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Time to Grow

Cornerstone Fellows dancing at the 20th Cornerstone Seminar

We have finally reached a very special time as the summer camp season beckons, and I am fortunate to be able to share a little positivity and optimism, which seems much needed in our world today.

Camp leaders, campers, counselors, and parents have been counting down the days (and hours and minutes!) until Opening Day.  Year-round camp staff have been working so hard to finalize the details and add the special finishing touches on their summer programs and schedules.  No doubt parents and campers have been busy preparing their duffels and trunks.  International staff, including a record number of Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) shlichim, have been arriving and preparing for their roles. College-aged counselors have been getting ready to step up as important role models and to gain critical leadership skills which will serve them well in the future.

To help prepare for this summer, Foundation for Jewish Camp’s team completed yet another successful Cornerstone Fellowship held at the Capital Camps and Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA – the first in-person seminar since the start of the pandemic – with nearly 400 participants.  Celebrating its 20th year, Cornerstone remains FJC’s longest-running initiative, our premier Jewish educational and leadership development program for veteran counselors.

Representatives from nearly 60 camps sent their top returning counselors to engage in topic-based skill-building workshops, moving and inspiring song sessions, and one-on-one time with camp leaders and talented faculty experts from diverse backgrounds.  Fellows stretched and grew, rejuvenated and rejoiced in this special community, and prepared for what we anticipate will be an incredible and inspirational summer season.

I am always moved by the intentionality and careful planning of all aspects of this program.  The theme of this year’s seminar was inspired by this text from Midrash Rabba, Bereshit 10:6:

Ein lecha kol esev v esev, sh’ein lo mazel birkiah smika oto,
v’omar lo g’dal:
Every blade of grass has an angel/constellation inspiring it;
whispering ‘grow, grow.’
(translation by FJC)

Just as each blade of grass has the potential to grow each summer in so many ways, we know the Cornerstone Fellows will be inspired and will inspire others to grow in powerful ways this summer.  I’m thrilled to share with you the song that was written by Chana Rothman for this 20th year aptly titled, “Grow” which you can access on Spotify, Apple Music, and our website.

So much work goes into preparing for camp.  We greatly admire the dedication, creativity, and resilience of the camp professionals.  Their ongoing efforts enable their camp communities to truly grow in every way.

Wishing all of us an incredible summer of smiles, joy, inspiration, and…growth!

About the Author
Jeremy J. Fingerman has served as CEO of Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) since 2010. Prior to joining FJC, he had a highly-regarded 20+ year career in Consumer Packaged Goods, beginning at General Mills, Inc, then at Campbell Soup Company, where he served as president of its largest division, US Soup. In 2005, he was recruited to serve as CEO of Manischewitz.
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