The JCC’s Bulletin dates back to the 1930s, when it was a premier source of news for the local Jewish community. We are proud to continue this tradition of keeping our JCC community informed via our virtual Bulletin.
The bulletin circa 1974
We know that this summer is critical to ensure continued learning, to build trust, and to create space for young people to re-connect and re-engage with one another. To help compensate for the loss of learning that many students have experienced during the pandemic, we are offering several programs to help kids back on track while still having fun this summer.
Our newest program is Summer Rising, which we will run for free at various schools in conjunction with DYDC and the DOE. This is an academic enrichment program that aims to help prepare students for school in the fall. Summer Rising will provide opportunities for young people to learn, to get outside, and engage with peers and caring adults in safe, supervised, and enriching robust programs, readying them for a return to school in September.
In our JCC Day Camp programs, we are partnering with Catapult Learning to provide a summer learning program to enrolled JCC campers. The Summer Learning Experience has been funded through the generosity of a grant from UJA-Federation, which allows us to provide this service to campers free of charge.
In our Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island, we also include STEM as part of our programming. Projects are tailored to children’s ages and abilities. This week, campers learned about engineering using pipe cleaners, sticks, and marshmallows!
These programs are only able to run thanks to the generosity of our donors and funders. This Monday, we will host our 41st Annual Golf & Tennis Classic. Funds raised at this event will allow us to award camp scholarships to children in need, including kids with special needs. While the golf portion of the event is sold out, we still have a few tennis slots available. By playing or donating to the event, you are helping our children thrive in the face of adversity. You can learn more about the Outing here.
We are proud to be able to provide these services, and with your support, we can help even more kids make academic progress before school begins again.
-Orit Lender, CEO
After a successful summer last year, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island is preparing for another safe, fun season for hundreds of children in its camp programs across the Island.
Of over 700 campers and 250 staff members in JCC programs, none tested positive for COVID-19 at any point last summer. There were also no cases among over 250 staff members. The JCC credits its robust COVID-19 safety protocols, developed with input from a committee of medical professionals, with keeping everyone healthy while having fun.
This summer, the JCC will continue to implement these tested practices, which are in line with the most recent CDC and state guidance.
In addition to temperature checks and health screenings for both campers and staff at the start of each camp day, the JCC places campers into families/pods that are kept socially distant from other groups. Face coverings are optional for campers when outside. Staff members sanitize shared spaces regularly and have adapted activities to comply with government standards.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “We’ve demonstrated that despite all the challenges, we can give children a memorable summer experience while also keeping everyone safe. These kids deserve to play outside and make special memories with their friends now more than ever. We can’t wait to welcome them back to camp in a few short weeks.”
Camp programs take place throughout the borough and include Traditional Day Camp, Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs, Trident Aquatics Camp, Core 24 Basketball Camp, Soccer Camp, Gymnastics Camp, Performing Arts Camp, Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp, and camp programs at several Cornerstone and Beacon sites.
Families interested in JCC Day Camp can learn more and register here before camp begins on June 28. The JCC will also host a final Open House for prospective camp families at Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds on Sunday, June 13 from 2-4pm.
To help compensate for the loss of learning that many students have experienced during the pandemic, the JCC Day Camp is partnering with Catapult Learning to provide a summer learning program to enrolled JCC campers. The Summer Learning Experience has been funded through the generosity of a grant from UJA-Federation, which will allow the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island to provide this service to campers free of charge.
Campers who opt in to the Summer Learning Experience will receive 2 weekly instruction sessions—one math and one literacy—taught by highly qualified staff. Instruction will take place at the campgrounds during the camp day, in small groups based on age. Campers will observe social distancing and follow other CDC safety guidelines.
The summer learning experience includes literacy intervention using the Achieve Literacy program. The program is designed specifically to support foundational reading skills, increase fluency, and improve comprehension. Additionally, the Achieve Math program will help campers improve their foundational skills and improve their math fluency. The program ranges from basic concepts and computation to problem solving, data collection, geometry, and algebra.
