Our Mission -
Rooted in the Jewish vision of creating a more environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually connected, world, Eden Village Camp is dedicated to providing campers with an incredible summer experience while empowering them to promote a vibrant future for themselves, their communities, and our planet
Our Vision -
Eden Village Camp…
- is a living model of a thriving, inspired, sustainable Jewish community, grounded in social responsibility and vibrant spiritual life.
- is not a place where campers retreat from the world, but one that allows them to more powerfully step into the world.
- creates a fun, safe and inclusive space for young people to be themselves – to learn, grow and explore their true gifts and passions. As campers gain both technical skills like outdoor living and social skill sets like learning to thrive in community, they deepen their sense of personal purpose, contribution and Jewish identity.
- offers an immersive education in Jewish values that provides a context for making choices and taking action. Campers consider and express those values through activities like hands-on farming, hiking, arts, contemplation and service to others, which simultaneously transforms them and changes the world.
The goal was both lofty and simple: to create a safe space for young Jews to ask big questions while having the time of their lives, and to help them create a more just, sustainable and joyful world, starting with themselves and their home communities.
We started hosting community visioning meetings and outlining the dream in the form of a proposal. We later learned of the Jewish Specialty Camp Incubator, a competitive grant that would provide resources to create five new camps (with funds from the Foundation for Jewish Camp and Jim Joseph Foundation). For months, while Yoni completed his Masters in Informal Jewish Education and Vivian practiced public interest law, we spent evenings and weekends crafting a detailed proposal, with generous input from colleagues, friends, family and community. On September 15, 2008 — the day after our wedding — we learned that our camp had been selected!
We suddenly had major funding, talented and committed mentors, and a training program designed to ensure that Eden Village Camp would adhere to best practices and succeed in its mission.
The way we found our gorgeous site felt equally miraculous. On a seemingly ordinary Monday afternoon, our friend Nili was on a business call with someone from the UJA-Federation, who happened to mention that the UJA had an empty camp facility and was looking for someone with an environmental leadership camp vision. Just minutes later, we called Nili to tell her our camp idea – and the match was made!
Dream to Reality
Eden Village Camp is the blossoming of a large group of people who believe in the power of young people to create change in themselves and in the world, who believe Judaism contains wisdom that speaks to today’s most pressing issues, and who are excited to help young people thrive within a positive, solutions-based community.
For two joyful, intensive years, we brought our dream into reality through capacity-building, program development, staff training, site renovations, camper recruitment and more. With tremendous support on all sides, we launched in Summer 2010—with 134 campers from 17 states and 4 countries!
And it succeeded beyond our wildest imagination! For all that we’d planned Eden Village Camp as a kind of kid-and-teen paradise, we couldn’t have predicted how immensely each of our campers and apprentices would contribute to shaping our kind, spirited, creative community.