Bunk counselors are the linchpin of the Jewish camp experience. These important Jewish role models transmit the camps’ ethos to their campers, inspire them to return year after year, and show them how to live Jewishly for the duration of their time at camp and beyond.
Our field research confirms that when a camper returns as a counselor, the impact of the camping experience becomes amplified, as staff internalize the lessons of their own experiences to create similar — or even better — ones for their campers. Beyond the long-lasting impact these counselors have on camp, they develop a strong sense of Jewish pride and identity, as well as a positive imprint on their families, their campuses, and their communities.
In recent years, we have tracked the increasing challenges camps face to recruit and retain counselors due to competition from internships and other pressures. In a typical summer, the field of Jewish camp employs nearly 20,000 Jewish college students. This year in particular, exacerbated by the pandemic, many camps have reported even more difficulties recruiting college-aged counselors. In fact, this year’s counselor recruitment challenges have actually constrained further camper enrollment growth.
To help address this immediate need, FJC recently launched a social media campaign that articulates the benefits of working at camp, especially the return to some normalcy and social engagement after such a long stretch of isolation. The counselors in the campaign video below share why working at camp is undoubtedly the “best job ever”. If you agree, we hope you will share this message with your social networks.
FJC has long invested in the counselor experience. Returning veteran counselors serve as the “cornerstones” of their camp, having spent time maturing into their roles and internalizing and transmitting the mission of their camp community. Next week, we will welcome (virtually) 350 participants to our 19th Cornerstone Fellowship Seminar, a leadership development cohort training, as they embark on the journey of a lifetime as camps prepare to reopen. At the Seminar, they will come together to exchange ideas, attend workshops, and participate in immersive experiences led by creative and leading experts in their fields. Together the Fellows will develop skills to make a positive, innovative impact on their local camp communities this summer and beyond. Stay tuned to our social media channels to see updates from the conference!
Thanks to your support, FJC will continue to prioritize the counselor experience, building tomorrow’s Jewish leaders, today.