The Common Ground Fellowship

The Common Ground Fellowship provides professional development training and networking opportunities for 14-16 year-olds across New York area day camps. Explore the middah (value) of leadership and how it relates to the middot of patience, humility, joy, kindness, and foresight. The curriculum sharpens skills and builds knowledge in camper care, peer to peer support, and self-advocacy—three areas that are critical to the success of future counselors. As Common Ground Fellows, young teens find a community of peers and colleagues with whom they can exchange ideas and build meaningful relationships. Common Ground participation results in a cohort of young teens who are not only highly skilled and extremely knowledgeable, but who seamlessly integrate and embody Jewish values in their camp leadership roles.

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The Common Ground Fellowship is provided by FJC with the generous support of UJA-Federation of New York.

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The Common Ground Fellowship provides professional development for 14-16 year olds from across NY area day camps, providing specialized training to a critical population at day camps – young teens who are not yet full-fledged counselors, but who are also no longer young campers. Common Ground offers teens an opportunity to develop their community-care skills while building community with peers from across New York area day camps. FJC’s goal is for teens to leave the fellowship with strengthened confidence, relationships and connection to Jewish values, inspiring them to return their camps year-after-year, eventually as well-trained counselors and role models.

Common Ground Fellows commit to participating in a full-day training in early June, two additional coaching sessions during the summer with Common Ground faculty, and periodic check-ins with their camp “mentor”.

Teens who complete all required components of the fellowship are entitled to a stipend which will be distributed by their camps.

The Common Ground Fellowship launches with a day-long gathering at the Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds in Long Island. Fun and content-rich sessions on community care skills including self care, camper care and care for one’s colleagues, along with Jewish values, are led by skilled by our experienced faculty. Kosher lunch and snacks are provided. 

Participating camps are required to provide one adult chaperone for the first fifteen fellows attending the kickoff, and an additional chaperone for each additional 1-15 fellows. At least one adult must be the camps’ mentor who will play an integral role in supporting the teens’ learning throughout the summer. 

This year’s kick-off will take place on Sunday, June 11th. Exact timing TBD.  


Common Ground recognizes that ongoing reflection, practice and coaching is essential to skill development. Our faculty will offer two mandatory on-site 90 minute follow-up sessions with fellows, once in July and one in August, to revisit and build on the learning at the kickoff event. Chaperones are required. 


Foundation for Jewish Camp is committed to reengaging alumni of the fellowship through Israel travel opportunities, year-round leadership training, and more.