Olympics meddle in summer camp planning

By Simon Rocker, August 2, 2012

The Olympics has had one adverse effect — a likely fall in numbers at Jewish youth summer camps.

Ilana Fenster, of Masorti movement Noam, said it was likely to experience a “substantial drop” from last year’s record figure, although the fall was “slight” compared to years before that.

Although Noam decided to delay the camps until the Olympics are over, there is the additional problem that many families have put off holidays until after the Games.

But the smaller turnout did have an upside. “We think that some of the educational aspect got lost because of the numbers, so we are hoping to bring that back this year.”

FZY mazkir (national secretary) Josh Marks reported that camp numbers would be “down slightly, in large part due to the Olympics, but we are confident they will pick up next year”.

Bnei Akiva mazkir Alex Cohen said that members had been canvassed on whether to change dates to avoid a clash with the Olympics. The response was that “camp dates should remain as the first two weeks in August rather than be moved.

“I imagine that this was because people had other plans, including potentially going abroad during the last two weeks of August.

“A very small amount of parents have mentioned to us that [the Olympics] is the reason their children are not attending… but the impact has been small and is certainly not likely to be long-term.”

Habonim camps organiser Greg Manson said the movement had briefly contemplated changing dates to avoid the Games but had decided against it. “As it stands, our camp participation numbers have not been affected.”

However, Reform’s Shemesh camps are starting slightly later than usual to allow participants to enjoy the start of the Games.

Last updated: 2:36pm, August 2 2012