More than 50 years after offering its first summer camps for children, the Augusta Jewish Community Center's mission remains the same: to have the best camp in town.
"Our goal is to offer new things and things kids are interested in," Program Director Alberta Goldberg said. "Last summer, we added a fashion camp and we had a pile of little girls here making flip flops, painting their nails and doing makeup."
New to the center's camp listing this year is fencing, which Goldberg hopes will be a big success.
The AJCC camp is located on 26 acres at Marks Park on Weinberger Way in Evans, off Furys Ferry Road. It relocated to its present site about 10 years ago, moving from a smaller location on Sibley Road.
The second-oldest Jewish community center in the country, AJCC started out as part of the Young Men's Hebrew Association. Today, there are more than 250 Jewish community centers in the United States and Canada. The AJCC is one of three in Georgia; the other two are in Atlanta and Savannah.
Open to children of all religions and races, the Augusta Jewish Community Center loves the different youngsters its camps draw each year.
"We really like having that mix of kids," Goldberg said. "It's where we really think the United States should be."
Specialty camps, like the fashion week camp , draw between 10 and 12 children, with a higher-than-normal staff-to-child ratio.
"We like to keep our camp classes smaller and offer individualized attention," Goldberg said. "We try to make it so everybody feels included and comfortable."
Goldberg said the camps tackle the typical summer boredom young children often experience.
"They are definitely not bored," she said, laughing.
"Usually, they go home and crash, because they are so tired."
During theme weeks, a show or program is incorporated into the camp. For instance, a master storyteller will come during storytelling week, and during red light-green light week, a local rescue service will visit the camp.
The Israeli Scout week includes a visit by Israeli Scouts, who will give a presentation to the campers.
"They are part of the international scout movement," Goldberg said. "They come from Israel and it's almost like Disney World. They are really wonderful!"
All camps incorporate swimming, and instructors are brought in to teach archery, gymnastics, golf, tennis and other skills during some of the camps.
"We just work really hard on having the best camp in town," Goldberg said.
While the AJCC offers a multitude of summer day camps, the center offers classes year-round and additional programs throughout the year.
All programs and classes are open to the public.
"You don't have to be Jewish to come," Goldberg said.
To learn more about the AJCC, visit the center's Web site at augustajcc.org.
Summer camp information can be obtained by e-mailing the center at email@example.com or calling (706) 228-3636.
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