Maccabi Sports Experience Camp – A first of its kind!

NBB (2) volleyball-beach-18866736 NBB VideoMaccabi Canada and Camp Northland have partnered to create a unique program for children wanting to stay involved with sports over the summer.

A first of its kind, the Maccabi Sports Experience at Camp Northland offers a traditional overnight camp with outdoor activities, blended with elite multi-sports instruction over a period of three weeks. The program will debut this summer from July 27-August 16, during the camp’s second session.

Simon Wolle, director of Camp Northland, felt it was an important void to fill in the Jewish community.

“A lot of kids found that at camp, they don’t get to the opportunity to really focus in on the sports that they love to play as much as they’d like. But they don’t want to give up camp (either), despite that strong interest,” said Wolle. “So they end up coming to camp but kind of missing sport…Why not try to find a way to marry the two?”

The new offering features two weeks of rotating skill development clinics in four different sports – basketball, beach volleyball, soccer, and tennis – followed by a specialty week, where participants can choose one sport to focus on. Parts of each day will be dedicated to the Maccabi sports program, while also giving the group the opportunity to integrate with other campers. The program will be run by a combination of Maccabi coaches and Camp Northland staff.

Tommy Bacher, president of Maccabi Canada, called the new endeavour a natural progression of the organization’s ongoing community sports initiatives. Bacher believes launching a summer camp experience under the Maccabi banner is the perfect way to build on the weekly sports programming offered in basketball and volleyball over the past year.  The eight-week programs feature grassroots learning in 90-minute sessions, where the focus is on honing skills and having fun.

The camp is the next step in those growing efforts.

“It allows us to touch a lot more kids. For every kid that goes to camp, 500 (more) hear about it,” said Bacher.  “For us, it’s an opportunity to bring more kids into a quality program that revolves around sport and them being Jewish.  The more things we can do with that, the better.  My whole goal is connecting the next generation to their past, to their heritage, and to the state of Israel.  And we’re using sport as a way of doing that.”

Bacher acknowledged the camp will also provide a parallel overnight setting to the Maccabiah Games in Israel, allowing participants to form bonds with each other through a shared three-week experience.

Wolle is excited to provide that outlet.

“We want to create a home for every Jewish kid to find their place and make connections and stay connected to the Jewish community,” said Wolle, echoing Bacher’s sentiments. “There are kids using the medium of sport to feel more connected to the Jewish community. And we wanted to create that pipeline…between sport and camp and say you don’t have to give it up.

“You can have your cake and eat it too.”