Giving Campers a Sporting Chance


With an emphasis on intensive sports and Jewish values, a new camp is hoping to draw scores of budding athletes from across the country next summer.
June 2010 will mark the inaugural season of the 6 Points Sports Academy, held on the facilities of the American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, N.C. The camp will be the 13th member of the network of camps run by the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).

While there are many other Jewish camps that offer sports throughout the day, “we’re going to provide a high level of instruction, incredible facilities, incredible staff and put it in a Jewish ambience,” said Randy Colman, the camp’s director.

“There are a lot of Jewish camps that they do sports and they do 45 minutes of this and 45 minutes of that — while there is some level of instruction it’s more for fun and recreation,” said Colman, noting that staffers will be coaches from high school and college teams and counselors will be young Jewish athletes.
The 6 Points Academy’s name is derived from the six-pointed Jewish star and the camps’ six core values: skills and expertise; training, conditioning and nutrition; teamwork and cooperation; sportsmanship; leadership and proud Jewish identity. It is being funded partly by grants from the Foundation for Jewish Camp and the Jim Joseph Foundation.

Jewish philanthropists have been investing heavily in camps in recent years, pouring tens of millions into an effort to keep kids engaged in Jewish culture during the summer. The 6 Points camp seems to be an effort to ensure that those who gravitate to elite sports facilities in order to hone budding athletic skills are not left out.

Each day, campers will receive four hours of training in their selected sports “major” — either basketball, soccer, baseball or lacrosse — and a variety of other sports electives and camp activities. There will be three two-week sessions over the course of the summer, for 10 to 15 year olds. So far about a dozen campers have already signed up.

“This is for a child that lives and breathes sports,” said Shane Carr, associate director of the camp.

“This has been a trend in camping — looking at more focused specialty camps,” said Carr, who previously worked at the URJ’s Camp Harlam in Pennsylvania. “It’s a competitive marketplace — parents want more focused options and shorter options.”

And they’ll have plenty of space to practice their skills on the 115-acre grounds of the American Hebrew Academy, with a double gym, eight-lane indoor pool, rock-climbing wall and various other fields.

But despite the busy day for every camper, Judaism will remain a cornerstone of the experience.
“Judaism is going to be seamlessly integrated throughout the day,” said Colman. “There is such an overlap in terms of sports and Judaism when it comes to teamwork and respect and cooperation.”

The Orthodox Union also offers a Jewish sports camp in the summer — NCSY’s Camp Sports in Baltimore, Md.

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