News & Events

Coming to A Camp Near You!

Date: 6/7/2012

As the academic school year is coming to a close, children and teenagers from all over the United States are packing their bags and getting ready to embark on their summer adventures. Two years ago, Gift of Life announced and launched its “Finding the Hero in You at Camp” program with the collaboration of the Foundation for Jewish Camp. Gift of Life’s summer camp programs teaches camp staff, campers, and parents the importance of Jewish values such tikkun olam (repairing the world) and pikuach nefesh (saving a life) through educating and allowing individuals the chance to swab their cheeks, join the registry, and become potential donors for those who need life-saving transplants.

Gift of Life is pleased to announce that they will be partnering with a broad range of  Jewish Camps nationwide and in Canada to bring their educational programs to more than 30 Jewish summer camps. Since its launch in 2010, the ‘Finding the Hero in You at Camp’ program has played an influential role in Gift of Life’s registry, welcoming hundreds of new camp staff, parents, and visitors, as potential donors and has helped facilitate life-saving  transplants for children and adults battling blood-related cancers and genetic diseases.

The “Finding the Hero in You at Camp” program kicks off  June 7th at URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute (G.U.C.I.) in Zionsville, IN, where  members will take the first step in learning how they can potentially save the life of a  patient in need. URJ Camp Coleman in Cleveland, GA will also be offering an educational program on bone marrow donors and swabbing cheeks on June 7th. Throughout the next two months, Gift of Life will be traveling across the country to host staff drives, opening day and visiting day drives, at camps affiliated with various movements as well as independent camps.  Gift of Life Staff Ruth and Paige are organizing the camp programs. They are extremely excited and cannot wait to see the success that this summer will bring. “Last year alone, the ‘Finding the Hero in You at Camp’ program allowed us to swab 900 people. It is our hope that staff will be inspired to bring awareness of Gift of Life on their college campuses”.

Since its initial start, the ‘Finding the Hero in You at Camp’ program has produced great results, educating hundreds and allowing numerous matches to be found for our patients in need. Last summer, Gift of Life swabbed 39 people at URJ G.U.C.I. and two of these have been identified as matches. Max Klaben, Assistant Director at URJ G.U.C.I. has been instrumental in the success at G.U.C.I.and cannot wait to see the results of summer 2012. Additionally, Pinemere Camp in Strousberg, PA also has a match identified from their staff drive. Ezra Androphy, Assistant Director was elated when he heard the news.

Gift of Life is once again extremely excited and proud to be working with all of these Jewish Camps. The ‘Finding the Hero in You at Camp’ program has achieved great results and it is exciting to see the impact that this summer will have on our Gift of Life family.  Camp directors like Mark Covitz and Ezra Androphy  encourageother camps to get involved and cannot wait for June 7th. “The lesson that we have learned and that we carry into this summer’s program, is the only way to bring positive change to the world is to put yourself in a position to do so. Nothing surpasses my excitement for our staff to participate for a second year in the Gift of Life program and years to come”, said Rabbi Covitz.

If  you are in interested in learning more about the ‘Finding the Hero in You at Camp’ program or would like to get involved, please contact our Camp team at

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