Amidst the hustle and bustle of preparing for the High Holy Days, something exciting happened: The Reform Movement announced the founding of the first Jewish specialty camp for science and technology! The new camp, which will be called the URJ 6 Points Science Academy, will open in the summer of 2014 in Boston and will serve upwards of 600 campers in grades 6-10.
As the URJ’s 14th summer camp, the URJ 6 Points Science Academy will build on the growing interest in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, serving as an on-ramp into Jewish camping for unaffiliated and currently unengaged Jewish families who have not been attracted to the classic Jewish summer camp model.
As JTA reported last week, funding for the URJ 6 Points Science Academy is being made possible by a Foundation for Jewish Camps Specialty Camps Incubator II grant. The purpose of the grant, funded by $8.6 million jointly funded by The Jim Joseph Foundation and the AVI CHAI Foundation, is to engage more children in the Jewish summer camp experience by funding the foundation of new specialty camps. The URJ 6 Points Sports Academy was a previous recipient of the FJC’s first Specialty Camps Incubator Grant in 2010.
The new camp seeks to foster a kehillah kedoshah – a sacred and caring community – in which campers build pride in themselves, concern and commitment for one another, and confidence in their ability to influence their world; to create a stimulating environment that challenges campers to become talmidei hachamim, better thinkers about science and technology and to be passionate, ethical Jews; and to encourage and strengthen campers’ connections and devotion to Judaism, the State of Israel, and Klal Yisrael. A developmentally appropriate curriculum will engage campers and keep them challenged so that they will want to come back, summer after summer.