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  • Rowan Kelley, Camp Ideal Director

The tradition continues today

Pictured left: Camp Ideal campers on a canoe, 2016.

2010s - In our current world, where there are an infinite number of specialty camps aimed at kids getting ahead in their lives and their careers, what about Camp Ideal? Whether attending for a week or all of the sessions, Camp Ideal is where children learn to cooperate with each other, learn life skills from a diverse set of activities and field trips, and have a lot of fun in a Jewish environment.

At the secluded campus of the Jewish Federation of St Joseph Valley, we have the space and the facilities for children to play sports, create arts and crafts projects, check out the natural world, learn American and Jewish songs, and just have fun! Over the past three years, we have added a gaga pit (if you don’t know what the game of gaga, find a Camp Ideal camper and ask them!), conducted many inter-generational lunches where the campers interact with older members of the community around a very large lunch table (which, by the way there will be more of this summer), and this year we are adding archery to the repertoire!

Camp Ideal campers group photo, 2016.

Field trips in the community give our kids new experiences. They may have been to a South Bend Cubs game – but this year our campers will get to go to the Performance Center in the morning for batting practice and then catch an early afternoon game. We will also be doing deeper natural learning at Fernwood Botanical Gardens, and a few other field trips. And everybody’s favorite – BEACH DAY - will be back again each week.

Though the world has changed in many ways, Camp Ideal remains a staple in the community, offering local kids the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, learn, grow, and have fun, set to the backdrop of learning about Jewish culture and values!

Do you have a favorite memory from your days at Jewish summer camp? Let us know! Send us an email and tell us your story, or share your favorite photograph to our Dropbox (no account required). You can also drop off physical photographs in person at the Jewish Federation during normal business hours. We'd love to keep a record of your memories!

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