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Why CAMPaign for Change?

By: Ashleigh Imerman, Chief Advancement Officer

Why CAMPaign for Change?

The CAMPaign for Change supports camper scholarships and helps to ensure that every child, regardless of financial ability, can spend a life-changing summer at Tamarack Camps. Take a moment, close your eyes, and just imagine what going to camp does for a child who otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience Tamarack without your generosity.

Each year, nearly 30 percent of campers lean on the generosity of our community to receive need-based camper scholarship. And each year, they depend on us, on all of us, to collectively raise $1 million to bring them home to the “Greatest Place on Earth.”

Why is this important?

Because camp is important. Camp changes kids and changes their future. Countless Tamarack alumni have said, “I would not be the person I am today, if it were not for camp.”

While this can sometimes be difficult to articulate, it has been captured beautifully by Yiftah Leket, our Community Shaliach – an Israeli educator and father. I had the privilege of spending time with Yiftah, his wife Paz and their darling daughters, Gili (6 months) and Ella (3 years), during their time at camp. Here is what Yiftah said about the importance of camp for children:

“I have just returned home after ten days at Tamarack, my first overnight American-Jewish camping experience. I feel that I have returned slightly different than when I entered the Ortonville gates.

After ten days of many conversations, I think that I am beginning to understand the deep pedagogy that underlines the camp experience. In addition to the almost endless programming and fun, Tamarack is a place where a child can be free.

During the school year, our kids are molded in their modern society and tied to the paradigms, conceptions, psychology, and expectations that their world is teaching them. It takes a powerful and decisive act of education to unchain those paradigms. Tamarack succeeds in doing just that. The camp experience enables children to feel liberated for a month, where they can get back to the basics by peeling off thick layers of cynicism, lack of trust, and loneliness, to mention just a few feelings that have covered them by serving as self-defense mechanisms from the difficult realities of growing up.  

As educators, we tend to think about education as a long process, which is mostly true. That said, there is also a place for short yet “transformative experiences,” with an effect that changes the course of people’s lives. As I have learned, for [many] campers, Tamarack is exactly that.  

The way Tamarack has become a cornerstone in our community is exceptional and inspiring; it is indeed a microcosm of the values, the dreams, and the sense of belonging that is weaved in our community.”

And this is why we CAMPaign for Change, so that more children are woven into the fabric of our community as future leaders. We are a people who take care of each other and we have always operated that way. Our story began in 1902, when a group of inspired volunteers – women from the Detroit Jewish community – took immigrant children to Belle Isle to play outdoors, experience the fresh air, and enjoy a nourishing meal.

And ever since, Tamarack has provided thousands of children with transformative experiences that instill our future leaders with Jewish values. The CAMPaign for Change helps ensure that one of our most important mitzvahs, tzedakah (charity, philanthropy, and justice), remains an integral part of how our community lives Jewishly. Our children are learning to understand the importance of giving back and caring for each other. At the same time, by giving, we ensure that those who need help, continue to receive it.

We are beyond appreciative to you for investing in immeasurable opportunity through the CAMPaign for Change. We invite you to join us for its Culmination Celebration on Sunday, October 10th! Keep an eye out for updates and challenges leading up to the event!

Culmination Celebration Event info:
Sunday, October 10th
1:00 – 4:00 pm
Drive-through event at Adat Shalom Synagogue, 29901 Middlebelt Rd Farmington Hills
Register here:
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