Dear JCC Members and Friends,
At the recent Schenectady JCC Annual Meeting, we announced that the Second Century Capital Campaign was at $1.625 million achievement towards the $3.5 million goal. There have been almost 100 gifts to the campaign that include those given for the new splash pad, now open at the William and Estelle Golub Family Swim and Tennis Center.
The campaign will incorporate our recent notice of an award of an up to $20,000 challenge grant by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s JCamp180 initiative, to incentivize JCCs to improve the physical assets used for camp. Since this meets one of the Pillars of the campaign — to raise funds for the further development of our outdoor facilities — our raising $40,000 or more between June 1, 2023 – May 31, 2024 will leverage all of that $20,000 grant. The proceeds will be used to build an outdoor “yurt” structure as the location for the camp’s Jewish/Israel programming. It will also be used in the spring and fall for other programs. If you would like to direct a donation for that purpose, please email us at the new campaign email address: [email protected].
Last, while individual solicitations continue to happen, as well as applications for grant funding of the campaign, a public phase for the campaign will begin shortly. This will include the preparation of materials for media purposes, general brochures for broad-based mailings and large-scale events about the campaign. As you begin to see and hear more about the campaign, I hope you’ll be inspired to donate.
I have always thought of the period in June after the JCC’s Annual Meeting as a time for a psychological “breather.” Not that there isn’t still work to be done, nor projects that don’t require continued attention, but with both the Board year coming to a close, as does the program year, this can be a time of the year for a look back.
First camp though. Both camps began their seasons with record registration numbers. Each enjoys a reputation in the community of camp-seeking families that parents really want for their kids to experience. Both camps are a 10-week microcosm of what JCCs do “right” when it comes to how to experience Judaism and Jewish-living, each a fairly evident way of operating and programming that has values rooted in Judaism as a foundation. Both camps are the beneficiaries of new physical additions – a splash pad in Schenectady and an about to be opened “yurt village” in Albany – that will add to the camp experience. Through Albany’s new partnership with Camp Givah and Schenectady’s taking advantage of full freedom from Covid concerns, both teen camps are thriving in numbers and trip opportunities. Seeing the number of camp staff who themselves were once campers is a metric of how well camps performed in years past, with confidence that today’s campers will love it so much that they too will become counselors, unit heads, specialists, lifeguards, water safety instructors and for maybe a few, possible camp directors themselves. To Rachel and Drew, kol hakavod, all due honor to you and your teams, best wishes for an incredible and safe 2023 summer.
Now the look back. Each JCC has seen the addition of new staff to fill important roles at the JCC. We are seeing the impact of Steve (Albany), Joslyn (Joint), and Dan (Schenectady) to our ranks, and look forward to your contributions for years to come. We’ve seen the steady growth of all our childcare programs, and look forward to the addition of a UPK classroom in 2023-24 in Schenectady, a program Albany has long had. Membership in both JCCs is close to – but not quite at – pre-pandemic numbers, but there is confidence that we are heading in the right direction with programs and physical improvements. Each JCC made significant investments in professional development in the past year, and we see that continuing for the rest of 2023. Our boards of directors met regularly, had healthy agendas, and are adding new talent for future years. My gratitude goes to my partners in leadership, presidents Dave Colman of Albany and Gordon Zuckerman of Schenectady, for their investment of time and talent, and understanding the need for treasure.
Both boards take a break in formal meetings during the summer; they resume in September. Other meetings will take place, but with less frequency, and for me this is a time of planning and (lots of) grant writing. Whatever your summer plans are, and I hope to see lots of you at each JCC’s outdoor pools, have a great summer and a wonderful Fourth of July.
JCCs of the Capital Region