By Stephanie Bolmer
This fall, a new initiative is kicking off which will bring more Jewish Day School students into the Jewish Community Center. The newly created Mark Klein Vacation Camp aims to bring Camp JCC fun to JDS students on days when school is out.
On Jewish holidays and teacher in-service days when the JDS is closed, their students will be able to attend vacation camp programming at the JCC for no additional charge. This will include 17 full days and two half days next year for JDS students in pre-K through 8th grade.
“We see this as a way to get our JDS students to feel like the JCC is their second home and to get our students excited about all the incredible offerings the JCC has, from summer camp to the pool to Soccer Shots and Stagemakers,” said Amy Golding, JDS head of school.
A main catalyst behind making this new program a reality is the generosity of Mark Klein, z”l, and his wife, Patty, through a gift to the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley.
“Mark was a fun-loving man who himself loved camp,” said Jeri Zimmerman, executive director of the Jewish Federation. “When I spoke to Patty about this idea, she thought it would be a wonderful way of remembering him.”
The Federation will provide supplemental funding so that all students who pay tuition to go to the JDS are able to participate.
“We are thrilled to be able to support the collaboration between the JDS and the JCC and to enrich the lives of families in our community,” said Israel Zighelboim, co-chair of the Federation’s Community Planning Committee, which is working to bring this and other future collaborative projects between the JDS and JCC to life.
The JCC is equally enthusiastic about this new venture.
“It’s like a win-win-win,” said JCC executive director Eric Lightman. “It’s a win for JDS and a win for the JCC, and it’s a win for the Jewish children in the community. This is really a first step as we continue to explore what the synergies are between our programs and opportunities to work together to build our Jewish community.”