By Nadine Freedman
JCC Camps at Medford Committee Member
Part Four of our Summer 2020 CAMPaign.
In 1952, my grandparents, Sam and Betty Plasky, rented a summer vacation campground called Grenlock Park near Blackwood, NJ. For several summers, beginning in 1952, Camp Hilltop, the JCC’s camp, was held there. The park was very rustic, offering swimming, boating, nature trails, athletics and activities spanning from arts and crafts to theatre. Many of the “Camden Baby Boomers” will remember this as one of their first offsite camp experiences. In this blog, you’ll see some pictures of Camp Hilltop 1952-53 at Grenlock Park.
I started at the JCC Camps at Medford in 1986 in Geza and stayed all the way up to Tiyulim in 1997. My favorite summers were the Chaverim summers. We loved our camp days on Mondays and Fridays and the rest of the week was spent on our Safety coach buses headed to fun day trips! The weeklong trips to Canada and Virginia are still memories I hold dear to my heart.
My husband, Jason, was also a camper at a young age and after his overnight camp years, he returned to JCC Camps at Medford as the Hilltop sports counselor.
Fast forward to now, our children, Sam and Sloan, absolutely love camp! We enjoy watching them get on the bus each morning with excitement, stalking the picture gallery in the afternoon to see what they were up to each day, and greeting them as they get off the bus each evening to hear what ice cream/ice pop they received after lunch!
As a 4-generation camp family, we know the importance that the JCC Camps at Medford has on the South Jersey Jewish community. We also know that our summer home needs our help now, more than ever before. While camp has cut spending at this time, you may be wondering why so many expenses have been incurred prior to the summer starting, and why camp needs our help. Here are just some of the ways that money is spent in preparation for the summer:
- Professional Staff Salaries – Our year-round professional staff members work all year to plan an amazing summer experience. They have already taken pay cuts while still working above and beyond their regular hours, and the Katz JCC has laid off 60% of its workforce.
- Site Maintenance & Utilities – Our gorgeous 120-acre site requires ongoing maintenance and upkeep.
- Recruitment – Our professional staff attend camp fairs and community events across the region to talk about camp, meet with families, and recruit the next generation of Medford Campers.
- Marketing – Our marketing team works directly with our camp team to create eye-catching and engaging marketing materials.
- Program Planning & Supplies – From the day camp ends, we are already thinking about program improvements for the following summer. Throughout the entire offseason, our team is planning and purchasing supplies for summer programming.
Camp is home and we can’t wait to be “home” again in Summer 2021! Please join us in supporting the JCC Camps at Medford so that we can continue to welcome new generations to camp!
To make a donation to help sustain the JCC Camps at Medford, please click here.