EMMA KAUFMANN CAMP: THE LEGACY
Since its founding more than 113 years ago as an escape for Jewish children from urban overcrowding, pollution and the tuberculosis epidemic, the JCC’s Emma Kaufmann Camp (EKC) has served as a haven to over 650 campers and staff each summer. To this day, as EKC celebrates
its 50th year on Cheat Lake, EKC is that special place where each camper and staff member experiences the life-changing transformation that only Jewish overnight summer camp can provide. EKC is built on connections,
values, growth and fun—you see it in the faces of campers and staff. While over half our campers reside in the greater Pittsburgh metropolitan area, we now serve campers from 35 states and 7 countries around the world,
nurtured by an ever-expanding EKC parent and alumni base from nearly every corner of the planet.
Camp is about growth, self-discovery, relationships, and values. EKC leadership and staff understand how to support campers so that they can overcome barriers, journey beyond their personal comfort zones and become the best version of themselves.
EKC strives to help each camper and staff member become part of a welcoming community that builds self confidence, fosters independence and creates lifelong friendships. The entire EKC experience, curated through
a Jewish lens, fosters community for campers and staff, and celebrates each individual’s uniqueness. The camper experience has been enhanced each summer since 2006 through an Israel seminar and leadership experience for staff-in- training (SIT) that has served 548 EKC’ers over 15 summers.
Studies demonstrate that Jewish overnight camping is one of the strongest
ways to keep children and teens invested in Judaism. EKC leadership strives to integrate these important considerations by creating aspirational arcs in skill building and programming that challenges and inspires each camper. We believe that the lynchpin of successful overnight camps is fostering high-quality programming and specialties to stimulate new experiences, new skills and new proficiencies.
SUSTAINING THE FUTURE OF CAMP
Prior to the pandemic, EKC had launched initiatives to build a brighter future
at camp by increasing camper recruitment and retention, improving camper/
parent satisfaction, supporting camper care and inclusion, and making
strategic capital investments at our facility. These efforts have been largely
funded through private donations over the past decade.
Major capital projects completed and totaling more than $8 million
• Dining Hall expansion and renovation
• Upgraded camper housing for the Sabra, Kinneret, and Halutzim Units
• ADA accessibility within living areas, restrooms and dining halls
• Zen Den, a sensory space to foster inclusion that is accessible 24 hours
a day, 7 days a week for any camper or staff member. The Zen Den is
appropriate for individuals with invisible disabilities such as ADHD, autism
and anxiety disorders, as well as neurotypical individuals.
• SIT and retreat housing at Beit Chosky, with new specialty training kitchen
and dance/exercise studio added to the lower level
• Wolf Family Aquatics Center
• Security improvements at the front gate and throughout camp
• Renovation of the outdoor amphitheater
• Renovation of staff lounge and new staff housing unit
• Upgraded staff fitness center
• New office and welcome center
• New outdoor covered pavilions
• New steps to lakefront and new boat dock area
ENHANCING THE EKC EXPERIENCE
As our safe and successful summer 2021 draws to a close, we are excited to focus on several initiatives to elevate our programming and benefit the EKC experience for years to come.
EKC is a Lake Camp—Let’s keep investing in it.
It is our 50th year on Cheat Lake, a beautiful 1,730-acre reservoir with calm and shady waters for swimming and water sports. Cheat Lake is an integral
part of the EKC experience, and it’s what makes our camp so special. By upgrading our waterskiing program with the addition of two boats and new ski equipment and employing highly qualified staff to lead the program, we believe that we can elevate our lake programming and support the sustainability of camp for future generations. This investment will include inclusivity improvements as well. Creating an accessible ski experience for every camper, regardless of physical ability, is important to us. Adaptive
water-ski equipment offers a unique opportunity for individuals with mobility, visual, or other impairments to experience the joys and benefits of water sports.
Upper Camp Experience—Racquet Sports
Our sports courts are in critical need of renovation and their restoration will augment our experience adjacent to the Wolf Family Aquatics Center, upper
ballfields and horse stables. Tennis and racquet sports bring an enhanced level of learning, fun and skill development both on and off the court—no matter the prior experience of any EKC camper. Our racquet sports will be rejuvenated as we bring in a tennis pro for the summer for skills development and training.
HOW YOU CAN HELP INVEST IN THE FUTURE OF EKC CAMPING
Please support our special fundraising drive this year with a donation or sponsorship as we continue to sustain and build the future of camp. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $250,000 to complete these two projects in time for Summer 2022.
The campaign will culminate in a gathering for EKC parents, alumni, and special friends at a time and place to be determined when we are at a less restricted time following the latest Covid wave.
Beyond next summer, we have ambitious dreams of a reimagined cove and beachfront area at the lake. We are already in communication with the US Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for the physical integrity of
Your ongoing support will help ensure the future of this invaluable community asset, and together we can take the next steps to ensure the future of EKC.
Please join us!
Dana and Michael Laidhold
Liz Goldberg and Michael Weisberg
Lauren and Jason Kushner
Noah and Maria Jordan
Beth Goldstein and Jeremy Goldman, Campaign Chairs
Aaron Cantor, EKC Director
Give today at donate.jccpgh.org/gamesetsplash
For more information
Fara Marcus • [email protected] • 412-339-5413 or
Cathy Samuels • [email protected] • 412-697-3501