Two weeks ago, 40 shluchim and Shlucos gathered in Long Beach, California, with an exciting new task at hand. They came to re-envision the potential of Chabad’s camps at the CKids Camp Director Kinus.
The Kinus, organized by Merkos 302’s CKids director Rabbi Zalmy Loewenthal, guided shluchim in how to take their camps to the next level through enlightening lectures and programs on how to attract more children, create better learning curriculums and schedules, create a united team of staff, and make a generally larger impact on campers, their families, and communities.
“This is going to be my first year running a camp, and I’m starting this journey miles ahead because of everything I’ve gained from this Kinus,” said Rabbi Mendy Wilschanski, from Raleigh, NC. “Even the veteran camp directors have been excited by all the new ideas. We’re definitely going to be to implement what we’ve gained these past few days into our camps.”
Renowned camp experts and famous speakers addressed the directors on a variety of topics, covering everything from the increasing popularity of small camps to issues that larger camps face, such as maintaining a personal touch with campers. Joanna Warren Smith, a highly respected camp consultant, spoke on how to run a camp from A to Z. “She really gets camps! Her program was practical and informative, I feel like she really helped me organize my priorities,” said one director.
An eye-opening class about creating a vision for your camp was presented by Rabbi Zalman Marcus, followed by much applause. As Rabbi Yoel Spalet from San Mateo, CA, “He explained the goals we should be aiming for, and why certain aspects of a moisad need change. The way he reimagines programs and goes about changing it is both practical and inspirational, and I can’t wait to try it out for myself.”
Also amongst the speakers were Rabbi Zalmy Kudan, a well-known expert in the camp field; Rabbi Yitzchak Newman, Head Shliach of Orange County and dean of The Hebrew Academy, and Dr. Itamar Harari, Program Director for the Jewish Federation of Orange County.
Another part of the program included Shluchim sharing, in which the directors were given the opportunity to learn from each other’s ideas and experiences. One session was composed of different shluchim sharing a specific thought or idea for five minutes, while another program featured a round table discussion.
The Kinus took place across the sprawling campus of Silver Gan Izzy, with its beautiful rooms, resources, and delicious catered meals. The program was hosted by Rabbi Sender and Chami Engel of Silver Gan Izzy, under the auspices of Rabbi Yitzchak Newman.
“The whole Kinus was very practical, and I’m excited for a new camp era to begin,” said Rabbi Dovid Lisbon.
“CGIs all over the world, and children all over the world, will benefit from this kinus,” said Mrs. Devora Caytak, director of CGI in Ottawa, Canada