Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Camp J Southwest turns 5


Eric Lightman

Camp J will celebrate its fifth anniversary on the Jewish Community Center's Jack & Lee Rosen Southwest Orlando Campus this summer, and preparations are already underway to make it the biggest and best summer yet.

The camp's new director, Eric Lightman, has been working since he arrived to grow the camp program. "We're building on a strong foundation from previous summers," says Lightman, "but we also need to keep up with the latest trends in camping." For this summer, the JCC is building its first gaga (Israeli dodgeball) rink, three challenge course elements, and a vegetable garden.

The new facilities will also be accompanied by new programming. "The purpose of the challenge course is not only fun, but also to develop teamwork and leadership," says Lightman. Programming in the garden will incorporate a curriculum developed by the JCC Association to connect campers to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

New specialty camps are also being offered this summer. In response to parent and camper feedback, weeklong programs in studio arts (pottery) and Mad Science are being launched. An Extreme Sports camp featuring daily trips around the Orlando area will offer an exciting new expansion of the Camp J Sports program, and TheatreSouth is adding Camp GLEE! Frozen to its repertoire of successful summer programs.

The staff team at the JCC's Rosen Campus is also growing. In addition to Lightman, who brings experience in camp and informal education from two other JCCs, this summer will feature two unit heads on staff to help provide additional age-appropriate programming and support to campers and their counselors. As always, the camp will maintain a low staff-to-camper ratio.

The most exciting change of all might be something that families can experience even before the summer: online registration. Parents can now sign their children up for the Camp J programs on the Southwest Campus from the comfort and convenience of their own home. "We know that families are busier than ever, and felt a responsibility to make the camp registration process easier and more convenient," says Lightman. Families can register online by going toorlandojcc.org/campj and clicking "Register Now" in the South Orlando section.


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