Assist the local Jewish community in Sofia by facilitating multiple summer camp programs for kids, families and the elderly community.
Situated at the crossroads of East and West, Bulgaria entered the European Union in 2007. But despite the country's recent growth, it's elderly and other vulnerable populations have struggled, as pension and salary levels failed to keep up with rising living costs. Economic turmoil has also affected middle-class professionals, who have been struggling to find or keep jobs and care for their families.
Largely spared during the Holocaust, Bulgaria's Jewish community emerged strongly after the fall of communism and has made significant strides toward self-sustaining, vibrant Jewish life. Nevertheless, the country's latest financial upheaval has caused significant hardships for community members of all ages, including many of the younger and most active supporters, some of whom are themselves now in need of community aid.
The Children's Summer Camp welcomes 220 children from around Bulgaria between the ages of 6 to 17 years old. This 12 day camp is run by a team of 60 volunteers, many of whom were participants as children. These volunteers want to help make the same camp experience for generations to come. At the camp, children truly experience their Jewish identity and come together as a community. Fellows will help lead sessions on Jewish topics and assist with leadership training activities for the Hadracha College. Fellows will also facilitate music and dance activities for children.
The Gan Balagan program is for kindergarten aged children from the community. Founded in 2010 with just 3 children, 1 teacher and 1 nurse, today, there are 70 children, divided in 4 age groups. Gan Balagan mixes the educational curriculum required by the state, Jewish education and the Montesori teaching method. This program offers a variety of activities in order to engage children in Jewish education from an early age. Fellows will act as a general aids in the kindergarten classes while teaching simple English and Hebrew songs.
The Golden Age Camp takes place every summer welcoming 200 people in their retirement age. During this program, the elderly populations from around the country come together and each community gets a chance to showcase activities. No matter the age, all people need the opportunity to come together, socialize, create activities and have fun! At the Golden Age Camp, days are filled with arts and crafts, singing, dancing and special workshops. In the past, there have even been hip-hop dancing workshops, ballet and movie making! Fellows will work with the elderly in this fun summer camp environment!
The Yachad program brings together 13 different regional communities to engage Jewish families. Each local community is responsible for organizing one event per year in order to bring together Jewish families for these engaging summer programs. This June, the Yachad program will be organized by the JCC in Sofia and the topic of the program will be connected to the holiday of Shavuot. During this program, our Fellows will join a team of counselors, traveling through 7 different towns, attending lunches/dinners organized by each local community. Fellows will assist in bringing content to these visits, working with young parents and families on Jewish and musical sessions.
General Program Breakdown
Week 1: Orientation Week
Week 2: First Session of Children's Camp
Week 3: Gan Balagan Program Part 1
Week 4: Golden Age Summer Camp Program
Week 5: Gan Balagan Program Part 2
Week 6-7: Second Session of Children's Camp
Week 8-9: Gan Balagan Program Part 3
• Experience working with various populations including elderly & children (ages 2-16)
• Strong background in Jewish informal or formal education
• Experience at Jewish camp or programing would be a plus
• Basic Hebrew knowledge would be a plus
• Knowledge of Israeli folk dance and musical talents would be a plus
Participation Fee: $2,250 (Global Leadership Grants available)*
• Comprehensive health and emergency medical evacuation insurance
• Airport pick up
• Meals while in camp
• Volunteer placement
• Program activities
This does not include:
• Roundtrip airfare to and from Bulgaria
• Meals while in camp
• Any personal expenses
The applications for the Multi-Week Jewish Service Corps - Summer 2016 session is now open!
Fill out this form if you're interested in applying and we will send you an email with the application link!
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