Last year, UJA-Federation funded camp scholarships to 10 UJA nonprofit partners to help make summer day camp affordable for more families -- and so more children could join in the summertime fun.

Some of the best moments of Michal’s life were her childhood summers attending a JCC day camp at the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds run by UJA-Federation.

Now a single mom to her two sons, ages 4 and 9, Michal wanted to offer her children the same kind of summer camp experience she had loved as a girl.

But camp fees were beyond Michal’s reach — until she learned that the Barry and Florence Friedberg Jewish Community Center provided camp scholarships, funded by UJA.

Last year, UJA provided funding for summer day camp scholarships to 10 nonprofit partners to help make day camp affordable for more families.

The scholarship Michal’s family received made it possible for her children to attend the Friedberg JCC day camps for five weeks. Michal’s younger son enjoys the JCC’s camp at Oceanside and her older son the JCC’s camp on the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds.

“My older son loves ga-ga (Israeli dodgeball) and my younger son likes the water play,” Michal says and adds with a laugh. “My younger son also really enjoys riding to and from camp on a school bus.”

For Michal, it’s especially meaningful that her sons celebrate Shabbat at camp and continue to experience Jewish values during their summer months. She notes that while the camp scholarships helped financially, they also helped keep life consistent following her divorce when so much else was changing in her children’s lives.

“My sons and I love the JCC Friedberg day camp,” she says. “I’d be heartbroken if I couldn’t send my children to camp. I’m so appreciative and thankful for the support and what it’s made possible.”

On The Horizon

So more families can receive access to support not only during the summer, but also throughout the year, UJA has begun combining camp scholarships with other critical services. This will help low-income parents receive additional support as they pursue a career and seek greater self-sufficiency.

“UJA understands the importance of scholarship funds to allow children to thrive in a Jewish and fun environment,” explains Chani Kovacs Zweiter, a UJA planning executive. “But we know that scholarships aren’t always enough, so we’re providing parents with an array of services such as career counseling, benefits screening, and case management to help create stability and self-sufficiency in the home. Parents who are either working or in school know that their children are well taken care of, and their children are creating memories for a lifetime. It’s a win-win situation.”

For more information, please contact Chani Kovacs Zweiter at zweiterc@ujafedny.org.