Many of us remember the Beatles’ song “Come Together.” One interpretation of the song is that it described how together the Beatles were greater than the sum of their parts. In life this is often true, and it is something we believe at Camp B’nai Brith of Ottawa (CBB).
CBB strives to contribute to a “coming together” in our community. We are Ottawa’s Jewish community camp. But our community is more than a summer camp. I could fill this entire column with information about how Jewish camping contributes to Jewish life, but suffice it to say that research demonstrates unequivocally that Jewish camping supports future affiliation, marriage within the faith, shul membership and support of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Annual Campaigns. We help build the leaders of tomorrow.
But camp is not enough. We live in a small community, and one that might be called “over-organized,” with too much competition between agencies. So, to that end, Federation Vice-President of Community Building Bram Bregman brought together CBB, the Soloway Jewish Community Centre and the Ottawa Jewish Community School (OJCS) to find ways to work together for the betterment of the community.
CBB is very enthusiastic about this initiative. We’ve already found ways to work together and hope to find more. This is an extension of work we already do with Hillel Lodge, Tamir and OJCS, and we strongly believe in this co-operation.
Recently, I met with a gathering of the community’s rabbis to ask for their support of our community initiative. Specifically, CBB has a strong financial assistance program to help families give their children a needed summer in the sunshine. I asked the rabbis, if they know a family that could use the help, to send them to us. And I ask the same of you. To me, helping families is the most important thing CBB does.
This year, CBB celebrates our 80th anniversary of being a proud and strong member of our community, and we are thrilled that we enter the year moving from strength to strength. In fact, in a period that has been trying for Jewish camps, we are on a high.
I have previously described the hard work undertaken by the CBB Board to rejuvenate our camp, and that hard work and success continues. This year, for the first time ever, we had to close first-half registration in most of our units in November, as we were already full. We still have the odd space here and there in the first half, but we are now concentrating on second-half registration, which is filling up fast, too – we are already ahead of our July 1 (second half) numbers from last year!
We are also working hard at physical improvements. This year, we will renovate at least four cabins, we have resurfaced the tennis courts and nearby basketball courts, we are adding more signage and have replaced and added to all of our water fountains (including adding bottle fillers). There is more great news in the pipeline, so stay tuned because it promises to be a spectacular summer!
In the meantime, Happy Birthday CBB! We look forward to many more years of working together with the community!