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Maccabi Play-by-Play: Summer 2021

Summer is just around the corner and there’s a lot of information about camp that we want to share. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sending a series of emails on the most important topics to help prepare your child (and you!) for a terrific experience at JCC Maccabi Sports Camp.

Missed an email? Don’t sweat it! Click the topics below to catch up.

Update about Camp at Menlo College

I want to provide an update on some improvements at Menlo College that will have an impact on our program, but will not stop us from having an amazing summer. Actually, nothing is going to stop us from having an awesome summer! 

In our time with Menlo College as our home, we’ve been fortunate to see quite a few physical improvements to the campus, some that have impacted our program and others that didn’t. In the nearly two years since we last held camp, new pavers have been installed throughout campus, the main entrance has been reconfigured (for beauty and safety), there are aesthetic additions to beautify the school, and a new state-of-the-art dorm is being constructed. 

There are a few ways these recent changes affect camp. First, the terraced fire pit was removed and replaced with a ground-level space, paved with stone and surrounded by a short wall. While different from before, we still expect to use this space for festive cabin gatherings, camp programs, and Shabbat campfires (we are able to create our own fire pit in that space). At the same time, there were many camp memories made in that fire pit and it’ll surely be missed. 

The new dorm, which may one day be a home for our campers, is being built where our pool used to be. Although many of our campers preferred not to use the pool, it was certainly a cool hang out spot and gave us the opportunity for some fun programming. We are already working on creative new ideas and ways to replicate the energy and fun that happened in this area. 

And lastly, there is the simple fact that the dorm is currently under construction. The construction area is completely fenced off and we have no concerns about safety. I have been to camp several times to ensure that all aspects of construction are taking place inside an area that is not accessible to campers. 

We know that hearing this news might be surprising for some campers, especially those returning to camp. Camp is about many things, including having fun and creating memories with friends, and often those memories are tied to spaces.

Almost any camp director will tell you, it’s not the physical space but the people you’re with that makes camp special. Changes over the years do not take away any memories, in fact, it may make them brighter and more meaningful. It’s important to cherish the memories created at camp, and to look forward to creating new memories in new spaces. I choose to see the new spaces on campus as an opportunity and I hope our campers will too. 

I expect that even by hearing this news now, your camper might have some feelings the first time they see the impacted spaces. That is normal and totally ok. We want to validate their feelings and then look to think positively. Overcoming adversity, dealing with a difficult situation, and finding new ways to make fun – these are the life lessons we are lucky to learn from camp. 

Our program team has been to camp several times specifically to look at and think about the campus in new and creative ways. We’ve got some great stuff planned and I know that despite, or maybe in light of, these challenges, camp will be more fun and amazing than ever before. It’s going to be a fantastic summer. 

Thanks for being a part of our camp family and for joining us this summer. We can’t wait for camp to begin!


Josh Steinharter.

About author Josh Steinharter

Senior Director

Starting in 2005, Josh was the Athletic Program Manager for Youth & Coach Development at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, serving over 1,500 children annually through teams, classes, camps, and select-level sports. He also served as Delegation Head for Team San Francisco at the JCC Maccabi Games®. As co-creator of the JCCSF Fellowship in Sports Leadership, Josh helped develop and lead the teen program that taught leadership through the lens of coaching youth sports. In 2013, Josh founded Maccabi Sports Camp, the first Jewish overnight sports camp on the West Coast.

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