Since the beginning of Beber Camp’s Pioneer program in 1997 with 12 campers, we have seen tremendous growth and participation in this program.  As a former Pioneer Director in the Summers of 1999 and 2000, I can attest to how special this summer experience is for our teens and staff and how incredible it is to watch our campers begin the transition from camper to staff.  For those of you who are not familiar with the Pioneer program, this is an acceptance-based program for campers who are entering 11th grade and focuses on leadership development, teamwork and professional and personal growth.  The campers begin to work on childcare techniques, run programs for other campers and are leaders in Jewish programming and Shabbat experience.  Since 2009, we have added an optional Israel trip for this group that runs during second session and has proven to be an incredible experience for our teens to continue their exploration of their Jewish identity and learn more about their connection to Israel.

We are so proud of the fact that over 70% of our current staff went through our Teen Leadership program, including both the Pioneer and CIT summer.  While many camps see decreases in retention as campers age and enter high school, Beber has experienced a reverse of that trend. Our oldest bunks are at full capacity, and we continue to see increasing interest in participation in our Pioneer Program. The program had 22 participants in 2010, 38 in 2013, and a record 59 participants in 2016.  As we look towards our future trends, we anticipate this number will only increase over the years.  As a result of the program’s growth, we have worked very hard to develop our staff and curriculum to ensure the camper’s receive the best experience and training.

With the growth of the program, we have had to address the issue of housing and program space for this Pioneer group.  In order to accommodate the amount of teens who want to remain a part of the Beber community and join this program, as well as provide the appropriate programming space to do the work, Beber is thrilled to announce the creation of our Teen Leadership Village, which will be ready for the Summer of 2017.

This village will be built near the pool, adjacent to the baseball fields.  The village will consist of a series of yurts for campers and staff, as well as a multi-purpose building to be used for programs, special meals and will include showers and restrooms.  There will be outdoor space for additional programming, barbeques and group bonding adventures!  While the village will be an amazing addition to the program and allow us to accommodate all who want to participate, the Pioneers will still remain an active group in our community and our program and will continue to be role models for our younger campers in our dining hall, at the hobby wheel and in all-camp programs!

We are so excited for this project and for our Pioneer group of 2017 to be the inaugural group to live in this village.  We have broken ground on the site and as the project evolves, we will share photos with everyone.  Stay tuned!

– Becky