From devoted and caring staff to a variety of fun activities, Camp Laurelwood in Madison is a CT's premier Jewish overnight and day camp for a variety of reasons, said Louis Lasko, Camp Laurelwood's Director.
"We keep a strictly kosher kitchen, sing Hebrew songs, have Shabbat every Friday, and instill the values of kindness, community mindedness, and confidence in everything we do," he said of the camp's Jewish activities.
In preparation for Summer 2022, the Camp Laurelwood team began a journey of further developing our camper, staff, and community care work. "The challenges of living in a post-pandemic world were apparent at camp in 2021, and we wanted to make sure we equipped ourselves and our seasonal staff with the right tools and training to take care of our campers and each other," said Elizabeth Kaplan, Laurelwood's Community Care Director. We started talking about mental health, wellness, accommodations, and camper success plans, to name a few.
In December 2021, we received funding from the Foundation for Jewish Camp's Yedid Nefesh program, enabling us to put a stronger focus on MESSH (Mental, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Health) work. We hired a trained mental health professional who is a social worker at a local school during the year and joins our staff at camp during the summer.
In Summer 2022, her presence and expertise supported numerous day and overnight campers as well as staff in a significant way. Beyond bringing a new member of the team to camp last summer, we trained our staff in Youth Mental Health First Aid, a program that gives adults the tools to identify, understand, and respond to issues around mental health. We introduced new programming on Saturdays that focused on wellness and self-care - campers and staff did activities like yoga, reading or writing, and playing with dogs on campus. The goal was to show that there are many ways to practice wellness, and that Shabbat is a perfect time to do so. We look forward to continuing to create a joyful, fun, and caring place for campers, staff, alumni, and community members alike. See you in Summer 2023! For more information and to register, visit camplaurelwood.org/prospective-families