The program will be open to JCC Day Campers entering 1st grade up through those entering 9th grade, as well as children enrolled in Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs. Capacity is limited, and campers will be enrolled in this program on a first-come, first-served basis.
“This is a great opportunity for campers to regain some of the educational losses they’ve seen over the past year of remote learning,” said Glenn Wechsler, Camp Co-Director. “For families that opt in, this program will supplement the fun activities we will have throughout the summer in our Day Camp and Marvin’s Camp programs.”
Typical camp programs, including swimming, sports, games, arts & crafts, and special events, will continue this summer. Other fun STEM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) will also take place in addition to the Catapult Learning program. Recently added programs include woodworking and LEGO robotics activities.
Founded in 1976, Catapult Learning is the leading provider of intervention, professional development, special and transitional education programs. Catapult Learning’s intervention programs support struggling learners with instruction tailored to the unique needs of each student and is built on the critical components of effective programs, as reviewed in current research, including the National Reading Panel and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Across the country, Catapult Learning partners with 500+ school districts, including 18 of the 20 largest, to produce positive outcomes that promote academic and professional growth.
For more information about JCC Day Camp, visit Camp.SIJCC.org or call Glenn Wechsler at 718.475.5231.
In addition to its traditional summer camp offerings, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island will offer sports camp experiences, including basketball, soccer, gymnastics, and swimming, along with a performing arts camp.
Specialized sports programs will include Core 24 Basketball Academy Camp, JCC Soccer Academy Camp, USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Training Camp, and Trident Aquatics Camp. These camps offer instruction tailored for children at every skill level, from beginners to more advanced competitors. Beyond building athletic skills, campers will learn positive values like good sportsmanship while also having fun and making new friends.
Basketball, soccer, and gymnastics camps will take place from June 28 to August 20, with options to register for up to 8 weeks. Aquatics camp will take place from June 28 to July 30, with options to register for up to 5 weeks. Sibling discounts are available for all sports camps.
The JCC will also offer a performing arts camp, run by IlluminArt Productions. Now in its second year, the program gives children a taste of all aspects of theater, including improvisation, acting, dance, and music. At the end of the program, campers will perform an original play to showcase all that they learned.
Parents can choose one of two weeks for performing arts camp, which will take place the week of July 12 and the week of August 2. The JCC is offering a discount when registered performing arts campers refer a friend.
Last summer, the JCC implemented COVID-19 safety protocols and dedicated itself to giving children across the island as normal a summer as possible.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “Whether your child is returning to camp, joining us after missing last summer, or signing up for a JCC program for the very first time, know that our campers’ safety is our top priority. Our specialty camps are a great opportunity for kids to do the things they love or discover a new passion, stay active, and socialize. We know how important these programs are to so many children because of how much they’ve missed in this past year.”
The JCC’s specialty camps are part of a robust menu of camp offerings, including traditional day camp, Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs, Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island, and free community camp programs at sites across the Island. Last year, these programs served over 700 campers at 9 locations, with no positive COVID tests at any point during the summer.
You can learn more about the JCC’s specialty camps and register here.
Though the weather has been cold lately, we have our eyes on summer!
Earlier this month, we launched registration for JCC Day Camp and unveiled our brand-new camp website! It has been incredibly exciting to get feedback from parents on how much their kids are looking forward to coming back this summer. To help parents who are struggling financially, we are pleased to announce that we were able to keep rates the same as last year.
In addition, our Early Bird pricing gives a discount, so if you sign your child up before February 15th, you can take advantage of this offer. We also offer scholarships for those in need, and you can click here to request an application. I invite you to check out our new website, and if you’re a new camp parent, to sign up for our Virtual Open House on January 31st to learn more about camp.
Despite having the odds stacked against us, last year was one of the best camp seasons we’ve ever had. Even with smaller groups and new regulations, we were able to have an amazing summer, giving children the sense of normalcy they needed in difficult times. Kids enjoyed nature, made new friends, learned to swim, played sports, tried woodworking and other STEM activities, and most importantly, got a break from their screens. For children who had been isolated for months, camp was exactly what they needed.
