This past offseason Camp Solomon Schechter received generous donations from The Special Initiatives Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, The Gendler Grapevine, and The Goodman Camping Initiative for Modern Israel History, which enabled us to build a brand new garden and Teva Learning Center!
Our new garden provides opportunities for campers to learn basic gardening skills, and also provides a platform for teaching about Judaism, Israel and sustainability.
As the garden is coming into full bloom, so too are the campers' knowledge and understanding of running an organic garden rooted in Jewish values. Campers are realizing that just like us, plants need the right conditions and care to grow.
When pest problems arise in the garden, campers learn about organic solutions. For example, campers released 1500 ladybugs into the garden to prevent the aphids from destroying the plants. We are trying to create an organic ecosystem rather than following conventional practices of using chemicals. Keeping with our themes of organic practices and sustainability, campers are also maintaining compost bins; turning ends and trimmings into nutrient rich soil, and adding it back into the garden.
One of the best parts of my job is giving the campers a tour of the garden. Their curiosity and willingness to try new things continues to surprise me. Campers are happily picking away at the fresh fruits and vegetables as they become ready for harvest (they even love tasting the spinach).
The garden is proving to be a great resource for teaching many of camp's core values. For those of you coming to our visitors day on the 14th I look forward to meeting you, and I hope you have the chance to explore the garden for yourself.
Camp Solomon Schechter, Rosh Ginah