For the past seven years, it has been my distinct privilege to be chair of Camp B’nai Brith (CBB) of Ottawa. In that time, we (the camp’s board and a fabulous staff lead by Jonathan Pivnick) have accomplished a great deal.
A camp on the edge of financial ruin, with failing and ancient infrastructure and dropping enrolment has been reborn. The infrastructure and buildings are being rebuilt and renovated and we have a healthy balance sheet. Best of all, the camp is filled with shayna punim, shining with smiles and laughter. In fact, the first day of this summer will set an 81-year record for number of campers! This is truly a matter of immense pride to our families, our campers, our staff and our community. We thank our generous donors from our camp community and friends for their help in accomplishing this. The job isn’t finished, but we are well on our way.
What we have planned for the future includes renovating the rest of our cabins – we have seven done and 26 more to go. This doesn’t include the two new cabins built for this summer. We’re also planning for the improvement or replacement of a lot of old facilities, including the gym, rec hall, dance stage, dining hall, and more (and elements you don’t see, like pipes) all to meet the needs of today and tomorrow.
All of this is exciting news for the camp, but today I am looking for your help on an issue dear to the heart of our camp and our community.
Our camp was founded in 1935 by visionaries. It was part of the North American “fresh air” movement intended to help get inner city children, usually from families without means, out into the “fresh air” of the country for the summer. It is our task to continue that job today.
A look at the bylaws of the camp reveals that of the three objectives of the camp, two of them deal with providing a summer’s experience to families that cannot afford camp. For me, it is the most important thing we do.
Children from families with limited resources often do not have easy access to skills, social development and recreation that other families do. They do not have the disposable income to do the fun things that other families do. Often, even the availability of three nutritious meals a day can be a struggle.
At camp, everyone is the same. They do the same things, eat the same (kosher) food, and have fun and learn in the same way. They celebrate Shabbat in a beautiful and wondrous way. But they have to get through the gates to experience all of this. For this reason, CBB of Ottawa is immensely proud of our financial assistance program. It is easy, fair and confidential. All we need are
And that is all I ask of you today – just send us the kids in need of what a camp experience can bring to their lives. Find the kids for us, and we’ll find the money to look after them.
If you have, or know children, who would benefit from a few weeks at camp, but can’t afford it – please, please, please contact, or have their families contact Jonathan Pivnick at 613-244-9210 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Help us put smiles on the faces that need them most.