Articles & Press Releases 08.30.17

Take Action to Protect Camp Counselor and Summer Work Travel Programs

Take Action to Protect Camp Counselor and Summer Work Travel Programs

The future of the J-1 Visa hangs in the balance, specifically, the Summer Camp Work Travel and Camp Counselor visa programs.

“In April, the White House signed the “Presidential Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American.” In that document were references to some U. S. Department of State cultural exchange programs that the White House viewed to be taking jobs from Americans – namely the H Visa and the J Visa, specifically the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program. Recently the J-1 Camp Counselor program has been added to the discussion.  Information around the possible implementation of this executive order describes what could be devastating impacts on these programs used by many camps including drastic cuts in the number of visas allowed or elimination of the programs completely. A recent article published by the Wall Street Journal repeated the same potential threat.” –Tom Rosenberg, President/CEO, American Camp Association

Jeremy Fingerman, CEO of Foundation for Jewish Camp, said, “International staff is integral to the culture of Jewish camp. These wonderful team members make an impact on our campers — broadening horizons, sharing cultures, and adding new energy, languages and perspectives to our community. We encourage camp supporters to join us in taking action to make sure this program continues.”

Fingerman visited Capitol Hill this past spring to advocate the importance of these programs on behalf of Jewish camp. FJC is working in close collaboration with American Camp Association, JFNA’s Washington office, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), and other organizations who are affected by this potential administrative order to get the message to the highest level of the Administration and the Hill.

The Jewish camp community is taking a stand to protect these important programs. Here are some things you can do:

  • Contact your local legislators and representatives. Click the Take Action button below for the ACA model and language.
  • Email parents, staff and alumni to explain the issue and the importance of their advocacy.
  • Share your stories of international staff’s positive contribution to life-changing camp experiences.

Follow us for updates on our actions and as developments unfold.