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Camp explores summer fun, cultural diversity

Camp Chaverim, a summer camp sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City, celebrates its 25 anniversary with activities, cultural diversity
by Carla Hinton Published: June 30, 2012

Campers gather each morning to learn the “Hebrew word of the day.”

Young people play in a swimming pool as others learn how to make a flute out of clay.

It is a typical week at Camp Chaverim, the summer camp sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City.

Marcy Price, the federation's programs director, said this is the 25th year the federation has run the camp at Temple B'nai Israel, 4901 N Pennsylvania. Price said Temple B'nai had a summer camp for Jewish children, but the federation took over the camp's sponsorship in 1988 and opened it to the community at large.

She said throughout the years, the camp has attracted young people from the non-Jewish as well as the Jewish community.

Price, and the camp's longtime director, Pamela Richman, said Camp Chaverim offers activities such as swimming, sailing, music, sports and arts and crafts in three-week sessions. Older campers were treated to a scavenger at Penn Square Mall in conjunction with the camp theme “I Spy ... A Summer of Friendship and Fun.”

However, the camp's uniqueness comes from the sharing of Jewish cultural practices with youths from different backgrounds.

One a recent morning, campers totaling about 110, gathered for morning group activities that included learning a new Hebrew word — tove, which means “good.” Price said the camp counselors perform a skit using the word and campers have fun it throughout the day.

A special part of the camp is the mitzvah or Jewish commandment to perform charitable acts. Price said teens working as camp staff members performed community service projects at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and Infant Crisis Services. She said young campers are being encouraged to donate food to a campwide food drive. Price said campers also are bringing pennies and other small change to go toward a charity which will be the Respect Diversity Foundation this year. She said money raised will be given to the foundation in the name of Holocaust survivor Meyer Kornblit, who died this month.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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