S’more Wellness

Mental, Emotional, Social, & Spiritual Health at Camp Day of Learning
March 25th, 2021

Everyone has mental health, and it is everyone’s responsibility to care for one another at Jewish Camp. Join us for a half-day of learning dedicated to supporting and nurturing mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health (MESSH). We’ll start off with some proactive wellness activities for yourself (after all, you can’t pour from an empty cup!), followed by workshops on trauma-informed care (focused on campers, staff, and families), a mid-day communal camp “send off,” and close the day connecting with colleagues. We invite you to share this with your full team, including seasonal leadership staff and unit heads!

12:00 PM
Starting Stretch
12:45 PM
Session Block 1: Trauma-Informed Camp
2:15 PM
From Narrow Spaces to S’more Wellness: Field-Wide Gathering
2:45 PM
Break! (And Asynchronous At-Your-Own-Pace Options)
3:15 PM
Session Block 2: MESSH Across Camp Life
4:45 PM
Connection Time with Jewish Camp Colleagues & Friends


Starting Stretches: Sessions to Stretch Body, Mind, and/or Soul

12:00 PM – 12:45 PM ET

Sessions to Start the Mini-Conference by Stretching Body, Mind, and/or Soul

Festive: Circus Arts

Ayal Prouser

It is said that those who make people laugh have a place in Olam HaBah, the world to come. Come play, laugh, and find some ways to increase joy for you and others. Join the team from Time Flies Circus and acquire tools (and a few circus skills) to incorporate social-emotional skill-building into your camper and staff programming.

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Narrative: Writing Our Communities' Blessings

The Blue Dove Foundation

What is Jewish about mental health? We’ll explore Jewish values related to mental health, and look at frameworks Jewish tradition already offers us. In this session, you’ll collaboratively write blessings for our Jewish camp communities – for self care, resiliency, and growth this summer and beyond.

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Active: Yoga - Tikkun Olam from the Inside Out

Evan Joblin, Yoga Otzma

Move and be moved in this session with YogaOtzma’s Founder, Evan Joblin. Through a yoga-based embodiment practice, this session will introduce folks to ways for mindfully modeling camp values and our commitment to personal and communal wellness in our camp lives and beyond. *Dress comfortably and try to find a little bit of space for movement.

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Creative: Color Me Calm

Kyrah Altman, L.E.A.D. Inc (Let’s Empower, Act, Do)

With anxiety on the rise, come experience calmness while exploring the benefits of mindful drawing. In this session, you’ll get a taste of facilitated, meditative drawing activities and be introduced to basic techniques used in art therapy which you can bring to camp this summer. Self-care and self-expression is deeply intertwined. (You need not be an artist to participate – though, truth be told, everyone is an artist!)

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Reflective: Mindfulness for Experiential Presence & Grounding

Dr. Joanie Terrizzi

This guided mindfulness experience will help you cultivate presence and grounding that we can call upon in challenging moments this summer. Join mindfulness expert Dr. Joanie Terrizzi to build a foundation on which to build personal and communal wellness both at and beyond camp.

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Session Block 1: Trauma-Informed Camp

12:45 PM – 2:00 PM ET

Staff Morale and Mental Health

Abby Mintz, M.Ed., LPC

Over the course of this past year, our communities have taken a giant leap forward in terms of our understanding of the value of mental health and collective need to prioritize cultures that nurture it. So, what does this mean for staff morale and well-being this summer? This session will apply principles from DEI and Belonging to a summer camp environment by sharing 5 suggested approaches to enhance your camp’s culture in ways that will support heightened staff morale and wellbeing… this summer and beyond.

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Trauma-informed Camp: What does it mean, and where to begin?

Linda E. Erceg, RN, MS, PHN, Life Member – Association of Camp Nurses, Chair – ACA Healthy Camps Initiative

What does the term “trauma-informed” mean, and how does this concept apply to everyday life and decisions at camp? If you’re not entirely sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place.

