“Thank you, URJ Harlam Day Camp, for giving my child the chance to be part of a real Jewish community with great friends, awesome staff, and a commitment to the values that we believe in as a Jewish family. Without this last summer at HDC, I don’t think that our son would be the person that we can see him growing up to be.” – HDC Parent | Philadelphia, PA
When Harlam Day Camp (HDC) opened in 2014 as the first community-based, Union for Reform Judaism-affiliated, day camp in North America, Harlam’s leaders quickly started to hear these sorts of platitudes. Over the next four seasons, many got to see first-hand the realization of the URJ’s vision to provide a unique, immersive Reform Jewish experience in the tradition of Camp Harlam. During that time, HDC welcomed 375 campers and 100 staff members – along with 300 families – to hear campers laughing, watch them playing, and see them developing friendships and lifelong memories. HDC also sought to be another connection to Judaism for families, to extend the reach of Harlam and its partner URJ congregations throughout the region, and to even engage staff members who would now have an outlet for their desire to lead and impact others. In four years, HDC allowed these goals – and much more – to be realized, including during the just-completed 2017 season.
It’s because of this success in serving the community on the beautiful campus of Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy since 2014 that the announcement of HDC’s closing is so difficult to share. HDC was a bold experiment that was initiated and supported generously by the Union for Judaism and Camp Harlam, but despite the pride that so many have in what has been accomplished, the decision was made to sunset the program.