In 1956, Chabad-Lubavitch launched Gan Israel, an international network of summer camps, where children of all ages and walks of life learn to love their heritage while enjoying the best experience that camping offers.
In those days, enjoying a summer camp complete with sports, arts, crafts, and entertaining activities was a novelty reserved for children of families with means. When Chabad-Lubavitch founded its summer camps the guiding principle was that every child deserves to gain from the integration of education and camp activities and that no child should be left out. With strong support from communities worldwide, the majority of children currently attending Chabad-Lubavitch summer camps are on full or partial scholarship.
Gan Israel has grown into the world’s largest network of Jewish summer camps, with close to 98,000 children attending camps in North America, Europe, Australia, Russia, South America, and even Hong Kong. In Israel, 26,000 children attended Chabad-Lubavitch summer camps in the summer of 2011.
Over 60% of children attending Chabad-Lubavitch summer camps are from unaffiliated Jewish homes. To this end, introductory classes and exciting programs present Judaism in a relaxed, user-friendly manner. In addition, a growing number of Chabad-Lubavitch summer camps are now equipped to aid children with special needs.
Today, Gan Israel offers much more than the traditional swimming and canoeing. Many camps now offer cyber art,wilderness survival, tennis, karate, and mountain biking. Special trips to theme parks, bowling and creative Shabbat overnights complement the spiritual programs that are the hallmark of Chabad-Lubavitch: Daily study and prayer, Jewish song and dance, ritual arts and crafts, and a wide variety of activities designed to generate interest and excitement in Jewish history, observance and the performance of good deeds.
• In the summer of 2011, more than 120,000 children attended Chabad-Lubavitch summer camps.
• More than 90% of the 8,500 counselors that staffed Chabad-Lubavitch summer camps in 2011 attended Chabad-Lubavitch summer camps in their youth.
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