Friday, August 15, 2014

Last week I visited a new and exciting place - URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy.  It is an awesome camp with a mission to instill Jewish identity through science and technology. As I drove through the rolling hills of the north shore of Massachusetts, little did I know what an incredible place this camp would be.

Sci-Tech is a specialty camp not unlike URJ 6 Points Sports Academy who's director, Alan Friedman, I also met on my tour.  Sci Tech clearly offers dedicated periods of time to specific activities where campers can learn about a subject about which they are passionate. I observed campers engaged in robotics, digital media production, environmental science, and video game design. I also saw one awesome game of ga-ga!  It was so cool for these kids. 

The counselors have incredible backgrounds in programming, chemistry, biology, art, theater - the list is endless.  What I loved most are the Jewish values—curiosity, discovery, respect, and connection—and a Jewish camp framework—morning blessings, song session and Shabbat.

When I asked campers what they liked best about Sci-Tech, I heard comments like: this is a place I can be myself,” and, “for the first time I was not picked last for the team.” I repeatedly heard kids say that they really felt like they fit in. “They get me here,” was a common refrain or I found my person.

Sci Tech is a camp and an environment for kids who might have never experienced a Jewish camp if it weren't for the science and technology offered in a comfortable and well designed space. What I observed was every camper engaged, every camper challenged and every camper comfortable at expressing who they are and what makes them tick.

I want to give tremendous praise to Greg Kellner and Robbie Berg and all camp staff.  It was an incredible visit and now I have a mission - I think there are a number of students in our midst who naturally shy away from certain summer camp experiences but who might thrive at Sci Tech.  Let's spend the next few months finding them and perhaps changing a life for the better.  

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