PJ Library introduces families to the joy of Jewish overnight camp


An appreciation for family reading and Jewish children’s literature has led several communities to combine the benefits of Jewish family camp together with the PJ Library program. The resulting initiative, PJ Library Family Camp, offers families with young children a unique all-inclusive weekend adventure.

For the fourth year in a row, the Phoenix PJ Library will be hosting their Family Camp on the weekend of April 17-19 at Camp Daisy and Harry Stein in Prescott.

“It’s just a great weekend,” says Marcy Lewis program director of PJ Library Greater Phoenix.

“First, to introduce your kids to Jewish overnight camp, and second, to just unplug for a weekend and be with your family doing fun camp stuff.”

Family Camp offers a full camp experience including Friday night Shabbat under the stars (weather permitting), Saturday morning Shabbat activities, and then either a family hike or games. In the afternoon, families can rotate between the zip line, rock climbing wall, ropes course, arts and crafts, sports and frolf – a combination of Frisbee and golf.

There are night activities too, including Havdalah and campfires. Adults can also enjoy time to schmooze on Friday night while babysitters watch the kids. One of Marcy’s favorite things is to watch families that have never met before creating bonds and becoming friends by the end of the weekend.

“A lot of parents had a passion for overnight camp as a child and now get to see it through their kid’s eyes firsthand,” says Marcy. “When do you ever get to be with your kids for three days going on zip lines, ropes course and doing arts and crafts – with no distractions – you’re in the forest, it’s amazing.”

Family Camp is open to all, you don’t have to be a member of the JCC, and you don’t have to live in the Valley. Families travel from Tucson in the south to Cottonwood in the north to participate.

“We have kids as young as one,” says Marcy, “Our perfect age is older, but it’s open to everybody that wants to come, any family that wants to come. It’s age-appropriate for everybody.”

Marcy runs the camp with Laura Drachler, and what makes the annual camp extra special for the two women is that they attended Camp Daisy and Harry Stein as children.

“For Laura and I to get to run a camp together, especially the camp that we went to as children, and get to see families love it like we did, it’s just special,” says Marcy. “It’s a great couple days of wholesome family fun, no electronics, completely unplugged and immersed in Judaism for the weekend.”

PJ Library is funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and programmed through the Martin Pear Jewish Community Center.

PJ Library in Phoenix 4th Annual Family Camp
WHEN: April 17-19
WHERE: Camp Daisy and Harry Stein, 3400 W. Camp Pearlstein Road, Prescott
INFORMATION: Contact Marcy Lewis at pjlibrary@vosjcc.org
Join PJ Library for a fun-filled, action-packed weekend to include Shabbat and Havdalah, arts and crafts, nature walks, kosher-style meals, rock wall, ropes course and more.

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