If any of you are like me, March Madness has taken over your day and you are frantically checking your NCAA basketball brackets, sneaking peaks at game scores throughout the day. This past fall I started the University of Washington – Foster School of Business’ part time MBA program, and was fortunate enough to receive a grant through the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Robert and Elisa Spungen Bildner Fellowship. Fortunately for me, and for my bracket, I just completed a semester of “Statistics Analysis for Business,” but it was not my basketball bracket where I have most utilized the last quarter of studying. For the last few weeks there has been much talk about the impact of Jewish summer camp. This is likely a result of the CAMP WORKS study released by FJC earlier this month.
As a full time camp professional, I am always thrilled with anything that supports the work that we do. Any tool which shows Jewish summer camp as integral in the foundation and growth of a child’s Jewish identity and, further, indicates increased involvement in the Jewish community and ongoing Jewish life, is a welcome tool for us to share with parents and community members. If this had been published three months ago, I probably would have said to myself, “Here is a great article to share with families about the success and importance of Jewish Summer Camp.”
Instead, at the beginning of March, I poured over the report with a whole new perspective. I looked at the findings not only through the eyes of an Assistant Camp Director but, also, as a person who was just about to take her final stats exam. The night before the study was released, my class focused on multivariate statistical analysis, looking at the importance of isolating specific variables and controlling for the potential effect of others. I heard myself explaining the methods in conjunction with the results of the CAMP WORKS study with great excitement. The strength of the findings was not the qualitative idea that camp is great, but rather the ability to quantify what we all felt. Jewish Camp works and it’s all in the numbers. The ability to combine and quantify gives exceptional weight, not only to the study, but in effect, to the success of Jewish Camp.
In the FJC’s Yitro Leadership program, our cohort spent a lot of time drilling down into the details of our camps’ programs and missions. We explored the methods of infusing the day to day of camp with intentionality and supported each other in developing meaningful additions to the culture and offerings of Jewish Camp. Now, just two quarters into my MBA program, I am excited that I have already found ways to seamlessly apply my coursework to, well, work and understand methodology from a different angle.
- Briana Holtzman, Assistant Director, URJ Camp Kalsman