May 18, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 18, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Camps Plan for the Early Departure of Staff Members to Gap Year Programs

The early departure of many post-high school seniors to Israel schools this year poses an issue for many Orthodox summer camps that have not prepared for their staff to leave camp before the summer ends. Most sleepaway camps and day camps in the area have staff members who plan to take a year after high school to study in Israel. This year, however, many schools in Israel are beginning in the middle of August, and staff members headed to Israel plan to leave camp even earlier than that. Many of the midrashot and yeshivot in Israel begin on Rosh Chodesh Elul or shortly after. Typically, this date falls at the end of August or the beginning of September. This year, however, Rosh Chodesh Elul is quite early, falling on August 14.

“We would never discourage our staff from going to Israel for the year, we just have to prepare in advance to make sure that we are not missing counselors at the end of the summer,” Jeremy Joszef, the director of Camp Morasha, said in a phone interview with the Jewish Link.

For all of these sleepaway and day camps that are well planned and professionally run, being short staffed is not an option. As the camps would never want to discourage their staff from going to Israel, each camp finds its own way to compensate for their loss of staff. Many camps are hiring staff members who are younger than the staff it typically hires. Some local camps, instead of only hiring rising seniors and older, as they do at the beginning of the summer, have a few younger counselors on staff by the beginning of August.

Camp Morasha is taking a different approach to this issue. Morasha’s post-10th grade Israel program, Sulam, is returning to America on August 9th. The camp will utilize many of the campers returning from that program and employ them as counselors, lifeguards and sportstaff for the last two weeks of the summer.

Similarly, Jeff Braverman, the director of Camp Nesher, foresees this issue. “The camp asks that the counselors let us know before the summer starts if they are planning to leave early so that it does not turn into a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing,” he told the Jewish Link. Camp Mesorah combats this issue slightly differently. “We hire extra staff for the whole summer in order to have appropriate staffing for when they need to leave early. It’s one of our best investments,” Joseph Stansky, the director of Camp Mesorah, wrote to the Jewish Link in an email.

By Shana Adler

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles