Sarah’s Postcards from Camp: First stop, Cleveland!

I’m off to visit camps during this first summer as the Director of JCamp 180 and I’ll be sharing the incredible things I see while on the road. 

Thanks to the Mandel JCC of Cleveland for a wonderful day hosting me on my first visit (with Mentor Jill Paul) at Anisfield Day Camp and Camp Wise, two marvelous camps located outside Cleveland. In the morning we toured Anisfield and met the dynamic director Abbey Phillips and lay leader Shelly Lewis.  Anisfield is doing lots of innovative things to make the camp more appealing to local kids and to meet its enrollment goals:
  • Anisfield installed an American Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course to attract older kids.  I tried my hand at the course; I think I’ll stick to management consulting. 

  • Anisfield’s Specialty Tracks appeal to different populations and interests.  Unicorn camp, anyone?

  • Anisfield offers an intensive Hebrew immersion program, which spills over into the entire camp, which feels rich with Hebrew language and Israeli culture.

  • Here’s a clever operational idea that many camps do: Anisfield offers Towel service at the pool. No more lost towels or wet towels at the bottom of a backpack. This small investment has paid dividends in added convenience for everyone!

Congratulations to Anisfield for these creative ideas. We also toured Camp Wise and met the fantastic director Rachel Felber who has led a major turnaround of this camp. We are excited to see where their strategic planning goes from here. Many thanks especially to Gil Rubanenko, who oversees camps for the JCC, and CEO Michael Hyman for their time on Monday and more importantly, their commitment to camping and the resources at JCamp 180. We are also grateful to the Loren Chylla, Chair of the Camp Committee, for spending so much time with Jill Paul and me! Loren has been participating in the LEAP program and is loving the learning that he’s doing with the entire cohort of Committee Chairs from across the country.

Next stop for me: camps in the Berkshires and the Hudson Valley. Stay tuned!

Written by Sarah M. Eisinger. Sarah is the Director of JCamp 180. She leverages her background in philanthropy, consulting and organizational development with experience as a camper and counselor to lead the JCamp 180 team in providing camps with services to help them meet their goals: mentoring services, new matching grant programs, professional development opportunities for camp lay leadership and staff, and new initiatives.

Who we are: JCamp 180 is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Our goal is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps in North America. To meet this goal, we provide affiliated Jewish camps with consulting services, annual conferences, shared resources, professional development, and matching grant opportunities. Find more at