In 2019, JHF and the Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL) teamed up to make Jewish overnight camping and Israel travel a reality for Jewish-identifying kids in Louisville. While research clearly points to these experiences making a lifelong impact on children, including Jewish identity building, learning to live with others, cultivating a sense of independence and self reliance, teaching teamwork skills, and forming friends for life, the cost can be prohibitive for many families. Working through the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s One Happy Camper program, families in Louisville are eligible to receive up to three years of grants to cover a significant portion of camp tuition. Teens participating in an organized trip may also apply for financial assistance through what the JCL now calls the Jewish Journeys program.
As a result, in 2021, Jewish Louisville saw a 28% increase in overnight campers since 2018, the number of first and second year campers doubled over 2019, and despite the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, 12 teens from Louisville successfully traveled to Israel. Through continued investment in these programs, JHF seeks to inspire children to explore and celebrate their Jewish identity, and to build long lasting connections with each other and their Jewish community.