Since 2006, Foundation for Jewish Camp has partnered with communities across North America on the One Happy Camper (OHC) program to grow enrolment and increase awareness. Tens of thousands of campers have experienced Jewish overnight camp as a result of OHC, which offers grants of up to $1,000 to first-time overnight Jewish campers who will attend a nonprofit Jewish overnight camp. The latest study evaluating the program’s impact looks at 2013 data.
The 2013 OHC program was implemented by 65 partner organizations (local Jewish federations, foundations and camps) throughout North America. That summer, 7,300 children received first-time OHC grants.
The analysis of the year’s program was based on survey research among 3,457 recipient families, or 62% of invited OHC recipients. The research was once again supplemented, where appropriate, with data from the 2013 Camper Satisfaction Insights study (CSI), which included a total of 8,180 families from 64 North American Jewish camps and 2012 JData camp research. The CSI study was also conducted by outside evaluators at Summation Research Group, Inc.
The findings indicate that OHC has been highly successful in (1) bringing thousands of children to overnight Jewish camp, (2) creating engagement and connections between camp families and sponsoring organizations and (3) generating a “trial” first-time Jewish overnight camp experience, creating “happy campers” who are highly satisfied, which is leading to high levels of retention.
Based on the 2010 study by the Foundation for Jewish Camp, Camp Works: The Long Term Impact of Jewish Overnight Camp, there is compelling evidence that overnight Jewish camp is a proven means of building Jewish identity, community and leadership. For example, adults who attended overnight Jewish camp are 30% more likely to donate to a Jewish federation, 37% more likely to light candles regularly for Shabbat, 45% more likely to attend synagogue at least once per month and 55% more likely to feel very emotionally attached to Israel. Moreover, CSI research among current campers’ families since 2006 has shown high levels of satisfaction with, and endorsement of, the Jewish camp experience.
In 2013, 7,300 children attended camp for the first time using an OHC incentive. However, some families would have sent their child to camp with or without the incentive. To account for this, recipients were segmented into three groups based on their reported likelihood of sending their child to camp had OHC been unavailable. Based on this segmentation, it is believed that 50% (or 3,650) of recipients may not otherwise have attended overnight Jewish camp. And, for many, OHC incentives helped influence their decision to provide their child with a Jewish summer experience: the research showed that, from an array of summertime alternatives, 60% of all OHC recipients were considering only secular, non-Jewish activities or programs, including 30% who would have simply stayed home. Twenty-six percent of all OHC recipients were the first in their family (parent and/or sibling) to ever attend an overnight Jewish summer camp.
For many campers, year-round connections are being made where none may have previously existed. And, for many families, OHC incentives provide sponsoring organizations with an opportunity to engage them programmatically, philanthropically and emotionally. Whereas 60% of OHC recipients are not currently members and/or donors of their sponsoring organizations, 64% of OHC recipients believed the incentive “very positively” affected their family’s connection to the sponsoring organization, 62% believed the incentive “very positively” affected their family’s connection to the overall Jewish community and 73% of OHC recipients were more likely to support the sponsoring organization.
Finally, CSI results show no meaningful differences between OHC and non-OHC families with respect to overall satisfaction and camp advocacy. While there are a few individual camp exceptions, the findings in all regions are, and have been, consistently outstanding, with 95% of campers satisfied with their experience. As well, the vast majority of parents of OHC and non-OHC campers believe that camp, overall, creates ambiance and atmosphere where their child is proud to be Jewish, and increases awareness of their child’s Jewish identity and/or their activity/participation in synagogue or in their local Jewish community.
For additional findings, visit jewishcamp.org/research.