Drones, zip lines, drip irrigation, coming to camps this summer

Kids going to Capital Camps this summer will be able to try out a spin-off of the game Four Square, called Nine Square in the Air.
Photo courtesy of Capital Camps

What’s new for kids going to area camps this summer?

Camps today are constantly refining the experiences by tapping into niche interests, like 3D modeling and drones, or bringing back classic games like four square with a new twist.
Here are six summer camps that have big plans for 2017.

Camp Shoresh
Adamstown, Md.
Camp type: Day

Camp Shoresh is known for its 107- acre campus in Adamstown, and this year it is building a new way for campers and staff to move through the campus quickly and in style.


Zip lines. And not just one, but two.

The dueling zip lines will run from the camp’s challenge course to its community center. The camp’s director, Rabbi Dave Finkelstein, hopes this will make transportation through the camp quicker and more exciting.
Additionally, Shoresh will offer several new electives, including gardening, edible art, photography and woodworking.

Capital Camps
Waynesboro, Pa.
Camp type: Residential

Capital Camps is focusing on introducing new games this year, said Director Adam Broms. One of those games is “nine square in the air.”

The game is modeled after four square, which has players hit a ball on the ground with four equally-sized squares making up the court.

In nine square in the air, players stand under an apparatus of PVC pipes. A ball is tossed into one of the squares, and then the player in that space must hit the ball up through their square and into another square. If the player misses or the ball goes out of bounds, that player is out and a new player can enter the game.

Camp Judea
Henderson, N.C.
Camp type: Residential

Campers at Camp Judea, a Zionist camp, will embrace Israel this year by learning about drip irrigation, a practice the Jewish state invented.

The camp will partner with Netafim, an Israeli irrigation company that has offices in the United States, to design small-scale irrigation systems with which campers can experiment, according to interim Executive Director Leah Zigmund.

The science-related push will also include mini field stations with water testing kits to compare different kinds of water and a garden for growing crops.

Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington Camps
Rockville, Md.
Camp type: Day

The Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington is taking a cue from Israel for its camps this year by introducing the Big Idea program.

The Big Idea is an English-speaking Jewish summer camp in Israel that focuses on technology. The Bender JCC is running with the idea of a technology camp, but will employ Israeli and Hebrew-speaking staff.

Campers will learn about graphic design, 3D modeling, robotics and other technology while also learning Hebrew.

With “Israel being a technology hot bed of the world, it really goes hand in hand” with Jewish summer camp, said Phil Liebson, director of Bender JCC camps.

Camp Young Judea
Amherst, N.H.
Camp type: Residential

Co-directors Marcy Kornreich and Jamie Marks said the girls’ cabins at Camp Young Judea have been long overdue for renovations. Those renovations will happen for this summer, but they will not be throwing out the old wood.

“We saved the wood where kids had engraved their names and we’re going to help them create mezuzahs, chairs and tables,” said Kornreich.

Additionally, the camp will expand its waterfront activities with a stand-up paddleboard program.

“It doesn’t require a lot of training to learn how to do it. Especially if you are under the age of 15, you can get up almost instantly and start enjoying it,” said Kornreich.

Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia
Fairfax, Va.
Camp type: Day

The Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia is introducing two new specialty camps this year.
One will teach campers how to pilot drones. The other, “Wizards and Potions,” is aimed at campers who are fans of the Harry Potter series. Kids will create “potions” based on those featured in the book, said Rich Dinetz, director of JCC camps.

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