With increased safety protocols, we were able to ensure the safety of all our campers and staff. Of over 700 campers at our 9 JCC locations throughout the borough, none tested positive for COVID-19 at any point throughout the summer. I am grateful to our diligent and dedicated staff members, who made it their mission to give our kids a safe and fun experience. We have no doubt we will exceed expectations again this year.
In addition to our Traditional Day Camp, we have opportunities for children of all interests and abilities. Last year, we advocated fiercely for Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs to open alongside our other camps. Halfway through the summer, we were granted permission to open. This year, we are hopeful that we can give these children a full summer experience.
We have already begun registering Marvin’s and inclusion campers in anticipation of having them back at camp and will continue to advocate on their behalf with governmental agencies.
Our Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island serves children with cancer and their siblings. Due to the fragile nature of our campers, we decided to hold a virtual camp last year. Campers were able to do art projects, play games, and do other camp activities from the safety of their homes. While we don’t yet know what this year will bring, we are preparing multiple options for Sunrise Day Camp. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will be back in person with our Sunrise campers once again.
Soon we will also begin registering children for our sports and performing arts camps, as well as the camp programs run through our Beacon and Cornerstone sites throughout the borough.
While the days ahead seem cloudy, we can see the bright light of camp shining through. We are counting down the days until summer, when we can see hundreds of happy faces back at camp!
-Orit Lender, CEO
It has been said that a positive attitude is a little thing that can make a big difference in one’s life, one’s relationships and, of course, one’s summer camp experience. The difference between a vibrant, successful summer camp and one that is merely functional is a difference of attitude and enthusiasm.
At our camp, we are guided by an attitude that applauds effort, celebrates accomplishment, and never loses sight of the principle that from a child…everything is beautiful.
When walking through our campgrounds, we see children engaged and enthralled by their counselors’ positive attitude and enthusiasm. On any given day, you can see children prospering in an environment full of sweetness, fun, and joy. Whether they are swimming with friends in the pool, singing songs and dancing at Shabbat, learning about animals and nature in a hands-on manner, dressing up in color for our spirited season-ending Maccabi Games, or performing community service to help others, our children feel a connection to the people and world around them and experience the warmth of a caring community throughout all of their camp experiences.
Positive attitudes, modeled by the love and enthusiasm of our camp staff and fostered in every activity our campers pursue, make our camp the truly special place it is—one that our campers (and our staff!) can’t wait to return to each summer.
Legendary children's TV personality, Fred "Mr." Rogers, once shared with his listeners how his mother helped him deal with frightening situations when he was a child. Rogers said, “When I was a boy, I would see scary things in the news. My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
In the Jewish tradition, we call the impulse to help others gemilut chasadim. Acts of loving kindness and helping others is at the heart of our camp program.
We promote values such as caring for the environment, honoring the elderly, and using kind words through activities, storytelling, and in the ways that we interact with one another at camp. Charitable giving, tzedakah, is encouraged throughout the summer and during special events like the Day of Caring and Sharing, a special day on which our campers help raise money for children with cancer, families in financial need, and others.
Moreover, at our weekly Shabbat celebrations, children are selected by camp staff for being the “Mensch of the Week.” A mensch is a person whose thoughts and actions make our world a better and more compassionate place. In the Jewish tradition, it is the highest compliment one can bestow upon another. Week after week, it is inspiring to witness our campers being honored for doing things, large and small, that make a difference in the lives of others such as welcoming a new camper to their group, being a compassionate listener, and offering words of encouragement to a fellow camper.
Written on the back of the Mensch of the Week shirts that the honorees receive is the phrase, “One Good Deed Leads to Another.” These children—with their kind hearts, contagious smiles, and thoughtful compliments—brighten everyone’s day and inspire all of us to do the same.
