When the alumni from Camp Gesher get together, they remember:
The laughter and camaraderie, the vibrant camp spirit, singing and dancing on Shabbat Havdalah under the stars, energetic discussions about Israel, social justice programs talent shows and music sessions, great canoe trips, swimming in the gorgeous lake getting up on water skis
The Children Develop Core Jewish Values
Friendship through becoming part of a warm and inclusive community A love of Israel and a strong appreciation of Jewish heritage through extensive creative, educational programming
Communal responsibility by contributing daily to the camp (avoda), from the physical upkeep like collecting litter and cleaning public areas, to planning and taking part in imaginative group activities such as all day programmes and airbands.
Derech Eretz (a way of being) and compassion through programs that foster social awareness.
Children have a fun-filled summer while developing skills in:
- Swimming with lessons taught by accredited Red Cross instructors
- Environmental awareness through science and recycling programs
- Field sports such as soccer, baseball, and the ever-popular gagaball.
- Performing Arts such as music, drama and dance
- Canoeing and kayaking
- Water-skiing, wakeboarding & knee-boarding
- Arts and crafts
History and Background
Camp Gesher is located on a beautiful, wooded site on the shores of Lake Pringle easily accessed from Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. It was established in 1962 as part of the Habonim Dror movement. Each summer it becomes a second home for hundreds of campers and staff.
A dedicated group of parents, staff, and camp alumni serve as the camp board of directors. Recently, the camps governance structure was changed to involve a wider circle of Gesher supporters and to better manage Geshers financial future and to undertake long-range planning.
Gesher is my home. I just take a 10 month vacation away from it. Avital Oretsky, staff
Friendship and Community
Not only have our alumni made lifelong friends, but many have even met their future spouses, at Camp Gesher. They forge strong bonds with their Kvutzah (group) during summers as campers, and counsellors and through the formative six- week trip to Israel at the age of 16.
After his first summer at camp, I immediately saw my sons sense of belonging and pride in his Jewish heritage. Parents of first year campers.
Compassion and Leadership
The focus on becoming leaders begins early at Camp Gesher. Experienced campers are buddied up or connected with newcomers to help them adjust to camp. Later, campers take part in programs that challenge them to think about fairness and justice, and to put their ideas into action.
We continue to invest in our campers development as they move on to become counsellors-in-training and staff. Many people comment on the commitment and strength of our impressive young leaders. We have been especially proud to see them take their places as volunteers in the wider Jewish community or as employees in Jewish organizations.
Jewish Identity and Community
Camp Gesher delivers quality year-round education through programs that link the campers to Israel and cement the bonds of friendship. Many campers choose to participate in a year-long program in Israel after high school. The camp provides year-round outreach to small communities
Camp Gesher has given my 9-year-old daughter a Jewish experience that she could not have had in our small Jewish community of about 200 families.