Different camps are known for different things. Some are known for their caring staff, high-quality learning or action-packed trips. The Ckids Gan Israel overnight camp, now gearing up for its third summer, is building a reputation of a jammed-packed schedule with high-quality activities, family atmosphere, dedicated staff, high energy, and all in an immersive Jewish experience.
“We’ve built up a camp atmosphere where kids are having the time of their lives all while making huge strides in their Yiddishkeit,” says Levi Plotkin, director, who recently moved down to Florida to direct camp full-time.
“We don’t just cater to one kind of kid,” Chaya Plotkin explains, who directs the camp alongside her husband. “We have sports; we have art; we have baking, drama, games, swimming—we design a program where there’s truly something for everyone.”
A camp is only as good as its staff, and that’s why Ckids Gan Israel hand-picks quality bochurim from all over the world who vie for the chance to make an impact in the lives of Chabad house kids. “My son’s counselors, months later, still call to wish him a good Shabbos every Friday,” says Lara B., a parent from Sunny Isles. Adds another camper, Ariel Barak, a fifth-grader from Miami: “After the first five minutes of camp, the staff and campers already felt like my family.”
The first year, Ckids Gan Israel opened up with 30 campers mid-pandemic. Last year, enrollment doubled with 60 kids, and is set to keep growing with spots for 100 kids this summer.
The camp experience will reach a whole new level with impressive new campgrounds featuring state-of-the-art amenities and a diverse selection of outdoor activities on-site. Featuring a lake with paddle-boating, canoeing, kayaking, and inflatables; a junior Olympic pool, rock climbing walls, zip-lines, archery, a high ropes course and a trapeze swing, the grounds give campers access to incredible activities every single day.
Set in North Carolina, the new location is set to attract an even more diverse set of campers than in previous years.“CKids Gan Israel brings the Rebbe’s vision to life, every single day. That is the secret to its tremendous success, in sheer numbers but, most importantly, in the tremendous impact that it has on every single one of its campers.” said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos.
At Ckids Gan Israel, that ruchniyus is imbued in every part of the day, from waking up with Modeh Ani on the loudspeakers to Friday night camp-wide singing. “It’s amazing to see kids come back to Hebrew school after the summer,” says shliach Rabbi Pinchas Adler from Chabad of Pinellas County.
Visit ckidsganisrael.com to find out more.