by Gabby Blair
Are your children ready for… not just a good summer… not just a great summer… but for a summer of AWESOMENESS!? If so, then get your campers signed up for Summer Day Camp at the Omaha JCC! Under the direction of Megan Berlin, JCC Youth and Camp Director, this year’s day camp is completely revamped and revitalized to bring a healthy dose of summer fun to children and peace of mind to parents. Fully accredited by the American Camping Association, and with programs voted “Best of Omaha” for four years running, the JCC camp offers something for everyone PK-8! This year’s exciting line up includes full and half day camp options in addition to specialties such as, sports, art, theater and dance camps. For kids K-7, any half-day specialty camp can be combined with an afternoon of day camp for a full day of fun!
“Our theme is ‘Summer of Awesomeness’,” said Megan Berlin. “I am so excited about the line-up of field trips and special guests we have in store for campers this year! So far, registration has been strong, and I would encourage folks to sign up soon to ensure they get into the camps they want!”
New this year, JCC Camp is open to members and non-members alike, and Berlin goes on to say that “member families are excited to have their children’s non-member friends join them at the highly acclaimed camps we offer. As a result, some camps are starting to fill up.”
For campers entering Kindergarten through 3rd grades, field trips to fun destinations such as Fontenelle Forest, The Omaha Children’s Museum, Bellevue Berry Farm, and local area splash parks will take place during camp weeks 1,3,5,7 and 9. On weeks 2, 6, and 8, campers are invited to specially planned overnights in the Youth Lounge that include dinner, breakfast, and lunch the next day. “Our awesome K-3 campers also receive 30 minutes of group swim lessons every day, in addition to free swim in the afternoons, and their days are full of age appropriate activities in art, music, sports and small group activities.” Berlin also highlights the addition of Chugim, or enrichment electives, that each 2-3 grade camper will select as the week begins. “This is a great way to let kids help design their day based on personal preferences. Campers will choose an area of interest, such as cooking, art, music, etc., from a list each week and will get to spend time each day with specialists who will help instruct campers in their selected elective.” Specialists include a wide array of professionals such as chefs, sculpture artists, professional musicians, and more!
Campers entering grades 4- 7 will enjoy weekly field trips every Thursday to exciting destinations such as the SAC Museum, Defy Gravity, Mahoney State Park, Hot Shops Art Center, Rock Paradise, Rotella’s Italian Bakery, Julio’s, Hiro 88, and the Henry Doorly Zoo. These campers will also give back to the community by doing weekly service projects including, but not limited to, helping with the Jewish Community Garden, collecting and sorting food for local food pantries, writing postcards for service members, and planning the end of camp carnival. “We have a lot of fun things planned for our campers and every day is going to be a little different,” says Berlin. “I was really happy to have a hand in designing this year’s summer camp line up. I hope to recreate traditions that make kids love camp and want to come back year after year.” Berlin, a former Girl Scout Camp Director, goes on to say, “My goal is for the kids to not only have a fun and safe time, but for them to feel a sense of community, because that is what the JCC is all about.”
All camps include swimming, towel service and snacks and are run by carefully selected CPR and First-Aid-certified counselors who have passed both background checks and drug screenings. Come check out the camp staff biographies on display in the youth lounge to learn a little more about this summer’s awesome counselors! Campers should bring a backpack with swimsuit, sunscreen and a non-meat lunch with them daily. Goggles and extra socks are also a good idea for their time in the pool and for field trips where socks are required. Please leave electronics and valuables at home as we cannot be responsible for them. All medical and registration forms MUST be submitted by each camper’s first session in order for campers to participate. For those who need an earlier drop off or a later pick up, before and after care is available for an extra charge.
Looking for options when camp is not in session? Check out the line up of Summer Fun Days on June 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 29 and 30, and July 1 and 2. Campers will be park hopping around town, visiting cool places like Family Fun Center, and, new this year: two very special Summer Fun Day field trips specially designed with our older campers in mind. On Tuesday, June 2, gear up for an all-day trip to Adventureland in Des Moines, IA; Tuesday, June 30 campers will be thrilled to visit Worlds and Oceans of Fun in Kansas City. These camps are sure to be a highlight of your kid’s summer!
To reserve spots for day camp, specialty camps, summer fun days, or before and after care, call Laura Wine, JCC Registrar at 402.334.6419. While all camps are open to members and non-members alike, JCC members enjoy discounts on all of our programs and camps and are able to register online at www.jccomaha.org anytime. JCC Member families are also invited to our fabulous outdoor 4th of July pool party noon-3 p.m. Come for free games, prizes, and music and enjoy refreshments, for purchase, from our snack shack.