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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


July 14, 2017  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Glazer JCC begins its fun in the sun for campers


Campers getting ready to practice drills during volleyball camp. 
Photo byArielle Bader Campers getting ready to practice drills during volleyball camp. Photo byArielle Bader Joley Selbst bounced a multicolored volleyball off a gym wall again and again, all by herself – getting familiar with the feel of the ball and how it rebounds. Though smaller than most of the others in the volleyball camp Joley was attending, she was having fun learning the game.

The third grader is among 85 campers that are part of the inaugural summer camp program at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC in Tampa.

The Glazer JCC has partnered with local companies to bring weekly specialty camps to the new building and campers.

While summer camp sessions lasting three-weeks each and including a variety of activities are offered at JCC on the Maureen and Douglas Cohn campus, the Glazer JCC focuses on immersing campers in one program over the course of a week. The specialty camps offered at the Glazer JCC range from arts to sports, dance to movie making.

“Each week the kids get to go through a whole program and learn that well, and they get to swim each day, too,” said Youth and Teen Programming Manager David Siskin.

The Tampa Bay Lightning designed a ball hockey program to teach children the fundamentals of hockey without the ice. Four or five Lightning staff members will come out over the course of the week and show campers how to run drills and work as a team. The upcoming July 24 camp is one of the most popular, as it is similar to the hockey clinics the JCC has held with Lightning staff in the past. During some of those clinics, former players came to visit, surprising the children.

The city of Tampa contributed to the art camp earlier this summer, where participants worked in mediums of clay, canvas, printmaking and glass. Tampa’s Straz Center Theater for the Performing Arts will offer a musical theater program and earlier offered two dance camps and an iMovie camp, where kids created movies from an iPhones app.

The iMovie Camp turned out to be one of the most popular programs during the summer session, Siskin said. The campers wrote scripts, created movies and filmed themselves.

“The Straz instructor came every day and showed the kids what it was like to be an actor or a director. They learned things like ‘stage left’ and he helped the groups develop plots, assign parts and edit the film.”

At the end of the week, parents were invited to “screen” the final results, and the instructor created a YouTube channel for relatives and friends to watch online as well.

Campers also get to swim in one of the Glazer JCC’s two pools and run through its adjoining splash pad. There is also a main “hangout” room decorated with modern furniture, a foosball and pool table and couches to lounge on with friends.

On this particular day, camp staff members had to adjust quickly when the threat of lightning temporarily closed the pool. Campers were redirected to the gym to play while waiting out the weather. Groups of children batted around volleyballs, some serving over the full-sized net.

The summer program is open to children of all backgrounds and is not exclusive to Jewish campers. Even so, Siskin says he tries to fold in some ideals into the program. Each Friday, the children are served challah and they learn the Hebrew word of the day each morning.

“Some of the kids who were here this week weren’t Jewish,” said Siskin. “They would be more excited about the Hebrew word of the day than the Jewish kids.”

Siskin has previously worked with children at JCCs in Arizona, South Carolina and Kentucky. He is using his experience to continue developing summer camp programs as well as after-school programs.

This coming school year, Siskin will help usher in four new enrichment programs: Tots Start Tennis, Chess, Fun-Wise Math and Bricks for Kids. The programs will start in September and run for 10 weeks.

For more information about the Glazer JCC summer programs or after-school enrichment programs, call Siskin (813) 291-2252.

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