They chose a two-week program for senior adults at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Conn.Aside from typical camp activities such as swimming and arts and crafts, there were myriad specialty programming for senior adults: lectures on health and nutrition, genealogy, flowers of the Torah, and biblical prophets, as well as trips to area cultural activities, including the theater and the philharmonic.
Some 80 participants ranging in age from their 50s to 90s attended the camp.
Pierce, who is in her 60s and volunteers regularly at Isabella Freedman’s senior camps, said she was drawn to the program five years ago by the “natural beauty infused with the spirituality that I felt while I was there — and the fact the programming was exceptional.” The Isabella Freedman program is among a number of senior camp programs across the United States, including a handful that are geared to Jews.
In September, one such camp, the Block and Hexter Vacation Center in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, closed in September due to lack of demand.
With more resorts available in exotic locales and seniors more active than they were a few decades ago, mountain camps have lost some of their cachet.
“With tweaks and changes, these programs should be able to thrive,” said Adam Weinstein, director of the Berkshire Hills Emanuel Camps-Adult Vacation Center in Copake, N. “We’re looking at programs that will also bring in a younger crowd of seniors,” said Irene Drantch, director of the Circle Lodge Retreat in Hopewell Junction, N.
Y., an 85-plus-year-old facility that is affiliated with Workmen’s Circle and draws anywhere from 25 people a week to a capacity participation of 135 for its Yiddish Week.
“There’s swimming, there’s lectures, there’s evening entertainment, there’s buttermilk in the afternoon,” Weinstein said, noting that some 600 campers came this past summer — about half for the full summer and the rest for one or two weeks. The other session will be aimed at younger seniors, allowing them to take advantage of both the facilities and nearby attractions, including the U. Military Academy at West Point, the Norman Rockwell Museum and Hyde Park, the home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
“By splitting our summer between our traditional senior program and a program that is more like a Jewish version of Road Scholar, we are trying to make that transition” to younger seniors, Weinstein said, “while still serving the guests who have been our base.” Pairing sightseeing with educational lectures is the raison d’etre for Road Scholar, formerly known as Elderhostel, which offers about a dozen Jewish programs that explore Jewish culture, history and religion.
“I like being back at camp as an adult,” Oppenheim said.
“I always liked it as a kid, and now I look forward to it as an adult.” For Inge Hershkowitz of the Bronx, N.
(Courtesy Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center) WASHINGTON (JTA) — Not many people attend summer camp with their parents.