By Ellie Emerson
2014 Camp Stein Cornerstone Fellow
The Cornerstone Fellowship is an event organized by the Foundation for Jewish Camp that hosts leaders chosen from summer camps around the nation to represent their camp. The purpose of the fellowship is to help enhance the Jewish programming at summer camp by teaching the chosen representatives how to plan meaningful and successful programs, how to be better leaders, and how to engage campers in a way that strengthens their Jewish identity.
Taking place at Capital Camps in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, the fellows stay and learn together in a rural camp setting. For four days the fellows attend programs taught by Jewish educators with extensive camp experience and also get to learn from interacting with representatives from different camps. Each fellow picks a specialty track, a topic that they will learn the most about. Examples of the specialty tracks include Shabbat, Social Justice, Sports, Inclusion along with many more. The specialty track that I chose was art, where I learned that campers all express themselves in different ways and that art is a meaningful way to express yourself while connecting to Judaism.
From the programming at Cornerstone I learned many things. I learned that there are ways to incorporate Judaism into every program and how to make it fun. I learned about experiential programming, which is programming that campers are able to deduce concepts from experience rather than being told what they are supposed to be learning. I learned how to set goals and how to accomplish those goals from successful programming. From making friends from other camps I learned how every camp is different and what things certain camps do that work and don’t work. I will be able to bring everything that I’ve learned back to Camp Stein as an ambassador for my fellow counselors. My overall experience at the Cornerstone Fellowship was educational and strengthened my passion for Jewish summer camp and will undoubtedly improve my skills as a counselor this summer.