Students from New York City’s Yeshiva University kick off their eighth season in southern Israel on Tuesday as camp leaders in the cities of Dimona, Arad, Be’er Sheva, Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi.
The month-long immersion service-learning initiative provides 300 children from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds with Jewish values and just plain summer fun.
The 60 student volunteers, who hail from the U.S., Canada, the UK and Panama, also work on instilling within their young charges a sense of civic responsibility while giving them an exciting camp experience.
A recent study conducted by Research Success Technologies (RST) for YU’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) indicated the Counterpoint summer camp program has achieved success in identity building, communal development and personal enrichment.
The study also showed that the municipalities of the cities where the camps operate view the program as “indispensable to their educational systems,” said Dr. Ezra Kopelowitz, CEO of RST. The cities are committed to contributing their own resources to ensure the program’s success, he added.
“Speaking English and expanding vocabulary is first and foremost a fun and engaging experience. But as seen in Counterpoint camps, the process also enables campers to find new levels of confidence – acquiring knowledge and skills leaves the campers with a heightened sense of accomplishment,” Kopelowitz pointed out. “Additionally, the campers reported that dialoguing with their American counselors, who are religious Jews, results in the exploration of their personal and Jewish identity; growth of a different kind.”
The camp includes classes that are taught in English and workshops in arts, fashion, music, dance and sports.