Jewish Council for Youth Services
ANNUAL REPORT 2015
From Generation To Generation
Education Recreation Leadership Development Civic Service Jewish Values Philanthropy
Guided by Jewish values and culture, Jewish Council for Youth Services provides educational and recreational programs for Chicagoland’s children and, through board service, develops the next generation of Jewish civic leaders.
Table of Contents
JCYS History............................................................. 2-3 Early Childhood Education................................. 4-5 Summer Camp........................................................ 6-7 Specialty Programs................................................ 8-9 Leadership Development............................... 10-11 Message from Leadership.............................. 12-13 Board of Directors............................................. 14-15 Program & Financial Statistics....................... 16-17 Directors for Life.......................................................18 Donors................................................................... 18-29 Award Recipients............................................... 30-31
For over a century
JCYS has responded to the varying needs and shifting demographics in the Chicago area. Our programs and services have evolved to meet the demands of the community but our commitment and dedication to service – and those we serve – remains constant.
JCYS – first known as “Young Men’s Associated Jewish Charities” and later as “Young Men’s Jewish Council” – was founded. The agency’s initial purpose was to engage a group of young male leaders in securing financial support for various Jewish charities and philanthropies.
JCYS’s summer camp near Wooster Lake was renamed upon the passing of Illinois Governor Henry Horner who was Young Men’s Jewish Council president in 1915 and integral to the summer camp’s beginnings. Camp Henry Horner continues to be a retreat that children and youth enjoy throughout the summer.
While the leadership experience continued to be a key part of the agency’s mission, JCYS sought a new direction – to directly serve the youth of Jewish immigrants who desperately needed social and recreational services. The organization chose to pursue this goal through camping.
Women started to play a larger role in the workforce and JCYS responded by adding preschool programs and parentchild activities. The agency experienced significant growth with the addition of the George W. Lutz Family Center on the North Shore and the Michael R. Lutz Family Center in Lakeview.
Continuing the agency’s mission of service, Camp Red Leaf was founded to offer programming to children and adults with developmental disabilities.
Extending the reach of agency services, the Northwest Family Center opened as an early childhood education center, offering infant care for the first time in JCYS history.
The range of JCYS programs continued to grow through the addition of TEAMcorps, a program for at-risk teens. The agency also took on ownership of the former Elms Swim & Tennis Club in Highland Park which has since been renovated and is now the Lillian L. Lutz Recreation Center. The decade closed under the leadership of the agency’s first female Board of Directors’ President, Phyllis Tabachnick, who was elected in 1999.
More summer camp offerings were added, including NSDC Sports, Jon Vegosen Champ Camp, Big City Day Camp, and Camp STAR – making JCYS Chicagoland’s choice for child and youth programming.
The agency changed its name from “Young Men’s Jewish Council” to “Jewish Council for Youth Services” to honor the growing role of women in the organization and better reflect the age group most served through its programs.
Construction of the new Michael R. Lutz Family Center in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood began in 2015.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
Make Room For Baby
JCYS has been a leader in Early Childhood Education since opening our first child care center in 1978. Responding to the needs of the community, JCYS now has three family centers throughout Chicagoland and a fourth scheduled to open in Fall 2016. In addition to outstanding Early Childhood Education, Kindergarten Enrichment, and special programs, two of our centers offer infant care to help families manage their complex lives and demanding schedules. Northwest Family Center accepts infants starting at six weeks old and Michael R. Lutz Center offers care beginning at 15 months. We believe that infant care is a partnership with the family. We work closely with parents to establish individualized programs that adapt to each child’s sleep, feeding and play schedules, providing a “home away from home” for the infants in our care. Devoted Infant Care Rooms provide a safe, nurturing environment. Each child’s development and needs are attended to, from feeding and diapering to physical stimulation and language development. Parents receive daily logs of their children’s feeding, sleeping, diapering and learning activities. Helping children grow and flourish is an integral part of every JCYS Early Childhood Education program! “JCYS is a three generation love affair of my family. Today I get my joy from JCYS by coming to grandparent Shabbat at the Michael R. Lutz Family Center in Lakeview. I love the look on my grandchildren’s faces when we walk into their classroom. It is so wonderful to see the third generation enjoying their time with the agency and hopefully one of them will grow up and become a member of the board one day!”
