May 23, 2024
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Teach Coalition Summer Camp Network Successfully Advocates for $1 Million in State Funds

(Courtesy of Teach Coalition) Teach Coalition announces the launch of the Teach Coalition Summer Camp Network, a group of Jewish sleepaway camps located in Pennsylvania. The new group is the first time that camps are presenting a united front to advocate for state security funding, exchange ideas, make camps aware of new funding opportunities and share best practices. More than 4,000 campers attend the network’s camps.

“Thanks to the Summer Camp Network, Teach is no longer looking out for you and your children just from September to June,” said Arielle Frankston-Morris, the executive director of Teach PA. “We are taking care of them in the summer too.”

One of the Summer Camp Network’s first accomplishments was to successfully lobby the state government for security funding and work with state agencies to keep their campers protected. Camps were awarded competitive individual security grants totaling $1 million through Pennsylvania’s Nonprofit Security Grant Fund Program. Advocacy in Harrisburg, work with coalition partners and direct guidance to camps has resulted in bolstered security at many camps. The funds enable the sleepaway camps and other nonprofits to secure their premises with physical improvements including gates, fencing, surveillance equipment, protective lighting and more.

Ensuring campers’ safety is a top priority for camp administrations, which were already on heightened alert after the 2018 attacks at the Tree of Life building and Chabad of Poway. With the recent uptick in antisemitism and violence across the world, Jewish camps share a renewed commitment to maintain the highest standards of security.

“Thanks to the security grant we got, for the first time we are able to have a full-time, 24-hour armed guard posted at our front gates,” said Johnny Shlagbaum, assistant director of Camp Nesher.

“It’s hard to describe how grateful we are to the state of Pennsylvania to allow us to do so many projects that we’ve been hoping to do for the past decade,” said Jeremy Joszef, director of Camp Morasha. “We could have all the amazing activities we have and the incredible campgrounds that we’re blessed to spend our summers in, but if our kids don’t feel safe at camp and our parents don’t feel that they’re sending their children to a safe environment, then everything else is for naught.”

“It makes me sad to think about it, but in this day and age, we have to make sure that even our kids’ summer camps have security measures in place,” said Sarra Lorbert of New Rochelle, whose children attend Camps Morasha and Moshava. “Thanks to the work of the Teach Summer Camp Network and the dedication of the camp directors, state security funding is available to our camps, and they have taken full advantage of using those funds. The peace of mind afforded by these enhancements is priceless.”

For more information about Teach Summer Camp Network, contact Arielle Frankston-Morris, Teach PA executive director, at [email protected].

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