Summer overnight camps are often seen as a fun way for kids to get away, make friends, and learn new things. Jewish summer camps have an added value according to Amy Kruglak of the Foundation for Jewish Camp: creating the sense of connection and community among Jewish youth.
As the Foundation sought ways to get the word out and promote the value of Jewish summer camp, it honed in on the pivotal role that camp directors play in meeting the mission. The organization decided to create a high-caliber professional development opportunity that would give directors the skills they need to lead camps in the 21st century. The vision was to combine best practices in leadership, management and business – all infused with Jewish values and ethics.
The Foundation’s Executive Leadership Institute (ELI) involves 7 sessions over 14 months, and is rooted in the Center for Creative Leadership’s philosophy of self-awareness and personal growth as cornerstones of effective leadership. The camp directors, or fellows, also study finance, fundraising, and best practices across the overnight camp industry.
Create a high-caliber program for directors of Jewish summer camps in order to:
- Professionalize the field by creating development opportunities and career paths
- Create a support system and networking structure for camp directors
- Teach best practices in leadership and management, weaving in Jewish values and ethics
The Foundation reports the following benefits of The Executive Leadership Institute:
- Camp directors have gained new stature as professionals, both in their own eyes and in the view of their Boards
- Camp directors have built trust, worked together on difficult issues, and shared best practices
- Camp directors have a new awareness of their own leadership style and goals for growth as leaders
Through ELI, the camp directors have been re-energized and re-connected to the value of their work. They appreciate the respect and recognition that comes with the Foundation’s investment in their role as leaders.
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