the opportunity to learn from many talented camp professionals, network with people from other camps, and catch up with old friends. One major takeaway for me from the conference was just how much love I truly have for camp and learning more about the world of Jewish camping.  Everyone that I met was incredibly passionate about what they do and inspired me to continue to learn more about camp and grow both as a person and as a professional.  The conference showed me just how amazing camp is all around the U.S. and I can’t wait to attend more conferences like these and, of course, I can’t wait for summer 2016!!!

After Leaders Assembly, our team headed out to Atlantic City, where the American Camp Association (ACA) holds their annual Tri-State Conference. This is a completely different type of camp conference – with over 3500 attendees representing camps of all types across the country. With over 150 sessions to choose from, topics include everything from creating a cooking program
at camp, to risk management to creating an inclusive camp community. It’s an opportunity for everyone to attend sessions that interest them and bring new and exciting ideas back to camp this summer. One of the highlights of the Tri-State Conference is the exhibit hall. Vendors include everything from aqua jumps and other water toys, to gaga pits, athletics equipment, new food
products and more. It’s a chance for us to check out new games, see what’s new on the market, and start making plans for the future (like for our gym renovations in 2017!)

We had an excellent time bonding as a team and learning new things, and we have some great new ideas for Summer 2016. We’re really looking forward to sharing it all with you in under 100 days – it’s getting closer!

Rachel Levine
Camp Director