SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – Camp Yachad, a popular summer camp based at the JCC in Scotch Plains, turns 25 this year. The program now features different travel, performing arts and sports options in addition to a traditional day camp model.
When Camp Yachad opened in 1991, its mission statement was simple: Give children a fun and memorable summer experience. Although much has changed at the day camp, the objective has not.
In 1994, they added a travel camp component, and 2011 saw the creation of the performing arts camp at Dancers Pointe and then the sports camp at Wardlaw-Hartridge in 2013. But back in 1991, there was no campsite at all, and kids went across the street to the YMCA for swimming.
Now the camp uses the JCC pool and has over 800 campers and 300 staffers. They’ve added a multitude of sponsors like NJY Camps, Surgent’s Elite Gymnastics, Dancers Pointe, Martial Arts of America, Town of Scotch Plains (tennis courts), Wardlaw-Hartridge, Town of Springfield pool, Throwback Sports, Tumble Jam and Preschool of Rock.
Additionally, in recent years they’ve renovated their gaga (Israeli dodgeball) courts, outdoor basketball court and ropes course. In 2015, Yachad built a new splash pool perfect for younger children and children with special needs. They also added door-to-door transportation for all campers above the age of 3.
One component that has remained constant in the camp’s history is their incorporation of Judaism into their activities. Other than promoting Jewish values like kindness, respect and friendship, Yachad hosts Israeli emissaries, called Schlichim, who work as counselors and teach about Israeli culture. There is also a Shabbat program every Friday, Judaic art projects and a Hebrew word of the day.
Yachad means "together" in Hebrew and this remains the camp’s focus and guarantee to their patrons – to create an inclusive and enriching summer community.
The camp will host a 25th anniversary party for campers and counselors, as well as celebrate the milestone throughout the summer. There is still time to register for this summer by clicking here. Session 1 is from June 27 to July 22 and Session 2 is July 25 to August 19.
Editor's note: Camp Yachad is an advertiser on TAP into Westfield. To learn about becoming an advertiser, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 917-676-2302.