Usually the week or two before the public schools begin their fall semester, children in the greater Chattanooga area have a unique opportunity to learn the importance of community service and how they can make a difference. Children who have taken advantage of Philanthropy Camp and Camp Tikkun Olam as elementary and middle school students have the opportunity to use their camp experience for community service credit. This year, Chambliss Children’s Center, Chattanooga Area Food Bank, Chattanooga Nature Center, Neema Resettlement, Calsted Senior Housing, The Samaritan Center, Metropolitan Ministries, Humane Educational Society, and HART Gallery among other local nonprofit organizations are all providing opportunities for children to assist them in fulfilling their missions. Religious institutions including B’nai Zion Congregation, Mizpah Congregation, Anglican Church of the Redeemer and others will provide lessons in compassion.
The camps run concurrently for one week at the end of July/beginning of August (depending on secular school schedules) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are open to all children regardless of religion. Cost: $130 for first child and $110 for siblings. Scholarships are available.
We need to give our kids a reason for compassion that is greater than self-interest. Faith has historically provided that reason. Philanthropy Camp is aimed at creating a new generation of donors and volunteers, Jewish and non-Jewish, through a week long program of activities. Rising first through rising sixth grade students make overnight kits for the homeless shelter, play Minute-to-Win-It at an assisted living facility, create portable gardens for inner city elders, and enjoy a lunch with elders and community leaders. The creation of Caretown, using recycled materials to create an ideal town complete with animal shelter, fire departments, public gardens, and community centers, etc. is an annual favorite, and helps children further grasp the concept of charitable giving and living.
Philanthropy Camp is a one-week day camp designed to provide children (rising first through rising sixth grade) with opportunities to “give back” to others and to understand the positive differences they can make in their community. Through hands-on-activities, games, field trips, speakers, art and drama, campers will explore the concept of and the relationship between philanthropy, faith, family and community. A community lunch with elders and local leaders, learning songs in English and Hebrew, and creating Caretown (a recyclable model community based on what campers have learned) are all part of the camp experience.
Arts educator Lolly Durant (visual art), an Israeli cultural emissary, and trained teens are all key members of the camp’s leadership team.This year the co-director for Philanthropy Camp is A. J. Morgan, a senior at UTK where he is pursuing a degree in Food Science and Technology. A Baylor graduate, he has received numerous awards for his dedication to community service. At UTK he serves as a Clinic Vols volunteer, offering basic first aid to local Knox County schools which can’t afford nursing staff. He serves as an Ignite Serves Team Leader teaching freshman about the importance of giving back to the global community. A.J. served as Philanthropy Camp’s Lead Counselor for two years.
This year’s Lead Counselor is Rachel Raisin from Dalton, Georgia. She has the distinction of being the longest serving counselor for camp, 7 years. A recent GPS graduate, she was awarded the Patsy Williams Scott Service Award, was the only teen to present a TedTalk in Chattanooga, and has held several leadership positions. All of the counselors receive training in first aid. Four teens from the Hadera region in Israel will also be assisting with an afternoon of global service programming.
Camp Tikkun Olam
Camp Tikkun Olam participants provide services such as delivering Meals-On-Wheels with client visits, completing a river clean-up at the Nature Center, and filling back-to-school backpacks along with Family Promise. For rising seventh through rising ninth grade students. Students in rising tenth through twelfth grade become counselors.
Camp Tikkun Olam is designed to provide hands-on service to local non-profit organizations, discuss the mission of those organizations, and at the end of camp award a small financial donation to one of the organizations. This year campers will use videos to document the good work they have accomplished during camp.
Camp Tikkun Olam’s Coordinator this year is Kristen Schwindt. Kristen is working on her Master’s Degree in Social Work at Southern Adventist University and is interning under the Jewish Federation’s Director of Social Services, Rebecca Peck.
Camps take place from July 31 through August 4, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with early drop-off starting at 8:30 a.m. and late pick-up until 4:30 p.m.. The cost for camp is $130 per camp and $110 for each additional sibling. A limited number of scholarships are available.
Philanthropy Camp and Camp Tikkun Olam are joint programs of Chattanooga First Church of the Nazarene and the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga. These camps are open to all children regardless of religious affiliation.
For more information or to register for camp, please contact the Jewish Federation at 423 493-0270, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.jewishchattanooga.com.