There may still be snow in the mountains, but at the Merage JCC the staff is preparing for summer camp fun. The JCC runs three summer camps: Camp Yeladim for preschoolers; Camp Haverim Day Camp for children and teens from kindergarten through eleventh grade; and Camp Yofi Resident Camp in the San Bernardino Mountains for grades two through eleven. Both Camp Yeladim and Haverim have their home base at the Merage Jewish Community Center campus in Irvine. All the JCC’s camps are grouped under the umbrella of “JCamps” which allows parents with children at various ages and stages to find their appropriate camps in one convenient location. The JCC will host a camp fair with activities, treats and a raffle on February 27 from 2 to 4 p.m., enabling parents and children to meet with the camp directors. Parents who register their children by March 1 will be able to receive the savings benefit of the JCC’s Early Bird camp rates.
Audra Martin, the JCC’s Children, Teen and Camp Haverim Director, is enthusiastic about all the JCC’s camps programs. “We are so excited to be able to offer families a wide variety of summer camp options. Our camp programs are available for children of all ages and each camp offers unique Jewish camping experiences for your child. We look forward to having new and returning campers join us this summer to create memorable Jewish camping experiences and friendships. As a staff team, we are here to meet the needs of each family and help them design a summer camp experience that works best for their children.” Camp Yeladim and Haverim will be offering three camp sessions beginning June 27 and running through August 26. For working parents, extended care is available through the mini-camps and pre- and post-care programs.
Camp Yeladim for Preschoolers
Camp Yeladim for ages 2-5, offers preschoolers a summer camp experience in the safe, state of-the art environment of the Merage JCC’s Early Childhood Learning Center. Camp Yeladim is headed by JCC Preschool Director Peter Blair with a staff of credentialed and highly trained Early Childhood Educators who will guide children through a summer of making new friends, learning, creativity, imagination and of course, lots of fun! Yeladim campers all enjoy story time with props and expression; splish, splash water play with sensory tables, sprinklers, and slides; messy hands-on art activities and crafts; movin’ and groovin’ with music and movement; science including cooking, baking and other “magical science”, Shabbat through the senses; drama; and sports. According to Peter Blair, “Each preschool age unit is designed to maximize their day camp experience.”
Summer Day Camp Haverim for Children and Teens is ACA Accredited
Camp Haverim for grades K-11, offers children a Jewish day camping experience that is accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA). According to Camp Director Audra Martin, ”Camp Haverim is all about fun and friendships. At the Merage JCC’s incredible facility, your camper can participate and excel in sports, swimming, science, arts and crafts, theater and Judaic activities. Our slogan is ‘Camp is short, play hard’ and we offer campers new fun activities each summer.”
K’Ton Ton “Tiny Tots”(entering Kindergarten) and Ruach (entering first grade)campers will have age-appropriate, high energy, non-stop, fun-filled days with instructional and recreational swim, arts and crafts, cooking, sports, Israeli culture, music, science, computers, adventures in rock climbing, and special theme days.
Chai “Life”(entering 2nd & 3rd grades) campers will have fun learning and developing new skills and building self-confidence while they participate in instructional and recreational swim, science, computers, special theme days, weekly field trips, sports, music, arts and crafts, cooking, Israeli culture, and camp carnival.
The structure of Zahav (entering 4th & 5th grades) meets the ever-changing needs of this energetic age group. Not only will campers participate in regular daily activities, but they will have the freedom to choose a weekly elective. Activities include: instructional and recreational swim, sports, music, arts & crafts, cooking, Israeli culture, theme days, computers, Wii games, crime scene investigation, outrageous popular new games, weekly field trips, and on-site sleepovers at the JCC.
Sabra teens (entering 6th-8th grades) are always on the go, meeting new challenges and gaining independence. Campers will enjoy field trips, recreational swimming, sports, team building, beach days, social action activities, sleepovers and cool trips to theme parks.
New TAG Initiative
This year Camp Haverim will offer a new TAG initiative on Jewish values funded by a grant from the JCC Association. Torah, Avodah, Gemilut Chasadim is an initiative designed to enrich the Jewish components of summer camp with units such as Shabbat, Judaism and the environment, Shalom Bayit and Tikkun Olam. This year’s initiative “The Power of Words” will focus on how words can help or hurt people. Camp Haverim will launch a camp-wide campaign to address the widespread problem of bullying and campers will learn what Jewish tradition teaches. With a focus on Jewish heritage and building Jewish identity, Camp Haverim offers hands-on Judaism through art, music, dance and drama, Jewish values, Ruach (spirit), Shlichim (Israeli counselors) and weekly Shabbat programs.
Camp Yofi Jewish Resident Camp
Camp Yofi, Orange County’s first Jewish resident camp located in Angeles Oaks in the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains is for grades 2-11. Co-directed by Sari Poremba and Sheri Galante, Camp Yofi offers athletics, outdoor adventure, creative arts, theme programs and a complete Jewish cultural experience. Camp Director Sari Poremba states that, “Yofi is a place where children can explore, create, grow with Jewish values and traditions and create memories to last a lifetime. There are a mountain of activities to choose from including zip line and ropes course, canoeing in the lake, archery, sports, crafts, music and drama. “
“Each year our camps offer more and more choices and we have tried to simplify our registration process by making as much as possible available online.” Poremba concludes. For more information about JCamps please call the Merage Jewish Community Center at 949-435-3400 or visit the website at www.jccoc.org .