Wednesday, December 23, 2015

24 Hours to Plant the Seed of Joy

Did you know that of the three times the Lubavitcher Rebbe travelled outside of New York City—after becoming Rebbe—all three were to visit Overnight Camps?

If you are wondering why, perhaps the following stories will give us a glimpse into the reason.

Aleh R. from Bend, OR came to Camp Gan Israel in the Poconos’ pilot program, “CGI B-Me” in 2013.  She attended Public School and was the only Jew in her class of evangelical Christians that were actively trying to “convert” her.  She originally came to camp for one 3-week session but stayed for two.  At the end of 6 weeks she cried that she didn’t want to go home and return to her public school.  Fast-forward two years; Aleh is now attending Hillel High in Milwaukee, WI!

Sisters Aliza & Liora S. from Maryland are both deaf and have never been to a Jewish overnight camp.  Their family—also entirely deaf—like many other deaf Jews, are not Jewishly affiliated due to the auditory nature of typical Jewish Houses of Worship.  Aliza & Liora are extremely excited to participate in our deaf division in partnership with The Jewish Deaf Foundation, the only one of its kind in the world!
The Lubavitcher Rebbe said: "The influence and education of a proper summer camp can be much greater even than a good school. In camp, the children spend the entire 24-hours of the day under the influence of the education.”

After successfully launching and directing CGI Running Springs in California, Gershon and Devorah Sandler returned to the east coast where they setup home base in Monsey, NY, and started their own 501(c)3 not-for-profit camp, renting space for summers 2012 and 2013. In January of 2014, CGI purchased a beautiful 83-acre campground with support from the UJA Federation of NY and the AVI CHAI Foundation. CGI’s campus is located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains—which just “happens” to be located exactly 77.0 miles from 770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY!

CGI in the Poconos is part of the largest network of Jewish camping in the world, but the only Gan Israel overnight camp that caters primarily to children who are not currently participating in an immersive daily Jewish experience (i.e. Jewish day school or Yeshiva.) Over the past four summers, 57 Chabad Houses located in 21 states and 5 countries have recruited campers for CGI in the Poconos.  

One of the greatest challenges Jewish camps face today is affordability. CGI in the Poconos has developed an innovative approach to addressing this challenge. A Four-Tier Pricing Program literally allows families to select from 4 tuition levels, with the 4th level being a standard scholarship request. Camp Director Gershon Sandler explains: “since we started offering families the opportunity to choose either a 10% or 20% discount at any point during the enrollment season, as opposed to just an early bird special, less families have been choosing to apply for a scholarship.” However, each summer approximately 50% of camp families still request a scholarship that averages out to $1,000 per camper.

That is why CGI in the Poconos has just launched a 24-hour CHARIDY campaign to help 200 campers attend camp by raising $200,000.

A: Every penny you donate is QUADRUPLED! For every dollar you give, CGI in the Poconos will get $4. Every dollar will be matched by 3 generous donors to help us reach our goal of $200,000.

Remember: The campaign is ALL OR NOTHING – we must raise the full amount within 24 hours, or all donations will be returned.

$500 grows into $2,000! and sponsors 2 campers for a 4-week session
$250 grows into $1,000! and sponsors 1 camper for a 4-week session
$180 grows into $720!
$18 grows into $72!

Your support will allow us to continue to provide our campers with this impactful experience and to make sure no child is turned away due to her family’s inability to pay tuition.

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