Facing the Challenge Together

To our camp friends:

This has been a challenging several weeks both on personal and professional fronts.  We know that we are all dealing with concerns about our own families, our work and schools and our communities.  In the camp community, we are also facing the additional threats to camp this summer due to the rapidly evolving nature of the coronavirus. Here at JCamp 180, we have been grappling with all these challenges and thinking about how we can provide assistance. 
A few thoughts:
  1. Peer exchange.  We know that you rely on your movements, associations and other leaders in the field to share information. Those are important networks and we hope you keep engaging with them.  JCamp 180 also wants to provide a platform to share information across movements, regions and camp sizes.  We all have something to learn from each other in this time.  Consider this: the Board chairs currently in our LEAP professional development program (and LEAP grads) have been actively engaging with one another on Slack, sharing practical tools and information.  For example, one Board chair recently shared their coronavirus communication which another camp will now be using as a template.  You have other tools to share with your peers -- about insurance, refund policies, donor engagement and more.  We want to facilitate these virtual convenings, collect resources and foster sharing and peer learning.  We will also collect the best resources and share them out more widely. Please email us if you are interested in joining the conversation.
  2. Webinars/Community of Practice. We will be launching a 4-part webinar series to address the special circumstances brought on by the coronavirus and provide an additional platform for sharing creative ideas and solutions.  Topics may include: engaging donors in a time of uncertainty, strategic communications planning, insurance issues, best practices in contingency planning and more.  Stay tuned for more information on these webinars.   
  3. Facilitation & Coaching. JCamp 180 staff are ready to virtually facilitate board meetings or other camp gatherings to help your camp navigate through these complex times.  Whether it’s reviewing your strategic plan, helping navigate a capital campaign that might need to pause or wrestling with contingency planning, we can facilitate or join those conversations.  Please be in touch with your mentors.   
  4. New Tools. We are still learning and exploring new tools that would be helpful to the camp community.  Please continue to share your concerns with us and be in touch with your mentor or me if you have ideas.  
  5. Fundraising. We appreciate that those of you in a JCamp 180 fundraising match cycle may have other priorities right now, so we are postponing upcoming deadlines for our current matches.  We will be in touch to work with you on these deadlines.  Your need to raise funds will continue, and we are encouraging you to stay the course with your current funders.  This new challenge, of course, may require new fundraising strategies. Your mentor will be in touch to help you assess those emerging needs.
Finally, please also note that while the travel of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation staff is currently on hold, we want you to know that your JCamp 180 mentors are available to support you and your camp remotely. 
We had been looking forward to seeing you all and connecting in person at next week’s Leaders Assembly and at our own professional development programs in Baltimore.  We know that our friends and colleagues at the Foundation for Jewish Camp have been working tirelessly to bring some of the learning online on Monday; we are grateful to FJC for providing this virtual forum on Monday and we look forward to working with them as we all move forward.  We will see you online on Monday and beyond.  
From strength to strength,

Sarah, on behalf of the entire JCamp 180 Team