‘Out of the Box’ CGI Planned As Camp Alternative

With Gan Israel Camps across the country scrambling to plan for uncertain times, Ckids headquarters is ahead of the game with a unique program to help shluchim create the summer of a lifetime

Year after year, summer after summer, kids around the world have looked forward to Camp Gan israel. With social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders in different stages across state lines, what will this summer look like for CGI? Introducing “Out of the Box CGI—Extraordinary programming for extraordinary times”.

CKids is excited to launch a resource to help shluchim create summers of a lifetime in their communities. The result of a partnership with a dedicated group of camp directors, Out of the Box CGI makes use of shluchim’s expertise along with resources from Ckids to create a high-quality program that every shliach can adapt to their unique circumstances. 

“Our mission is always to make life easier for shluchim,” says Ckids director Rabbi Zalmy Loewenthal, who spearheaded this project. Ckids, a division of Merkos 302, provides shluchim with the curriculums, resources, and training to make their programs as high quality as possible. This year, “with a summer situation that none of us could ever have anticipated,” says Rabbi Loewenthal. “We put our heads together to come up with a solution.”

The Ckids solution promises to deliver the same warmth and excitement for Judaism that parents have come to expect from a Camp Gan Israel summer. The difference here is that the camp experience will be fully adaptable to each shliach’s unique situation. 

“With each state issuing different guidelines for social distancing, it’s important that the program be flexible to accommodate all the different needs,” says Rabbi Zalmy Kudan, director of the initiative.  

Shluchim can customize a camp package that works for them. Whether that means in person programming (taking social distancing guidelines into consideration), camp kits to provide parents for use at home, or virtual, Zoom-run camp options with custom games.

Whichever medium is chosen, the summer experience includes a full learning curriculum, daily activities, and exclusive access to virtual events. The camp package also offers different tracks geared to different ages, ensuring that all groups of kids will find something meaningful for them.

“We want to give shluchim the tools they need to fulfill their mission,” says Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, executive director of Merkos 302. With Out of the Box CGI, kids around the world can rest assured that “when it comes to Camp Gan Israel, at least, the show will go on.”  

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