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Creating a Trauma-informed Camp: Welcoming & Preparing for the MESSH Baggage of our Campers

Drew Fidler, LCSW-C, BBYO Center for Adolescent Wellness

What will kids be experiencing when they arrive at camp, and how can you be prepared for what they (consciously and unknowingly) bring with them? Children and adolescents have felt the uncertainty and upheaval of Covid-19. This will impact camp this summer and increase our camper’s baggage. Camps across the country need to be prepared to support the additional mental, emotional, and social health needs of campers. This session will explore the impact of trauma on developing brains and bodies, the issues camps are likely to see, and how camps can proactively prepare to help campers and staff navigate challenges. You’ll leave this session with tangible strategies to add to your to-do list. Discussions will touch upon the differences within day camp and overnight camp settings.

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How Taking Care of Parents at Home will Help You Have a Successful Summer

Dr. Deborah Gilboa, MD (Dr. G, Parenting Expert)

Even when they aren’t physically at camp, parents and caregivers at home have a role to play in how you work – and what success this summer will look like. In this session, we’ll discuss strategies to encourage camper parents to open up about ways to best support their kids at camp, build trust, and destigmatize these conversations before and during the summer. We’ll also communally brainstorm strategies to support parents’ anxiety through proactive camp communication and other activities.

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Secondary Trauma & Compassion Fatigue: Taking Care of Camp Caregivers

BaMidbar Wilderness Therapy

As professionals, we are often drawn to this work because we love humans and have a strong desire to support and to serve. With this good intention at heart, we sometimes find ourselves in over our heads, struggling to hold emotional boundaries. Commonly referred to as “compassion fatigue” what happens when the stress of working in the midst of others’ stress and trauma begins to impact our own mental health? This workshop helps professionals learn the causes and effects of compassion fatigue and secondary trauma, and offers coping strategies, warning signs and action plans to help minimize compassion fatigue. The workshop will help professionals personally answer the question: How do we balance our ability to empathize and be compassionate with others with our need to protect and sustain ourselves as professionals? In understanding compassion fatigue, we can also think about ways we might apply that knowledge in creating programming for campers and staff.

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From Narrow Spaces to S’more Wellness: Field-Wide Gathering
From Narrow Spaces to S'more Wellness: Field-Wide Gathering

FJC Staff

We’ve spent so much time in “narrow places” this year, and we’re about to head out of them, but into uncertainty – as in the Passover story, when the Jewish people left Egypt (known in Hebrew as mitzrayim, literally “narrow places”) and set out into the unknown. Join us as together we’ll experience some rituals and ways to mark these moments of transition with your own staff and campers this summer.

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(And Asynchronous At-Your-Own-Pace Options)

2:45 PM – 3:15 PM ET

Screaming Meditation

Jonah Canner

The world is loud and busy. Even when stuck at home, we all take in so much throughout our days: zoom meetings, emails, social media, being cooped up with the same people all day long… So much information coming in and very few opportunities to let it out. Screaming Meditation is a form of release, a way to center yourself, to find a little quiet inside by letting some of the noise out. Follow these pre-recorded videos and written outline at your own pace!

Screaming Meditation

Mussar Minutes: Breath, Values, and a Mental Health Mindset

Becca Sykes

Be guided, and guide your own breath through ten different middot (soul traits), one minute at a time. Relax during a short intro video, then head to the playlist. Follow each one, or pick and choose based on your needs.


1-Minute Middot Meditations

Mussar Minutes

Session Block 2: MESSH Across Camp Life

3:15 PM – 4:30 PM ET

Post Traumatic Growth: Camp as Fertile Grounds for Meaning-Making

Dr. Betsy Stone, Psy.D.

Pain happens to all of us, but with intention and care, camp can help communities learn and grow from and within pain and trauma. What have we learned during the pandemic that we want to hold on to? What strengths and weaknesses has it revealed in us? How do we make explicit the learning that has sustained us? This session will review 5 basic principles: safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness, and empowerment – PLUS the added principle of meaning-making, and how this can show up in day camp and overnight camp settings.

