21st Century Skills and Jewish Camp

Jewish Camp delivers value to campers in so many ways. Most people know that it solidifies Jewish identity, it creates life long friendships, it teaches skills and allows kids to have experiences that they wouldn’t have in their home communities. What most people don’t realize, is that Jewish camp is also one of the best environments to teach campers newly identified skills that they will need to be successful in the emerging 21st century workforce. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is an organization that is dedicated to addressing the gap between the knowledge and skills most students learn in school and the knowledge and skills that they need in typical 21st century  communities and workplaces. P21 (created by Apple, PBS, Dell and the US Dept. of Education to name a few of the founders) has identified a comprehensive set of skills that our children will need to learn in order to bridge this gap successfully. These include:

  • jca_C130629-0133Creativity and Innovation
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Self-Direction
  • Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Productivity and Accountability
  • Leadership and Responsibility

It is an understatement to say that Jewish Camp is the perfect environment to communicate, practice and perfect these skills. Our campers and staff have these opportunities every day and the amazing thing is that we have been doing it for decades as part of our mission. At Beber Camp and Perlman Camp, we are also excited to say that we have also been intentionally and explicitly integrating the Partnership for 21st Century Skills ideas into our curriculum for a few summers. We have seen amazing results in our teen leadership training programs, in our overall staff training and in the programs that we run for our younger campers.

We want our campers and parents to know that these skills are important to learn now. We want our campers and parents to know why these skills are important for a successful future. Finally, we want to make sure everyone knows exactly how these skills are communicated, learned and mastered in the Jewish Camp setting.

Beber and Perlman are thrilled to be writing a series of blogs about 21st century skills for the Foundation for Jewish Camp in the coming weeks. We have reached out to our entire community to participate in this project and get ready to hear examples of these skills in action from campers, parents, alumni, professional staff and board members! In the meantime, I encourage you to do a few things – check out www.p21.org for more information, reach out to the FJC for updates on camp-style P21 learning and encourage any camp staff that know to re-think leaving summer camp for that internship!

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