According to reports in The Wall Street Journal, the Trump Administration is working to end the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor programs. An Executive Order may be released within the next 10 days disbanding several J-1 programs, putting an end to the hiring of international camp counselors and support staff at summer camps.
JCC Maccabi Sports Camp believes wholeheartedly in the importance of cultural exchange. Nearly 40% of our summer staff comes from different parts of the world including Israel, England, Scotland, South Africa and Wales. Our international staff each bring a unique perspective, energy, and commitment to our camp community.
Hiring International Staff allows our campers to have a direct relationship with a person from a country and culture different than their own. It helps our campers learn how to ask questions, how to listen, and how to value differences and similarities. Those experiences, that direct relationship, helps build strong character.
JCC Maccabi Sports Camp is asking our camp families to share a positive story or experience your child has had with one of our international staff members. We will pass these stories down to Washington D.C as we rally to keep the J-1 Visa Program alive. To share a story, click here.
Additionally, if you believe in the importance of cultural exchange as much as we do, please contact your local legislators and ask them to save the J-1 Visa Program. You can find a link to a sample email below. To find out who your local representatives are, click here.
We appreciate your support!
The JCC Maccabi Sports Camp Family
I am writing to ask you to help stop the possible White House changes to the U.S. State Department’s J-1 Visa programs, specifically the changes regarding Camp Counselors and Camp Summer Work Travel (SWT).
As a parent who sends their child to an American summer camp, the recommended changes would have a drastic impact on my child, their camp, and the participation of thousands of American youth and international young adults in camp programs around the globe.
The international staff who come to work at summer camps expose American campers to people from different cultural, religious, geographic and socio-economic backgrounds. In doing so, it provides a unique opportunity for campers to develop a greater understanding of diversity – both in the United States and worldwide.
The interactions children have with International Staff Members at camp allows them to build a deep, meaningful relationship with a person from a country and culture different than their own. It helps them learn how to ask questions, how to listen, and how to value differences and similarities. Those experiences, that direct relationship, helps build strong character in today’s youth that is greatly needed in our multicultural society.
There are also significant positive financial impacts international staff provide to each camp’s greater community and the entire country through travel and tourism. Additionally, hiring international staff does not result in fewer opportunities for American employees as each international staff member has unique skill sets that cannot be found in the American applicant pool.
I am asking you to protect the J-1 Camp Counselor program and the use of the Summer Work Travel program by America’s summer camps, as these programs are critical to the development of our children—the future of America.
Parent of a Camper