Camp Kimama’s vibrantly enthralling website is particularly active this time of year, as young users from Israel and around the world swap memories, upload images and videos from the previous summer and together plan next summer’s adventure – together, at Camp Kimama’s international summer camps.
Boys and girls in their teens from Israel, the U.S., Europe, South America, Asia and Australia are waiting with bated breath for summer to arrive. They dream of returning to sail off the shores of Michmoret Beach, training dogs at the foot of the Carmel Mountains, cooking with leading Israeli chefs and singing to the strum of acoustic guitars around a bonfire, the full summer moon glowing overhead.
It all started 15 years ago, when Camp Kimama Founder Ronen Hoffman (former Yesh Atid MK) contacted CEO Avishay Nachon and Deddy Paz about partnering together to re-create the North American summer camp experience in Israel. They and a group of Israeli educators, counselors and shlichim (Israelis who served as emissaries abroad) came together and established Camp Kimama. A year later, the team was joined by Evan Muney, the camp’s “American partner,” who ended up falling so deeply in love with Israel, he soon after made Aliyah. Instead of establishing another traditional Israeli camp in a JNF forest, these die-hard summer camp devotees strove to build a powerful and exciting summertime adventure for youths from around the world in Israel.
In the years since Kimama’s launch, the camp has undergone much change and development to become one of Israel’s elite and enriching summer camps. “During the early years, we developed the product we now call Kimama,” Nachon says. “The message we aim to give across and what sort of atmosphere we create at camp. We looked to experienced camps in America and continuously learned, improved and upgraded the Kimama experience to one that changes youths lives for the better.”
Nachon ultimately chose to relocate to New York, to be closer to the camp’s client base and better develop Camp Kimama as a business in America. “America is where our audience is,” he explains. “The best way to communicate with this audience is to be here and live in the community, listen to their needs and provide a better service. And, as part of Kimama’s growth trajectory, we are currently working on developing camps for Jewish and Israeli youths in the New York area. It’s what’s best for the Kimama family.”
Bonds that last a lifetime
Today, Camp Kimama has become synonymous with a powerful and unforgettable summertime experience for thousands of youths. Kimama’s international camps create a world-wide web of interconnected youths, who bond in summer and forge deep friendships, as well as a sense of family and community. A new international Jewish youth group of sorts, active year-round and anchored in the heart of Israel. The bonds that form at Kimama in summer – last a lifetime.
Spectacular seaside summer sessions
The sea, and the many activities it offers and enables, serves as a central and significant element in the Camp Kimama summer experience. Establishing Camp Kimama near the Mediterranean Sea strategically enables campers from around the world to enjoy one of Israel’s most treasured natural and tourist-oriented resources. As such, Camp Kimama offers a wide variety of water sports and activities – sailing, motorboating, SUP, surfing, scuba diving, sea turtle caring and more.
American-style camps, Israeli surroundings
Camp Kimama’s campuses were built in the most breathtaking locations along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea:
“There’s Kimama-Galim along the Carmel Beach, where campers can take part in special dog training and culinary arts programs (in conjunction with the Israeli Food Channel), surfing and science activities (in conjunction with Mada-Tech Haifa). There’s Kimama Hof, a camp located on a cliff in Bet Yanai that overlooks Israel’s most beautiful sea. There, shorter, one-week programs focus on surfing, sports, performing arts and other Kimama activities – at a more affordable price,” Nachon explains.
“Kimama Tech is the ideal summer camp for kids and youths with a passion for STEM, entrepreneurship and media. Campers learn to love the world of start-ups and take part in technology and media workshops, before developing start-ups of their own.
“And, of course, our flagship program is Kimama Michmoret, located near Tel-Aviv, by the beach. Campers can surf, dive, SUP and more. This program is so popular, next summer’s registration was complete in January,” Nachon adds.
Each of the camp sites are outfitted in line with American summer camp standards. Extreme emphasis is placed on safety and security. The camps’ grounds are closed and guarded, and each have an in-house medical clinic and medic, 24 hours a day. 3-5 campers share each air-conditioned room and Kimama’s experienced staff, some former emissaries and with the camp since its launch, make every effort to ensure your children are in the best possible care. Kimama’s counselors serve as campers’ big brothers and sisters, acting as role models and providing that sense of family and community that is Kimama.
Unplugging for the summer
Kimama returns beauty and simplicity to childhood, enabling them to listen to one another, interact and communicate, without the presence and interference of external technological gadgets. At Camp Kimama, your child can stroll barefoot in the sand, feel the fluttering of a butterfly against his or her hand, truly taste baked potatoes straight out of the bonfire – free from computers and smartphones. Kimama has no need for virtual realities – the camp creates its own reality; one that is present, allowing and respectful of others. Kimama is the true reality – all-encompassing, challenging, full of happiness and liveliness.
“For two weeks, without parents and without telephones, campers get to make new friends, improve their English and Hebrew, learn new things about themselves – and most importantly, to disconnect from screens and phone. Instead, they communicate with one another through joint activities, conversations and eye contact,” Nachon says.
Teaching values and skills to shape a generation
What truly sets Kimama apart from other summer camps is its integration of fun activities with the teaching of important values and skills. These include creating an environment for the befriending of Jewish youth from around the world and instilling a sense of belonging, allowing each camper to feel free to express his or her self and personality, without fear of criticism or judgement, empowering campers to feel and exert their independence, self-confidence and communication skills and more. Campers choose “specialties,” such as diving, surfing, dog training and culinary arts, led by professional instructors and field leaders. Through these specialties, campers acquire skills – and a certificate of achievement, which will accompany them once they return home and settle into their regular schedules.
“Camp is where all of a person’s talents can be truly expressed,” Nachon explains. “Disconnected from all other aspects of life, campers are given the feeling that there is no limit to their aspirations and efforts. Camp is where you can learn about yourself and truly be a child.”
Camp Kimama sessions take place throughout the months of July and August. Each session is one or two weeks long.
Tuition begins at $1,250 a week.
For more information on Kimama’s summer camps in Israel, visit www.campkimama.org