Sam's Spiel: FJC's Executive Leadership Institute

Posted by on February 13, 2013

I graduated from the Executive Leadership Institute or the (ELI) Program in December in Boca Raton Florida! Thank you to the Camp Solomon Schechter board for allowing me this opportunity, I loved it!

The ELI faculty and my ELI cohort of fellow executive directors were all instrumental in helping me realize my vision and mission for the camp.  Six times in fifteen months, fourteen of us fellow directors convened in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida. We had big and small group discussions, steeped in Jewish thought, filled with so many great insights into our leadership styles and what might need tweaking. The great coaches, speakers, professional fundraisers, and the many professionals that were brought in for us were all world class in my book. The FJC and Jeremy Fingerman are so thoughtful and I am so humbled. The cohort will be a lasting resource of colleagues and friends. 

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During ELI we built skills in the areas of board development and fundraising.  We each created a “summer change” project to be initiated back at our own camps.  We discussed various aspects of budgeting and financial management as well as how to sharpen our recruitment and fundraising message. There was a feeling of unity with everyone working toward the common good of the mitzvah of Jewish summer camping. The fellows all shared a belief in the value of Jewish camp as an agent to change lives and were all fully aware of the fact that the majority of Jewish kids in America do not attend Jewish camps.

The highlight for me may have been the time spent at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro.  There I was able to dig down into who I am as a person and a leader, realizing that CSS has the potential to move from good to great.

The ELI program that the Foundation for Jewish Camp so graciously puts on was an excellent experience for me.  It is incredible, that a donor The Marcus Foundation, founded and chaired by Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot and the Foundation for Jewish Camp had the vision for something that could help make the world a better place, and I feel so fortunate to be one of the instruments that carries out that mission. That living a Jewish life can lead to a strong identity and sense of belonging to the Jewish people, which can best be achieved through a summer at Jewish summer camp.  As an Executive Director I have the obligation and opportunity to lead young people and the whole community on this incredible journey called life. 

Sam Perlin, Executive Director

Camp Solomon Schechter