NEW YORK (JTA) — The Foundation for Jewish Camp is launching a program that offers discounted prices for eligible first-time campers at Jewish overnight camps throughout the United States.
BunkConnect, which was piloted last summer at 35 camps on the East Coast, offers middle- and lower-income families whose children have not previously attended Jewish camps tuition discounts ranging from 40 to 60 percent off camps’ listed rates.
Parents of prospective campers can instantly determine eligibility by completing an online form, then search for available sessions that meet their geographic, denominational and other preferences. Participating camps represent a range of movements and denominations.
“BunkConnect marries best practices from the business world, new technologies and learnings from the hospitality industry, and takes a fresh approach to addressing affordability in Jewish life,” said Michael Leven, president and COO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., one of the program’s lead funders.
This summer, the program will offer 1,700 discounted slots at over 75 U.S. camps. Eligibility is determined based on a family’s adjusted gross income, number of dependent children and place of legal residency. Over 100 children participated in the program pilot. The program seeks not only to make camp more financially accessible, but to boost enrollment among families that might not otherwise consider Jewish camp, or that are unaware of or reluctant to apply for scholarships.
The program’s funders, which include the Avi Chai Foundation and the Leader Family Foundation, are underwriting operating costs. The participating camps absorb the cost of the discounts. The slots and sessions in some cases would otherwise go unfilled.