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February 16, 1990 - Image 59

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-02-16

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Campfire Exchange

Camp for
kids has
turned into a

College SC P
work. S

ori Stoffer s
working with
adults last s 1.1, :
8'a a
u r
Michigan State
was one of t .
selected to paftici
the Jewish OccuPa:,
organized by the Jew h
Vocational Seryjc
The eight**Iti
is open to fu
and offers
work closeiStViefil-r ---
sionals in various ageli
serving the local Jewish
community, says program
Holzman Silver.
The type of :y ies
Silver says . Students may
be workine*****.
planning, coftianication,
human services' business
administration, recreation
or public affairs at agen-
cies such as the Jewish
Community Center, the
Jewish Welfare Federation
and the Jewish Home for



Special to The Jewish News


ummer camp these
days means more than
battling mosquitos,
playing sports and singing
round the fire. If school-aged
youngsters prefer to try their
hand at anything from
rocketry to ranching, they can
probably find a camp to help
them do it.
Providing summer ac-
tivities for today's youth has
grown into a multi-million
dollar industry, offering pro-
spective campers and their
parents a choice but leaving
them with two basic pro-
(--- blems: how to discover exact-
\r ly what programs are
available and how to choose
the one that's right for them.
This year, for the first time
in the Detroit area, two
, organizations are helping to
provide some answers.
"There is something for
every child," says Ruthe Lax,
`,/, who recently opened the
\ Michigan office of Student
Camp and Trip Advisors, Inc.,
a free information and
referral service. It gives
clients access, Lax reports, to
"an enormous variety" of
activities for young
\' people between the ages of 6
and 22.
The Boston-based company,

which has branches across
the country with 6,000 clients
on its books, evolved to meet
families' growing need to find
/- programs with more flexible

time structures and more var-
ried activities than were of-
/ ' fered by the old-style, highly
structured, eight-week camps.
The latter still exist — and



Elaine Sturman coordinates special projects for Merrill-Palmer Institute.

are very popular, but the days
of their predominance are
gone, Lax says.
"Today, everyone wants to
find something that will ap-
peal directly to their in-
dividual child. It's not just
`Go to camp, Johnny, and
learn to swim and make
friends. Johnny today has all
kinds of different interests,"
she says.
Windsurfing and scuba div-
ing, film-making and dance,
archaeology and
oceanography, exploration,
study and travel in the U.S.

and abroad are just a few of
the activities offered by the
500 camps, tour organizers
and schools which SCATA
represents, all of which, Lax
reports have been visited by
SCATA representatives
within the last two years.
Lax spent four weeks last
summer visiting camps and
programs in California,
Canada and the East, before
meeting all her fellow
representatives to discuss
their various findings and
evaluations. "We are not just
a clearing house," she says.

"Every program that we have
is seen — and seen in action."
Before making any recom-
mendations, Lax meets each
family she advises to get as
full an understanding as she
can of their interests and con-
cerns. Then, drawing on the
detailed first-hand informa-
tion amassed by SCATA reps,
it is almost always possible to
find a compatible program for
a summer camp.
Another organization to
recognize the need for cen-
tralized information on sum-
mer programs is the Merrill-

Each intern is paid
$1,300 for the eight-week
period. More important,
organizers say, is that the
program's rewards are not
prinaarily financial. The
work involves a level of
professionalism beyond
that of most summer jobs,
says Barbara Murenberg,
associate executive direc-
tor of JVS. She says the
program offers insights
and experience invaluable
for the future. For Lori
Stoffer, working with de-
velopmentally disabled
adults at the Jewish Voca4
tional Service proved so
rewarding that she decided
to change her career focus,
opting to take a graduate
degree in social work in
place of pursuing a career
in elementary education.

-- Susan Welch



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