Russian-Speaking Jewish Outreach and Engagement Initiative
Foundation for Jewish Camp launched the Russian-Speaking Jewish Outreach and Engagement Initiative (RSJ Initiative) in 2013 to expand opportunities for campers from Russian-speaking families in North America to experience Jewish overnight summer camp. The RSJ Initiative has grown over the years and currently works with overnight and day camps and community partners (such as Jewish Federations) to provide summer camp, family camp, and year-round engagement opportunities. The RSJ Initiative also includes a Community of Practice for participating camps as well as a counselor training initiative, Hadracha Internship.
FJC also created a best practice manual to assist camps with recruitment and marketing strategies, showcasing success from the field over the years.
Please reach out to Yevgeniy Klig at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about launching the RSJ Initiative at your camp or community!
Support for Initiative Partners
Each partner organization that is accepted into the initiative will receive funding to support recruitment efforts, marketing and promotion of the program, as well as to provide scholarships/incentives for RSJ families.
Camp Directors and recruiters are invited to attend a monthly RSJ Community of Practice from January-May to share recruitment tactics, best practices, and learn from experts in the field.
Directors of past and current RSJ Initiative camps have confirmed the importance of having a point person from the RSJ community to work on recruitment and engagement, someone who understands the nuances that are specific to the community. While each individual has their own unique experience and identity, camps have found it invaluable to hire someone who can connect with families in a meaningful way.
Spreading awareness about this opportunity is crucial for maintaining high enrollment rates among RSJ campers. Camps often create marketing materials such as brochures (in English and Russian), promotional videos, websites in Russian, social media posts, etc.
Through the RSJ Initiative, RSJ families are eligible for additional camp scholarships. Eligible campers are required to have at least one Russian-speaking parent or grandparent. FJC provides flexibility to camps and community partners in determining incentive and/or scholarship amounts and additional criteria.
Hadracha Counselor Training
Based on the success of some virtual multi-week internships that FJC piloted in 2020, FJC created an internship specifically for staff members from Russian-speaking backgrounds day or overnight camps in the FJC network. In 2021, FJC offered an eight-session virtual internship, culminating in a project showcase where they shared the programs and resources they created to each other and a group of stakeholders, including camp directors and funders. FJC plans to offer this opportunity again prior to summer 2022.
If you are interested in this opportunity, or would like to nominate an RSJ staff member for this opportunity, please fill out this form.
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Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Russian Speaking Jewish Outreach and Engagement Initiative has been made possible with the generous support of Genesis Philanthropy Group.