Mike Fuld will never forget the first time he saw his wife, Samantha. He was working at Kutz Camp as a staff member; so was Samantha.

Mike and Samantha first met in 2006. They happened to both be assigned to work on an all-camp evening program. The rest, as Mike puts it, was history! They were married eight years later in 2014.

Overnight camp. For Mike, it was not only where he met his future wife, but the place where he spent more than 20 summers as a camper and a staff member. It was where he formed lifelong friendships, enjoyed summers filled with swimming, climbing the tower and rocking out during song sessions. It’s where he celebrated his Jewish identity through immersive, yet creative, programs that emphasized Jewish values and traditions.

“What also really stands out about camp is that you gain independence and the experience of living as a community,” says Mike whose parents also attended Jewish camp.

“It is these ah-ha moments that I saw with my campers. Whether it was their first time taking a risk and being successful, or the first time they read from the Torah, watching a child experience those moments for the first time as a member of a community is really impactful to me.”

He adds, “Camp is the most important experience you can provide for your kids.”

In fact, studies show that Jewish camp also has a lasting impact on Jewish identity. Jewish children with impactful Jewish camp experiences are more likely to become adults who value their Jewish heritage and take on leadership roles in their communities. That’s why The Associated provides free consultative services for families looking to get their children involved in Jewish camp through its Center for Jewish Camping.

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The Associated Contributors

The Associated Contributors are writers from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.