Dear CSS Community,
In a normal year, I write our annual appeal to tout our recent successes and let you know how much your gift will make a difference in the lives of Jewish children all over the Pacific Northwest and beyond. And, while this year has been an extraordinary time of great successes and impactful giving from our community, I thought I’d take a different approach to our annual appeal. Following our summer program’s cancelation – the first time in Schechter’s sixty-eight year history! – our staff called every camp family to check in on our campers. The outpouring of support that our Camp team received throughout that period, both financial and emotional, quite literally, moved us to tears. So, this year, rather than telling you directly how much your gift will impact our community, I’d like to share a letter I received from a camp grandmother. (Names have been changed to ensure anonymity.)
Thank you for calling and checking in on Abby last week. She is still coming to terms with the fact that she will not be spending this summer in her favorite place on Earth, Camp Solomon Schechter. You told us that our family means the world to CSS, and I wanted to reach back out and let you know how much CSS means to our family. When I asked Abby what she’d like to share with you, she said, “Schechter is totally FUN!” And, while I do not doubt that Camp is “totally fun,” I know that it is a whole lot more than that as well.
CSS means a whole lot more to me because I was not raised in a Jewish home. I discovered Jewish values and culture later in life, and I am doing my best to provide a Jewish upbringing for my children and grandchildren. Camp has a way of making learning “cool.” Abby returns home each summer excited to sing songs, lead prayers, do activities, and just about anything else, Schechter-style! The lessons she learns at CSS make a lasting impression on her and support what I do at home.
CSS means a whole lot more to me because I am raising Abby as a single grandparent, and she needs to spend time with a younger crowd, filled with ruach (spirit) and energy! At Camp, she gets to be with kids, doing fun kids things, from morning until night. She gets to hear music that is not from the 60s. ~lol~ And I also get to have a bit of quiet, “me” time, which is something I don’t often get, having been raising kids now for nearly forty years.
CSS means a whole lot more to me because Camp has been there to support us financially. For decades I was a stay at home mom and did not work. Now, I am starting over with a young grandchild and still finding my financial footing. What’s more, I had to step back from my job to be with Abby, who is now home during the day for school. Money for Camp is simply not in the budget. I know I am not the only single grandparent or parent who is struggling in our community. We struggle quietly so as not to draw attention — but we are here, and we’d never be able to give our kids/grandchildren these experiences without Camp’s financial assistance.
Schechter has always supported us when I asked for assistance and, now, we are here for you. Please convert my deposit into a donation for Camp, so I can return the goodness. Tzedakah (charity) is an important Jewish value in our home and one that I hope to instill in Abby, no matter how much we may be struggling.
I wish you the best through these difficult times. I have faith that you and your team will navigate the road ahead, and I will be able to send Abby back next summer. In the meantime, we will be singing, dancing, praying, and doing activities — Schechter-style! — all summer long.
Thanks to community members like Sharon, we will be ready to welcome back our campers in 2021! But we need your help. The loss of an entire year’s income has meant deep cuts to our staffing and programming budgets. And, most notably to families like Abby’s, it means less money available for financial assistance. Many families in our community are hurting right now, and the need for financial aid is greater than ever. After a year with no Camp, we don’t want a single camper to miss another summer due to affordability. We know that Jewish summers lead to Jewish futures and, as such, Camp should be a right, not a privilege, for every Jewish child. With your help, we can ensure that no one “suffers quietly,” and every camper can spend their summer in a “totally-fun,” fully-immersive Jewish environment and experience a whole lot more for themselves!
Your donations will go directly to:
- Providing financial assistance to families who can’t afford Camp (and can’t afford to miss Camp);
- Offsetting COVID related impact (PPE, testing, cleaning supplies, additional medical support); and
- Creating sacred moments, where Judaism and joy are one!
You can easily donate today with our new CSS Venmo account (@Camp-Schechter). Every gift counts, whether it’s $36, $180, or $360 today; $18 a month; or more.