JCC Camp Shai Gives Back to the Community

Back for another summer of fun, Camp Shai is gearing up for 2024 registration, as well as its third year of offering Camp Roots, a collaborative effort made in partnership with Graland Country Day School and the Office of Migrant Education at the Colorado Department of Education. The program provides children of migrant families in and around Denver with supplemental education to combat summer learning loss while also supplying a memorable, camp-like experience. 

Camp Shai has been hosting camp sessions on Graland School’s seven acres of open space and premiere indoor facilities for the past eight years. As the partnership between Camp Shai and Graland grew over the years, Courtney Jacobson, General Manager of Camps & School, and Carrie Vonderhaas, one of Graland’s educators, set into motion a joint effort to bring a camp experience and fun summer learning to marginalized populations in the greater Denver community.  

“I think the partnership is special, and I’m really excited to see where it goes,” Courtney shares. 

The Migrant Education Center, which works to fill educational gaps by offering supplemental programming, identifies and recruits qualifying children who would not be able to experience camp otherwise, and brings them to Camp Shai for an enriching and fun camp and learning experience, named Camp Roots. 

Camp Roots campers begin and end their days with the greater Camp Shai community for Morning Circle before they transition to the academic portion of their day to receive two hours of tutoring and classroom learning offered by Graland teachers.  

Camp Shai and Graland partner to fully cover transportation, food, tuition, and other affiliated costs to Camp Roots participants, as their parents likely would not be able to afford the cost of camp. Offering Camp Roots gives these campers a meaningful, productive, and valuable experience, to make the most of their summer in both a learning and character-driven environment.  

“I know we have a lot of happy kids that go home at the end of the day, some that may not have been able to come to camp or know about the JCC otherwise. I hope in the years to come, we can continue to leave our mark on these kids in a really positive way that includes a great camp experience.” 

While Camp Shai campers typically rotate every one to two weeks, Camp Roots campers will stay for six weeks of summer in the 2024 camp season.  During their time with us this coming summer, as in summers past, Camp Shai will continue  

to bring the highest quality in camp and academic programming we have to offer. In addition to Camp Roots this summer, Shai will also offer Traditional Camp, Shai Sports (which includes a comprehensive sports experience and more sport-specific intensives), Shai Makers (several mediums of hands-on activities like science experiments, robotics, mud art, glow in the dark, and 3-D printing), and Shai Shuffle (where campers alternate between various activities with the option to take half-day trips through the ‘Explorers’ subdivision of Shuffle). Keep an eye out for fun programming and registration opening in a few short weeks! 

Registration opens January 8, 2024.