Ezra summer camp
Ezra summer camp Ezra Youth Movement

No matter what youth movement you grew up in, you probably spent a summer or two in camp. In view of the situation and coronavirus restrictions we went to investigate the fate of the traditional summer camps, and this time we're with the Ezra Youth Movement, that just started registering for a "family camp". And no, they refuse to see it as a limitation, they see it as an opportunity.

"There were moments when we thought the summer camps would be as usual," admits Aviad Moses, Ezra Youth's VP, "and there were also moments when we were sure we had to cancel everything, and that should be said. But at the moment, we are preparing for a sort of intermediate situation, which will be based on a family model.

"Every year we hold summer camps and seminars for thousands of teenagers," says Moses, "and already in March, when the first coronavirus wave began, it was clear to us that we had to rethink and prepare for a few scenarios.

"Formally, according to the procedures [the interview took place before the stricter procedures - AF], camps are currently still allowed, but this is simply not feasible. To illustrate, permits for accommodation in this area are groups of up to fifty people with a distance of 100 meters between groups. I cannot commit to such a thing."

So to what is the Ezra movement prepared to commit? The model is simple, and somewhat reminiscent of the "capsule" model used in yeshivas: "Instead of just bringing the campers to camp, we will bring the whole family to camp, with each family constituting a family 'capsule'."

The benefits, according to Moses, are clear. Maintaining maximum hygiene, also exposing and connecting the whole family to the movement and its values, and equally important, to allow families that were accustomed each year to go on vacation, and now it is impossible for them due to the economic situation, to do so in a family atmosphere that is significantly cheaper.

"We are trying to lower the price as much as possible. We're also exploring an option for a 'Low Cost' camp, whether by shortening days, to make them nearby or allow self-arrival instead of by school bus. We understand the current situation, and are doing everything to help and consider what's needed.

"We opened registration just a few days ago, and joyfully we see a response and some families enrolled, and we hope that it really will come to fruition. This can be a very significant opportunity and breakthrough, not only for this year of coronavirus, but also for the future and the relationship of the movement with the campers' families."