My name is Alana Schipper and I am the current Chair of the Board of Advisors for Camp Dream Street. My first year at Jacobs Camp was the summer before freshman year of high school. From there, I got involved in NFTY Southern, and ultimately became a staff member at HSJ. Through Jacobs Camp and NFTY-Southern, I was able to first attend Dream Street as a counselor. From counselor to program staff to director and now as board chair, I have spent over 10 years at camp and haven’t skipped a summer since I started!
2020 has been a challenging year. I think we are all feeling the loss of connection during these unprecedented times; we miss seeing each other in person. The pandemic forced us to consider new and exciting opportunities for Camp Dream Street this year. With the inability to participate in in-person camp, Dream Street staff sought a way to provide the Dream Street family with a different camping experience. Using the amazing HSJ 365 for inspiration, our program staff pivoted programming to create “Dream Street on Your Street”.
Dream Street on Your Street was a virtual camping experience hosted during our regular camp week this past May. To start, campers had the option of receiving a camp-in-a-box, a package that held all items needed for participation in our 5 daily camp activities. These boxes included nametags, cooking supplies, arts and crafts, and instructions for each activity. The boxes also included letters written from counselors! For summer 2020, we had 37 boxes sent to campers’ homes. The campers and their families used these materials so they could participate in all of the camp programs.
Summer 2020 was made up of innovative and fun programming including a virtual zoo tour, swimming (without a pool!), arts and crafts, cooking, and even a fireworks show. Led through Zoom sessions and Facebook Lives, our campers, staff, and parents were able to connect together and continue the magic that is Dream Street! If you’d like to see more, check out our slide show and friendship circle!
Although we hope to be in person next year and seeing our friends face to face, Dream Street on Your Street has become a model for what our ongoing connections with our Dream Street family can be year round!