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La'bri-ut: To Health - Camp Activities for Jewish values-based Resilience-building

Erin Levine, Rabbi Stacy Rigler

Thinking about how you’ll meet your young campers where they’re at this summer, and still engage them with interactive+relevant+FUN Jewish learning? For Day & Overnight camps – come explore this newly adapted 10-part series, ready for you to hand-off to counselors for easy, accessible facilitation this summer.

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Ready (or not): Here They Come! Teen Campers, CITs, and Newest Counselors

Leslie Rosen Stern, MA, MSW

Teens are a unique demographic, so much of this time in their lives defined by change and transitions; however, this past year hasn’t looked like anything they expected, and worry-levels are at an all-time high. In this session we’ll explore teen brain development and typical behaviors, then unpack the impact of the pandemic on teen life, highlighting reactions to and struggles with change and loss. We’ll prepare for our work with teens by exploring content and activities for day and overnight camp leadership to incorporate into staff trainings. This session will help you address the support your teens need this summer to help reduce their stress and anxiety, and shift toward finding joy, acceptance, and understanding.

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Integrating Mental Health and Physical Health: Health Centers and Camp Care Teams

Dr. Robbie Berg, General Psychiatry Residency Program – Johns Hopkins
Gabi Burkholz, Health Center Coordinator – Camp Mountain Chai
Linda E. Erceg, RN, MS, PHN, Life Member – Association of Camp Nurses, Chair – ACA Healthy Camps Initiative
Dr. Yardaena Osband MD, FAAP, IBCLC, Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at New York Medical College

Let’s talk about health at camp – holistically. This panel will share different camp perspectives on opportunities, ideas, and strategies for integrating physical health and mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health (MESSH). Come with questions, leave with possibilities to adapt systems and communication plans at your camp for this summer and beyond.

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Cultural Competency: Intersection of Racism & Mental Health at Camp

Emilia Diamant, LCSW & Tikvah Womack, LCPC Presented through Jews in All Hues

Day and overnight Jewish camps are increasingly diverse. Many of our communities pride ourselves in celebrating what makes our campers and staff unique, but our actions don’t always match our aspirational values. Policies, practices, and seemingly small day-to-day interactions can have large and long-lasting impacts on the mental health of our campers and staff who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). In this session, we’ll explore some of the what and why of mental health disparities facing BIPOC, consider how this shows up at Jewish camp, and discuss concrete examples to better align intention and impact.

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Getting the Word Out to Outside Camp Stakeholders

Miriam Brosseau & Shelly Nelson-Shore, MSW Senior Strategists at Greater Good Strategy: greatergoodstrategy.com

How does messaging about mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health at camp show up in marketing strategies, social media, camp publicity materials, and outreach strategies? Fundraising opportunities? If you are responsible for communicating about camp to parents, families, donors, or other partners beyond camp’s gates – join senior strategists from Greater Good Strategies with backgrounds in communication, development, and mental health to uncover opportunities for how your camp can stand out, live your values, and destigmatize mental health in the broader community.

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Connection Time with Jewish Camp Colleagues & Friends

4:45 PM – 5:30 PM ET

Laughter as Self-Care: Comedy & Connection with Jewish Camp Colleagues & Friends

Pamela Rae Schuller (with Special Guest, Matthew Broussard)

Come laugh a little (or a lot) with colleagues and friends from Jewish camps across the field. Join comedian, mental health educator, and disabilities advocate Pamela Rae Schuller for some reflection on the day, fun in the moment, and brainstorming for summer ahead. *This session is for year-round camp professionals.

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This half-day of learning is made possible through the Yedid Nefesh initiative, generously funded by the Marcus Foundation. Learn more about Yedid Nefesh, and stay tuned for Cohort 2 applications coming in Fall 2021.

If you have any questions, please contact Jill Goldstein Smith at jill@jewishcamp.org