By David S. Fischer, M.D.
“Jews of New Haven” Editor
For the past 65 years or more, the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater New Haven or its predecessors have operated a summer camp for children of its members, but accepts children of non-members for a higher tuition fee. In 1953, 10-year old Barry Vine was fortunate to receive a scholarship to the camp. He has never forgotten that experience.
“Barry also has fond memories of summers spent as a scholarship camper at the JCC. He relates that camp ‘opened my world to new vistas and experiences. We traveled to Woodmont, the summer home of many Jewish families, where, as young boys, we sometimes peeked into the girls’ dressing areas, only to be scolded by our counselors. We learned camp songs, which we sang as we traveled to Wharton’s Brook and Chatfield Hollow, parks where we swam and had cookouts. Each day we ate freshly cooked kosher lunches and on rainy days we went to the movies at the Whitney Theatre. We had arts and crafts classes and played many games, but most of all we developed life-long friendships with campers and counselors who became our mentors.’ (Barry has been a strong supporter of camping programs and chairs the JCC Camp Scholarship Fund),” Jews in New Haven (JINH) 9, 2009, pp. 244-253.
In 2003, Barry and a group of his closer friends informally started raising funds for the JCC summer camp with some success. In 2004, they formally established the Barry Vine Send a Kid to Camp Scholarship Fund because they knew that Barry’s friendships were legion and if he vouched for a charity it was worthwhile and he always “put his money where his mouth was.” If he asked you to give, he was giving much more. From his 1953 experience, Barry knew how important a summer camp experience is, especially for a city kid who needs a subsidy (partial scholarship) to attend for two weeks or more. Since then, the fund has raised close to one million dollars for scholarships.
The camp provides a unique opportunity for the children to spend time in a safe and enriching environment and to enjoy activities that enhance life experiences and friendships that begin one summer and continue to grow and evolve throughout life. All activities have been at the JCC campus in Woodbridge, including the outdoor pool and swim lessons, drama stage, sports fields, music and dance, basketball, human foosball, field trips, archery, picnics, arts and crafts and four miles of hiking trails.
The complete version of this article is published in the Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven’s newly released “Jews of New Haven” Volume X, and has been printed here with permission.
JCC Day Camps is gearing up for another lifetime of fun in one endless summer at its campgrounds at 360 Amity Road in Woodbridge. The 2017 Camp Season is June 26 - Aug. 11. For more information or to register, visit jccnh.org/camp.