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Another successful JCC summer camp season concludes

JCC Camp Joe & Lynne Romano school-age campers doing the chicken dance during a 2018 opening circle.

For most people, summer is characterized by lounging around the pool, melting ice-cream cones, and the often-unbearable heat and humidity. But at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center, summer is about learning creative skills, discovering hidden talents, and making new friends during the eight-week long Camp Joe & Lynne Romano summer day camp.

Bella  Baylash (right), 5, seeks help from JCC camp counselor Kayla Brown to stick  stars on her magic wand created as a part of the Glitter & Glam camp.
Bella Baylash (right), 5, seeks help from JCC camp counselor Kayla Brown to stick stars on her magic wand created as a part of the Glitter & Glam camp.

A record number of children attended the JCC’s camp this year, including over 300 kids in the school-age camp alone. Each week at least 160 school-age children attended camp with some weeks seeing a turnout of almost 200 campers. And for the first time, all the classrooms in the early childhood camp were open throughout the summer.

The camp activities included daily swim lessons for children from 18 months to entering sixth grade. School-age specialty sports camps were run by coaches and players from local colleges. The Ceramics camp featured local artist and educator Mark Rauch. Israeli culture was taught with the help of Israeli scouts Michal Dargatsky and Adi Rozenthal. The SyraCrusin’ teen travel camp for children entering grades 7–10 was back for all eight weeks this summer. Each week consisted of a day giving back to the community through volunteering at local nonprofits, and field trips all around Central New York. There were also overnights to Highland Forrest, Buffalo and Rochester which allowed the group to go to Darien Lake, Sea Breeze, Niagara Falls and Cascades Indoor Waterpark. Some of the group’s favorite field trips were to a Syracuse Chiefs game, ropes courses, horseback riding, and Howe Caverns.

Shayna Nellis (sitting on the floor), 9, plays the part of Snow White surrounded by the seven dwarfs during the Theatre camp's performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Shayna Nellis (sitting on the floor), 9, plays the part of Snow White surrounded by the seven dwarfs during the Theatre camp’s performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Many other school-age specialty camps like Spy Academy, Circus, Glitter & Glam, Theatre, and Fishing were a part of this year’s choices. Isabella Weinberg, 8, especially enjoyed the new Coding and Engineering camp this year.

“I love doing art, music and dance but I didn’t expect to enjoy coding so much,” she says. “I am so excited to be doing this and maybe in the future, I will create my own gaming apps for mobile phones.”

Another camp that was hugely popular with the kids, especially the younger girls, was Cheerleading camp.

Aside from these activities, the children were also treated to a performance and some interaction time with the visiting Tzofim Friendship Caravan. This group of Israeli scouts travel to different communities across the United States each summer to share a bit of Israeli music, history, and culture.

Gabriela Nikolavsky, 10, adds finishing touches to her abstract piece during 3D Art camp.
Gabriela Nikolavsky, 10, adds finishing touches to her abstract piece during 3D Art camp.

As in previous years, each week of camp was based on a different theme. From Stars and Stripes for American history to Treasure Hunters for a Jack Sparrow-esque adventure, each week saw special activities that coincided with the theme of that week. Activities such as tasting foods from various cultures, dressing up as people from different countries, participating in quizzes about endangered wildlife species, and showcasing their newfound skills on the stage—all these and more formed part of the theme-based activities.

The 2018 summer camp season ended with a bang! All campers in the early childhood camp enjoyed an ice-cream party. The school-age campers participated in an overnight DJ dance party and put on their annual talent show where they showed-off skills like singing, contemporary dance, playing the piano, hula-hooping, mime art, stand-up comedy, and juggling.

Valerie Aaramburu, 8, dressed as a pirate for Treasure Hunters, the theme of week 7.
Valerie Aaramburu, 8, dressed as a pirate for Treasure Hunters, the theme of week 7.

“Camp Romano was the place to be this summer,” said Amy Bisnett, associate director for children’s programming. “We had children come from all over the country to participate in our camp. We ended the last week with 330 campers from infants up to 15-year-olds. We are already thinking of new fun camps to have next summer.”

The JCC’s summer camp was an all-encompassing and enriching experience for its preschool, school age and teen campers this year. While the magic of summer is hard to replicate once the school year begins again, the JCC is looking forward to continuing with the fun and learning again this school year.

 

 

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