For the Horne and Stermer families, Jewish summer camp is an important tradition.
For mother of three Elizabeth Horne, sending her son Cole Stermer to summer camp wasn’t a question: “The positive impact of Jewish summer camp on our family cannot be measured,” says Horne, as she and Cole pack sheets into a large canvas duffel bag. Horne, who attended Camp B’nai Brith from 1985 to 1992, credits her Jewish summer camp experience with opening her eyes to the larger community, and giving her a broad new group of friends.
Camp alum Elizabeth Horne helps her son Cole Stermer pack for his first summer at CBB.
Horne’s affection runs for CBB runs deep, and her father was a camper in his youth as well. Having had positive experiences as a child, her father wanted Horne, her brother, and sister to be able to attend summer camp too. At the time, it wasn’t financially feasible for him to send three kids. “But we were lucky enough to be granted subsidies from the community,” reflects Horne. “When I got older I realized how fortunate I’d been to receive this experience – how lucky our whole community is that camp is accessible to kids, no matter what their parents financial circumstances.“
Cole, now going into grade 5, will be following in his mother and grandfather’s footsteps this summer at Camp B’nai Brith. As a first time camper, he is receiving the Generations Fund and Foundation for Jewish Camp One Happy Camper first-time camper incentive grant, established to encourage families to choose Jewish overnight camp.
The Generations Fund, established by Federation CJA in partnership with generous and visionary donors, is designed to strengthening Jewish identity in order to secure the long-term vibrancy of the Montreal Jewish community. The One Happy Camper grant gives parents up to $1,000 towards a child’s first summer at Jewish overnight camp. There are no income requirements, and the grant is not a subsidy but an incentive to encourage parents to send their children to Jewish summer camp.
The grant is available both to Jewish Day School students and Non-Jewish Day School students. The four participating Jewish camps in the Montreal region are Camp B’nai Brith Montreal, Camp Kinneret-Biluim, Camp Massad, and Harry Bronfman Y Country Camp. Studies show that children who go to Jewish camp are more likely to become adults who value their heritage, are engaged in their communities, support causes, and take on leadership roles throughout their lives.
The Stermer family were excited to learn about the One Happy Camper grant, and have told all their friends. “They owe me drinks,” jokes mom Elizabeth.
“The Jewish community in Montreal is very special,” says Horne, “and camp is a fantastic way to feel connected. I love that Cole will be exposed to the Jewish community at large. He’s going to make connections with kids outside his elementary school, and he’ll know people when he starts high school. I’ve always supported CBB, and now that the camp has undergone major renovations and is run by Josh and Dayna, it’s even more amazing than ever. There was no question it would be our choice for Cole. Learning about the One Happy Camper incentive was icing on the cake.”
As for Cole? Well, he can’t wait to carry on the family tradition. “I’m looking forward to CBB because of the activities,” says Cole with a huge smile, “and I get to make new friends!”
If your child is a first time camper at one of the participating Jewish summer camps, then you may be eligible for a One Happy Camper grant. Click here to fill out the application form.