By Yakir Havin Over 1,000 students from more than 75…
As CGIs gear up for summer, the new CKids Camp Program provides close to 150 shluchim with instant access to a suite of the highest quality activities and learning materials
Camp Gan Izzy has always been a beloved feature of summer at Chabad. From bean hunts to talent shows to the mock weddings, kids who spend a summer at CGI grow up to always remember their experience. This year, pulling off a ten out of ten summer just got easier with the launch of a new Ckids camp curriculum.
Participating shluchim gain access to 7 weeks of themed activities along with a complete learning program. Best of all, the package is also delivered complete with everything needed to execute: from supply lists to Facebook posts.
“The weeks leading up to camp were always incredibly stressful,” confesses Rabbi Sender Engel, director of Camp SGI, CA. “But this year has been completely different. Everything has been so smooth.” Supply lists detail everything ready to order—no guesswork included. There’s no need to brainstorm carnival booth ideas or put a seventh game of musical chairs into the schedule.
The wide range of professionally developed activities include Kids Kosher Kitchen, DIY Judaica, Exploration Lab, Craft Corner, Camp Spirit, and Live it, Love it. It’s the full range of fun you’d expect from a CGI summer—cooking, science, building, sports, team building, and of course, all the classic CGI hallmarks.
In addition to logistics, every activity connects to the week’s theme—-this year, it’s “Be an explorer: Uncover Treasure to Reveal the Sparks,” all about Jewish identity, the neshama, and elevating sparks of holiness buried within everything. “Our challenge was to present deep concepts in a totally down-to-earth way,” says Rabbi Zalmy Loewenthal, director of Ckids at Merkos Suite 302.
Counselors at CGIs are often high school girls who aren’t necessarily equipped to teach an entire class every day. The Ckids learning curriculum provides a daily short video of the dynamic and animated Rabbi Berel Paltiel teaching a concept on the weekly theme. Then counselors are empowered with a related activity and story for every day’s lesson, along with a weekly review game and corresponding Tzivos Hashem mission. “We designed a complete Ruchniusdike road map,” says Ms. Gittel Spalter, curriculum writer at Ckids.
“The idea is to do all the “grunt work” so the Shliach or Shluchah could focus their energies into what’s most important, the love and attention given to the child, that will keep him or her connected to Yiddishkeit for the rest of their lives” Explains Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, Executive director of Merkos Suite 302, the parent organization of Ckids.
Geared toward children ages 6 – 11, the curriculum is adaptable to any type of camp setting. If a Shliach’s area is still under strict Covid restrictions, the materials can be used to fill in time during the day that trips and swimming would normally take up. In a place with less strict regulations, activities fit neatly into your swimming, sports, and trip schedules. “With the click of a button, my entire camp is planned!” says Rabbi Engel.