By Yakir Havin This past week, CKids put an entirely…
A new overnight camp in Wisconsin brings the Ckids Gan Israel concept across the country, reaching more kids than ever before.
As CKids Gan Israel overnight camp opens enrollment in North Carolina and Denmark, another branch of the CKids Gan Israel family launches—this time in Wisconsin, servicing the surrounding states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, under the directorship of Rabbi Avremi and Shaindy Shapiro.
“As the overnight camp is one of the first things the Rebbe Launched in the 1950s, it shows how critical this is,” says Rabbi Zalmy Loewenthal, director of CKids at Merkos 302. “Chabad’s Camp Gan Israel has built up a reputation for day camps around the world, and now we’re opening more overnight camps.”
The new camp launching in Wisconsin is the third of 10 Ckids overnight camps that the organization plans to open up by 2030.
The new camp, spearheaded by Rabbi Avremi and Shaindy Schapiro and headquartered in Waupaca, WI, is a project of Lubavitch of Wisconsin. “Our hope is to reach all the Jewish kids possible, starting with an 11-day girls camp and 11 day boys camp,” says Rabbi Schapiro.
The first CKids overnight camp launched two years ago with 33 campers, doubled the following year with 60 campers, and this year is opening enrollment for 100 campers at an all-new state-of-the-art campground. Also launching for the first time this summer is a CKids Gan Israel program that will reach kids all over Scandinavia, led by Rabbi Yitzi and Rochel Loewenthal.
As the Rebbe trained his shluchim, there is no better way to reach kids than through summer camp, and overnight camps have the unique advantage of being completely immersive. “Kids who’ve ‘graduated’ from a summer here have gone to make huge strides in their Yiddishkeit—to the point where entire families are literally transformed,” says Rabbi Levi Plotkin, director of the first CKids Gan Israel.
Rabbi Levi and His wife Chaya Plotkin have been able to see the results first-hand, with campers putting mezuzahs on their family’s doors, starting to wear yarmulke and tzitzis daily, and—maybe most importantly—staying in touch with counselors every single week.
“The summer experience is just the beginning of a long and meaningful journey for these children,” says Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch. “It’s all about planting the seeds.”
For questions and staff applications, email Avremi@chabadwi.org