"The MJCCA has fostered a sense of community and belonging that I didn’t have prior to my involvement." - Greg
The great outdoors has become something much greater to one group of families, thanks to a camping trip-turned-tradition. When a group of dads decided to introduce their children to camping in 2011, they had no idea how enjoyable the excursion would be, or that it would double in size and become an annual weekend adventure with a special group of friends.
It all began at The Weinstein School at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. Some of the dads in the initial group had met before, but most were introduced through their kids. Greg Green says, “I didn’t know any of these people before my son started at The Weinstein School in 2006.” Now, more than 15 boys and girls, along with their respective fathers, get up close and personal with nature and each other at their yearly campout reunion.
Craig Kaplan explains, “The Weinstein School brought a community together that shared interests; playdates developed into friendships, which then evolved into personal and family connections. The parents I met through The Weinstein School still have an annual family Hanukah party, tailgate at college football games, attend concerts, and of course go camping together six years after our kids graduated. As our children have grown, the friendships have endured.”
“It’s great for the kids to get together; many of them attend different schools now,” Greg shares. “And many of the dads don’t see each other often.” Fellow camper Jeffrey Lapp agrees, “This trip lets us pick up where we left off. When we’re together, it’s like we just went camping last week.”
Jeffrey further reflects on how the MJCCA has helped his own family thrive, “After preschool, both of our kids continued to grow up at the JCC playing sports, attending day camps, and then going to Camp Barney Medintz. I enjoy walking in and seeing all the familiar faces; it’s like an extension of our home.”
Greg agrees, “Much of my family’s current social fabric is a result of the relationships formed, particularly at the preschool. It’s an environment that fosters a sense of community and belonging that I didn’t have prior to my involvement with the MJCCA.”