Leaders 01.11.18

Why Attend Leaders Assembly in Baltimore?


In July 2013, I started my dream job in the Community Planning & Allocations Department at The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. I was thrilled to be managing The Center for Jewish Camping (CJC), a new initiative launched to increase the number of Baltimore youth attending Jewish day and overnight camps. After years of attending and working at Jewish camp, I was able to turn my passion into a career.

I feel so fortunate to have the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s expertise and knowledge to guide my journey over the past four years. FJC has been a tremendous resource to the CJC – sharing new ideas, leading trends, and introducing me to a large network of Federation camp professionals. And most importantly for inviting me to my first ever camp conference in March 2014, Leaders Assembly.

There are so many reasons why Leaders Assembly largely contributed to my growth in this role. For starters, Leaders Assembly gave me the opportunity to connect and spend time with hundreds of educators, Camp Directors, lay leaders, and Federation professionals who all care deeply about Jewish camp. The opening plenary, was exhilarating, and truly reaffirmed why I went into this field. I valued the time in this unique setting to think strategically and creatively, and rejuvenate myself with new ideas, deep conversations, and connections.

I am so grateful I was given the opportunity to attend the past two conferences, and I’m thrilled that this important biennial conference will take place in my city Baltimore, Maryland.

Baltimore, Maryland, nicknamed Charm City, is an ideal host city for Leaders Assembly. After checking into the Marriot Waterfront, a stroll in either direction leads you to two of Baltimore’s popular destinations. Fells Point, a historic waterfront neighborhood features many shops, including antique stores, restaurants, and bars. The famous Inner Harbor is home to the Maryland Science Center, National Aquarium, and numerous historic ships.

This year, I’m excited for David Shapiro, Chair of The Associated’s Center for Jewish Camping Advisory Committee, to join me at Leaders Assembly. We will be joining hundreds of educators, Camp Directors, and lay leaders who embrace similar concepts and ideas to the CJC. As our Board Chair, David is deeply connected to the Baltimore Jewish Community. His tenure in Jewish education is rooted in his experience with day schools, presidency at The Center for Jewish Education, and involvement in The Associated’s Learning Commission.

Although David spent several summers at overnight camp as a child, his first real introduction to Jewish camp began when he was visiting the Gann Academy, an Independent Jewish High School in Waltham Massachusetts as part of his work at The Associated around Jewish education. While sitting at a table with a group of teens, three of the four of them told him that they grew up in a secular home, but had asked their parents to attend Jewish day school after attending Jewish camp and meeting some of their best friends. This experience inspired David because he quickly saw the incredible impact of Jewish camp through these young teens.

As a committed lay leader who is invested in Jewish education, David has seen the tremendous impact of Jewish camp in his role as Chair. His goals are for more Baltimore youth to have the opportunity to attend Jewish camp, and ensuring that camp goes beyond the eight weeks of summer. We hope that we are able to help achieve this goal while meeting with camp professionals at Leaders. We will meet like-minded people who care about Jewish education, and will embrace the opportunity to share CJC’s successes and opportunities with them.

Why are YOU excited to attend Leader’s Assembly in Baltimore?! We want to hear from you.

Janna Zuckerman is the Senior Planning Associate at The Associated: Jewish Federation Community of Baltimore.