Similarly, during this pandemic, many members of our camp families are helping the community in a myriad of ways. Whether they are doctors, nurses, health care workers, first responders, caregivers of the vulnerable or other helpers in the community, we are inspired by their acts of selfless kindness. As Mr. Rogers said, we would be wise to focus on their efforts.
This story, shared with us by Camp Co-Director Stephanie Feldman, has a powerful message that resonates with all of us who know that JCC Day Camp is a very special place.
The story is told of a child who lived in the city near a forest. Almost daily, the young boy ventured off into the woods by himself. His father did not want to interfere with his son’s daily excursions, but he was concerned because he knew that forests could be dangerous.
One day the father pulled his son aside. “I notice that every day you go off into the forest,” he said. “I don’t want to forbid you to go there, but I want you to know I’m concerned about your safety. Why is it that you go there, and what is it that you do?”
“I go into the forest to find G-d,” was the boy’s simple response.
His father was deeply moved. “That’s beautiful,” he said. “And I’m pleased to hear you’re doing that. But don’t you know? G-d is the same everywhere.”
“G-d is,” the boy answered, “but I’m not.”
This story speaks powerfully of the idea that we often need to find a place, situation, or environment for self-transformation to occur within us.
At our summer camp, we strive to create just such an environment. From the moment children arrive at our camp, we want them to feel a sense of warmth and welcome. We seek to foster an environment where children are valued, respected, and included so they feel confident someone will listen. Moreover, we strive to establish and maintain positive interactions between our children and counselors that are characterized by respect, a non-judgmental attitude, and open communication.
Our 100-acre campground nestled in the Greenbelt is also a place where “city” children connect with our natural world. Lush green trees, the presence of animals, hiking trails and ponds are part of our campground’s natural beauty. Additionally, we offer weekly animal appreciation shows from animal lover Brian Wild and ongoing nature activities that connect the children to nature. We know that, especially after these challenging months of staying inside and social distancing, children will be eager to get outside and experience nature with their friends.
In short, like the forest in the story, our camp is a place where we connect with ourselves, one another, and our natural world.
Learning about different cultures helps children grow up to be more understanding adults who are connected to the world and others around them. This is why we incorporate learning about Israeli culture into our camp programming each year.
Our camp staff includes a young Israeli, who teaches our campers about his or her culture in a fun and engaging way. We invite the Israel caravan music and dance troupe to our campground—their energetic, spirited performance is always one of the highlights of the summer!
We also hold Israel Day—one of our campers’ favorite themed days year after year! During Israel Day, campers “travel” to Israel without setting foot in the country. The campground is transformed into a sea of blue and white as campers use their five senses to learn about and celebrate Israel’s history, language, culture, people, and geography. Activities in the past have included touching the stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem and inserting a prayer in the crevices, making and eating falafel sandwiches, making Hebrew name bracelets, being challenged to an Israeli army-style obstacle course, and playing Geography Twister on a giant map of Israel. Check out some photos from last year's Israel Day below!
Throughout the summer, we incorporate Israeli culture and learning in a way that is fun and meaningful for all of our campers, regardless of their religion or cultural background. We believe our world is a better place when we try to understand and connect with others, and our celebration of Israeli culture helps us do that!
Stories are an important part of the human experience. They help us connect with people who are different from us, learn more about ourselves and our place in the world, and unlock our imagination to take us to places we’ve yet to discover! We all love stories and that’s why we’re so excited about this year’s camp theme: The World of Stories.
Each week at camp, we will delve into a different type of story, including folktales, science fiction, fairy tales, mysteries, comics, and fantasy. Because we pride ourselves on helping our campers grow up to be kind, caring adults, we will connect each type of story with values like responsibility, giving, family, and unity. We all know that reading is FUNdamental, and we hope that our study of stories will spark a love for books in all of our campers!
We can’t wait to explore the World of Stories this summer!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
1466 Manor Road
Staten Island, NY 10314
485 Victory Blvd
Staten Island, NY 10301
1297 Arthur Kill Road
Staten Island, NY 10312
BERMAN EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER
2221 Richmond Ave.
Staten Island, NY 10314