Jewish Social, Service and Camping Options
National Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) is a national organization consisting of more than 450 Temple Youth Groups, divided into 20 regions, throughout the United States and Canada.(www.nfty.org)
NFTY-MAR (Mid-Atlantic Region) is our regional leadership youth program, bringing together Reform Jewish Teens from North Carolina, eastern West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware and far-eastern Tennessee. Our members come together at many times during the year for learning, fun, worship, community service, and fellowship to help young Jewish adults throughout the region build and strengthen lifetime ties with each other and Reform Judaism. Each year, NFTY-MAR hosts seven regional events for high school age members of local youth groups. These events, which are held at congregations throughout the region and at Camp Harlam, bring teenagers from Temple youth groups across the region together for Jewish enrichment and hands-on experiential programming. All events are planned and run by youth group members, and are supervised by very capable and committed adult staff. (www.nfty.org/mar).
NFTY National Convention. Every two years, NFTY hosts a national convention attended by more than 1500 NFTY members from all over the United States and Canada. Hundreds of Reform Jewish teenagers from across North America spend 5 days learning, praying, and having fun!
BBYO is the leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences. With a network of hundreds of chapters across North America and in 42 countries around the world, BBYO reaches over 80,000 teens annually and serves as the Jewish community’s largest and most valuable platform for delivering fun, meaningful and affordable experiences that inspire a lasting connection to the Jewish people. Find the local BBYO activities at bbyo.org/bbyo-near-you.
Camp Harlam, in Kunkletown, Pennsylvania, is our regional URJ summer camp, and is one of seventeen camps sponsored by the Reform Movement. Camp Harlam offers two, four and eight week sessions for campers from fourth grade through twelfth grade. In eleventh grade, campers go on a Camp Harlam NFTY in Israel program, and in 12th grade, students become CITs. Camp Harlam is a fully accredited URJ summer camp (www.harlam.urjcamps.org).
Mitzvah Corps allows Reform Jewish teens to experience social action at its best. The program combines direct hands-on involvement in communities that need the energy, dedication, and love that youth provide, with programs rooted in Jewish social and ethical issues.
NFTY offers 4 Mitzvah Corps programs over the summer, where 10th-12th graders have the opportunity to live communally with other Jewish teens from around the country and build their own community, while at the same time engaging in meaningful social justice work, all while having fun:
- Bay Area Mitzvah Corps – 3.5 weeks in San Francisco, CA
- Mitzvah Corps of the South – 2 weeks in New Orleans, LA
- Mitzvah Corps Costa Rica – 9 days in San Jose and Yorkin, Costa Rica
- Urban Mitzvah Corps – 6 weeks in New Brunswick, NJ
NFTY Kutz Campus for Reform Jewish Teen Life. Every summer, hundreds of Jewish high school students from around the country gather at the URJ Kutz Camp in Warwick, New York for the Kutz experience. First session consists of the NFTY Regional Board Track, Temple Youth Group Leadership, Social Action Advocacy, Songleading, Judaic Studies, Hebrew, Visual Arts, and Theatre Arts. Second Session is the Teen Exploration Program which consists of Money Matters, TEVA Outdoor Experience, NFTY Mitzvah Corps, Torah to the Max, TYG President at Kutz, Be Healthy and Safe . Third session is a week-long trip-based curriculum. One program is NFTY Mitzvah Corps which is a community service program with social actions trip around the New York area. This is a great opportunity to spend a week of your summer performing mitzvot and helping the greater community. The other program is Packing For College, a program specifically for entering 11 and 12 graders. Trips to visit campuses both in the NY and Boston areas will be supplemented with programs on choosing a college, making Jewish choices, and taking standardized tests.
These programs encourage young teens to gain skills they will need to be effective leaders in their congregations, youth groups, and regions. Additionally, Kutz Camp provides opportunities for Jewish study, personal growth, and fun in a unique campus-like environment. Staff comes from all over the country. Kutz provides an intense, fun-filled environment for teens (www.kutz.urjcamps.org).
Capital Camps. A Jewish Community Centers Association (JCCA) and American Camping Association (ACA) accredited camp for campers’ grades 3 through 10. Our 270-acre facility is located in the beautiful Catoctin Mountains of Pennsylvania, just one hour from Baltimore and Washington, D.C. We provide a full recreational program in a nurturing Jewish environment for approximately 300 campers. Programs include Arts & Crafts, Boating, Dance, Drama, Nature, Sports, Swim, Ropes Course and many more. Staff consists of cabin counselors and activity specialists chosen for their maturity, skills and love of camp. (www.capitalcamps.org)
NFTY in Israel – NFTY summer programs in Israel are 5-6 week adventures which combine travel and learning while touring ancient and modern Israel. (www.nftyisrael.org/)
Eisendrath International Exchange (EIE): a fully accredited high school semester in Israel offered both in the Fall and Spring. This program includes immersion into the culture, history and language of Israelas well as standard U.S.high school academic courses. (www.nftyeie.org)
For information on the Israel programs contact: URJ Youth Division at 212-452-6517.