Only a few days away from our 7th biennial convening of the field, Leaders Assembly in Baltimore, we have record-breaking registration – over 760 participants and still growing!

As we celebrate 20 years since the creation of Foundation for Jewish Camp, we rededicate ourselves to continuing to grow and evolve together – day and overnight camp professionals, lay leaders, funders, and philanthropists, communal professionals and Jewish educators – to advance the field.

At Leaders Assembly 2018, for the first time, we will be joined by a contingent of Jewish camp professionals from around the world!  We look forward to sharing with and learning from representatives from Belarus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Sweden, the UK, and Ukraine.

With the partnership and vision of The Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe (RFHE), along with the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Union for Progressive Judaism, our field is going global. The Rothschild Foundation Hanadive Europe shared with me, “RFHE is exploring ways of supporting European Jewish camps to deliver richer Jewish experiences. This year, we are bringing a delegation of European Jewish camps professionals to the Leaders Assembly to learn, to contribute and to be inspired.” I know that we are going to learn from each other and share experiences and practices that will enrich our holy work of strengthening the Jewish future.

I often say that our camp directors have the most complex jobs in the Jewish community. They do the work of CEOs, CFOs, fundraisers, community organizers, Jewish educators, social workers, health care workers, and so much more. Imagine, then, what is must be like to be the director of Glamsta, the only Jewish camp in Sweden where the Jewish population is estimated at around 20,000. Located two hours outside of Stockholm, the camp was donated by to the Stockholm Jewish community and is the most successful of all of the community’s activities, with older campers vying for the limited and coveted counselor spots. The camp struggles with many of the same challenges our North American Jewish camps face: affordability and Jewish impact to name just two. Leaders Assembly promises to address these issues and more.

Camp Szarvas, in Hungary, sponsored by the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee will also be in attendance.  At this extremely successful model of modern Jewish camping, around 1500 Jewish campers from over 20 countries attend each summer. Szarvas is doing the work of building vibrant Jewish future for all of Europe, with a kosher dining facility, Jewish programming and of course, campfires.

Leaders Assembly participants, prepare to be inspired by our global colleagues, as we consider the bright future of the world of Jewish camping. I look forward to seeing you in Baltimore in just a few days.

If you cannot make it to Leaders Assembly, follow along with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates and live streaming from the gathering.