Educating Staff All Summer, All Year, All Life
By Stacy Greenberg
Beber Camp feels strongly about continuing education and staying connected to the world. Every year the Beber full-time staff participates in a variety of engaging opportunities for professional development. During the off-season, we take part in programming opportunities with leaders in the field and meet with other camping professionals to share best practices. This year Beber staff took part in an in-depth training with Keshet as part of their Leadership Project. The goal of the project was to create a more inclusive environment for our campers, staff and families.
During a typical summer at camp our staff participate in learning and growth opportunities in-house. This summer we have been fortunate to have had many opportunities for our summer staff to take part in virtual leadership and skill building programs remotely. Thanks to programs sponsored by the Foundation for Jewish Camps (FJC), we’ve turned this summer away from camp into one filled with new knowledge that will be brought to camp next summer and in years to come. Please join us in wishing a big Mazel Tov to the following Beber Camp staff for completion of specific courses.
Morgan Morris and Ciara Gouldsboro concluded an exploration of mental health at and within Judaism through an FJC Mental Health and Wellness Internship. Their cohort conducted interviews and produced a camp resource that can be used with both campers and staff to provide materials to help when issues such as homesickness, anxiety and stress arise in the camp setting.
Melissa Epstein, Naomi Benchell, Julia Bartol, Hannah Spevak, and Maddy Dunn participated in the Changemakers Program Sponsored by the Jewish Federation of North America. The group learned from speakers who shared their views on a variety of topics to help our Jewish leaders grow. This framework for Public Narrative provided practice through which leaders can translate values into action.
Gal Atzmon continued his work with Shlichim IL through the Jewish Agency for Israel, which is a program for Israeli staff. The goal of this program was to provide an opportunity for Israeli staff to stay connected and experience the camp’s community during this summer when we could not be together. Gal planned a special program for our PIOs to teach them about life on a kibbutz and he also helped with other virtual programs for campers.
Julia Bessen and Kaylie Sears took part in another FJC program called the “Hack-a-Thon.” This group met every day for two weeks to discuss various topics including leadership skills, the business of running a camp, personal growth and reflection. Their culminating project included problem solving issues regarding staff retention amongst all camps. Small groups worked together to share solutions with other camp leaders and this sparked great conversations.
Beber Camp has participated in the FJC’s Cornerstone Fellowship program for over 15 years. This leadership program brings over 400 camp staff together from Jewish camps across North America for learning, sharing and planning in order to bring innovative ideas back to individual camps. While normally held in person at a camp in Pennsylvania, this year, the entire 5 day program was virtual. Beber 2020 Cornerstone Fellows were: Cameron Arato, Anat Pissetzky, Carly Colen, Alanna Grossman, Kaylie Sears, Brett Gitler, and Alex Dayan. Emily Wolf served as the liaison leading the group. They all completed the program and were even able to bring new programs back to camp virtually. Carly led a CIT training program on ages and stages, Alanna, Brett and Alex led a program for the PIOS on coping with stress and Kaylie Sears created some amazing YouTube and TikTok videos teaching and demonstrating new and old Israeli Dances. Although not a Cornerstone Fellow, staff member and Israeli dance specialist Ciara Cunningham, worked with Kaylie to make the videos as well.
Our virtual programming this summer was made possible by Division Leaders Ari Kirsh, Maddy Dunn, Sophie Factor, and Teen Leadership Leaders Julia Bartol and Hannah Spevak. Naomi Benchell and Andrew Aronoff were also instrumental in planning and executing virtual programs, including productions like Maccabiah. We are grateful for the time that this team, as well as all staff who participated, put into making the summer of 2020 a success. Congratulations to everyone who stayed connected and continued to grow as leaders and members of our sacred community. We are excited to see everyone running around the hobby wheel in 2021!