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Comments from The Chair

My name is Marc Newburgh and I have the privilege of chairing the URJ Camp George Steering Committee.

Ok, so I know that all of you know about Camp George, but, do any of you know what a Steering Committee is, why Camp George has one, and what it does?

A Steering Committee is what I would call an advisory board. In other words the responsibility of the committee is to help Jeff Rose our Camp Director and his amazing staff by supporting their efforts, lending a hand when necessary and providing advice or opinion on various matters.

We aren’t involved in the day-to-day operation of the camp as we leave that to the professionals, but we might offer opinion on short and long-term strategic issues that could help to support the camps operation.

The committee is comprised of representatives of our camp community, a passionate group of volunteers who commit their time and energy, working tirelessly in support of Camp George and Jewish overnight camping. Members of our committee include parents of campers and staff, camp alumni, Jewish educators, and Rabbis. We try to include representatives from as many synagogues as we can and also include representatives from the Leo Baeck Day School, and Arza Canada.

So as we countdown to Summer 2012, I thought I’d reflect on my term as Chair, a period of time that has been exceptionally rewarding for me as I’ve had the chance to give back to our camp and community.

Having been a parent to kids who were both campers and staff, I’ve had the pleasure of watching our camp grow and mature from our first summer on Maple Lake in 1999 until today.

During the past two years:

  • We’ve achieved record enrollment and I’m happy to report that enrollment for summer 2012 already exceeds 2011
  • We’ve raised funds for Capital improvements to expand and improve our facilities and for camp Scholarships so that no child misses out on the opportunity to get back to George!
  • Our camp community worked tirelessly to complete the first ever Camp George Strategic Plan, which will help to guide our camp over the next 3 – 5 year period.
  • We hired Rabbi Noam Katz as the joint Dean of Jewish Living for Camp George and the Leo Baeck Day School.
  • We established a Reform Jewish Day Camp in Toronto jointly owned and operated by Camp George and Leo Baeck
  • We expanded our footprint in Parry Sound, by acquiring an additional 60 acres of land giving us a total of 240 acres on Maple Lake and providing a new space for campers to learn about agriculture and nature.
  • We added a basketball court.
  • We added a new Zip Line at the Ropes Course.  I will never forget experiencing this thrill with my wife!

As I look ahead these next few years I am thrilled that Jeff, KK, and Rabbi Katz will be at Camp George working together to insure that our campers have the best Jewish Overnight Camping experience possible.

And just as our children make friends that last a lifetime when they spend a summer at Camp George, my experience has given me the opportunity to make many wonderful and lifelong friends.

When my term as Chair of the Camp George Steering Committee concludes this August, I am thrilled that my dear friend David Abrams will become the next Chair of this committee. David has held the title of Vice Chair these past two years and has been a wonderful partner during my term. I look forward to working closely with David as he takes on his new role as chair.

There are so many exciting things to look forward to in the years ahead and I am confident that with Jeff Rose, David Abrams and our Camp Steering Committee working together, URJ Camp George will continue to shine as the jewel in our Reform Community

So as we join with loved ones to celebrate this season of renewal and redemption, let us renew our spirits and efforts in our advocacy and support for URJ Camp George – building a strong Jewish future together!

Wishing you and your families Chag Pesach Sameach!

Marc Newburgh, Chair