Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel introduces TSTI Camp@Home

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Camp may not include playgrounds or swimming pools this year, but that isn’t stopping Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in South Orange from offering a realistic camp experience with TSTI Camp@Home for children in preschool through second grade, which begins Monday, June 15.

After transitioning to online learning, community-building and worship in response to stay-at-home guidelines this spring, it’s only fitting that the temple take on summer camp. Young children throughout the community will have the opportunity to sing, dance and learn alongside their “bunkmates” with as close to a typical summer camp experience as possible.

TSTI held an online open house for interested families on May 28; to register for a future open house or for more information, email tsticamp@gmail.com. Parents met Bela Barbosa, director of TSTI Camp@Home, as well as education directors, Carol Paster and Mindy Schreff. Camp counselors guided families through a mini day-camp experience.

The 10-week program will be broken into flexible one-week modules, Monday through Friday, with regular programming and special activities. Camp will start with campers and counselors gathered around the proverbial flagpole, setting the tone for the day with music. Bunk activities — such as “Lego Masters,” American sign language, animal action, Wonder Wednesdays, dance party and “All About …” — will follow. The day will end with everyone coming together for mindful movement and breathing.

In a new technological twist that replicates the camp experience, campers will move through the day with their bunks and counselors, going automatically from activity to activity without needing to log on or off.

“We are very excited about the program we have put together in these unusual times,” Barbosa said. “TSTI Camp@Home offers campers a way to play and learn together with their friends, while simultaneously promoting self-expression and building independence.”