THE Boulder JCC’s proposal for a business and entrepreneurial camp for seventh-12th grade students to be housed at CU Boulder is one of four specialty camps selected for funding by the Foundation for Jewish Camp.
Camp Inc. was chosen to be part of the foundation’s specialty camp incubator, designed to engage a new, under-served generation of Jewish campers.
The Specialty Camp Incubator II, which considered 39 applications before selecting four, is part of an $8.6 million grant jointly funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation and Avi Chai Foundation.
Camp Inc., which will welcome its first campers in the summer of 2014, is the brainchild of Boulder JCC Executive Director Jonathan Lev and Josh Pierce, a local entrepreneur who will be the camp’s chief innovator and founding director.
Lev and Pierce are passionate proponents and products of the Jewish summer camp experience.
Together they envision a unique camp dedicated to innovation that will encourage, nurture and inspire aspiring entrepreneurs.
In addition to Camp Inc., the incubator program will fund Camp Zeke, an East Coast-based health and wellness camp; JCC Maccabi Sports Camp in the San Francisco Bay area; and the URJ Six Points Science Academy science and technology camp in the Boston area.
“I AM extremely thrilled to be the director of such an innovative overnight camp,” Pierce says. “Entrepreneurs are getting younger and younger and there is currently a void in entrepreneurial-focused summer camps.
“Camp Inc. is a pioneering concept that will fill that void by marrying the fun and excitement of a typical Jewish overnight camp with real world business skills that our campers will use throughout their entire lives.
“It is simply the right idea at the right time in the right location, and we have the perfect team to achieve success.”
Lev says that Boulder is the perfect site for a camp designed to teach the spirit of entrepreneurship and the realities of its practice.
“Boulder is not only a beautiful and inspiring natural setting to provide the fun factor necessary for any summer camp, but also a thriving entrepreneurial environment,” he says.
“Boulder offers an ecosystem conducive to learning first-hand from people on the cutting edge of the start-up world. Camp Inc. joins an incredibly diverse landscape that includes Tech Stars, The Founder Institute, The Unreasonable Institute and Silicon Flatirons.”
Susan Rona, president of the Boulder JCC board, notes that the innovative camp exemplifies the very concepts it will instill in the young participants.
“It is yet another new model for engagement that fits the vision of the Boulder JCC’s board, staff and community,” she says.
“It provides an opportunity to share the best of what Boulder has to offer and for us to be recognized nationally as a leader in innovation.”
LEV explains that the camp’s curriculum is built on three pillars: business education, philanthropy and Israel.
“The camp challenges participants to build a business, engage in philanthropy and become an expert in Israeli innovation. The camp provides a new way to connect to Israel as the world’s leading start-up nation, and we can learn a tremendous amount from them.”
Although geared toward business, the camp is not limited to aspiring entrepreneurs, according to its founders, who note that campers will learn leadership skills such as team-building, cooperation, articulating and achieving a vision, and thinking outside the box, all of which can be applied to any future endeavors.