“My daughter Alana brought me back to active participation when she was on the board. It’s not only that she followed me to the board, but we got to work together and it’s rejuvenated me to have this whole cadre of young, vibrant professional people that I interact with and that’s thanks to the agency.” - Steve Podolsky, Director for Life and 2015 Gala Honoree
George W. Lutz Family Center Highland Park, IL
Opportunities abound with Parent & Child Toddler transition groups, Traditional, Half & Full-Day Preschool, Kinder Concepts and Kindergarten Enrichment. Programs are individually tailored to nurture children and grow with them. Using a variety of curricula and activities from arts and imaginative play to science, music and nature, JCYS establishes a love of learning in each child.
Northwest Family Center Buffalo Grove, IL
Developmentally appropriate, play-based curriculum encourages children’s creativity, fosters self-esteem and socialization, and establishes a love of learning. Through Infant & Toddler Care, Preschool & Kindergarten Enrichment, Kids’ Night Out, dance, and sports programming, JCYS helps children build a strong foundation for the future.
Michael R. Lutz Family Center Chicago, IL
Unique curriculum provides children with the tools and resources to explore and discover the world around them. Through Half & Full-Day Preschool and an active Parent Organization, the Chicago Center provides a true community experience with Shabbat Family Dinners, children’s concerts, weekend activities and parent-led afternoon classroom programs.
Camp Henry Horner Ingleside, IL
This day and overnight camp on 180 wooded acres on the shores of Wooster Lake features a ropes course with zip line, sports fields, a lakefront, arts and crafts, performing arts, cooking, outdoor education and a heated outdoor pool.
North Shore Day Camp & NSDC Sports Highland Park, IL
Campers enjoy daily swimming instruction and sports, music and drama, and arts and crafts, along with weekly field trips, overnighters and Friday Fun Days.
Big City Day Camp Chicago, IL
Campers explore Chicago with weekly field trips offering unique behind-the-scenes experiences. This urban camp provides diverse activities with professional sports coaches, artists, musicians and yoga instructors.
Horner Grove Day Camp Buffalo Grove, IL
A traditional day camp for children six weeks to six years old. Campers explore special interests in nature, karate, tumbling, sports, music, drama, arts and crafts, and daily swim lessons.
Sunflower Day Camps Highland Park & Chicago, IL
An introductory summer camp experience with two- to fiveyear-olds enjoying age-appropriate water activities, in-house field trips, arts and crafts, music, games and playing with their JCYS friends.
A century of developing campers!
JCYS has been creating summer memories, forming lifetime friendships and fostering leadership in young people through recreational activities, sports, team-building exercises, and CounselorIn-Training programs since 1914. JCYS offers nine day camps and an overnight camp, providing a diverse set of program options including rural and urban adventures, sportscentric experiences, and traditional arts and crafts activities. Campers have opportunities to try new activities, expanding their comfort zones in a safe and nurturing environment. By participating in camps at different stages of development, children are able to gain a sense of achievement by “graduating” from Parent/Tot and half-day camps to full-day camps, and eventually, overnight camping adventures. The tradition of training campers to take on leadership roles in our programs has been in place since the early stages of Camp Henry Horner. Older campers can become counselors through Counselorin-Training programs, with opportunities to apply for full-fledged counselor positions later. JCYS provides leadership positions to over 250 counselors and Counselors-In-Training each summer, and we look forward to cultivating generations of young leaders into the next century! Gary: “I was introduced to the Agency by Steve Podolsky and his father Milt, of blessed memory, who was my mentor. Being involved in JCYS changed my life. It was one of the most important things I’ve ever done. One of my fondest memories was the year I finished my Presidency and I gave my final speech at the Annual Meeting. My entire family was with me and I remember looking at Bryan who was smiling.” Bryan: “I remember that moment too. I was literally raised at JCYS. I had been through many JCYS programs and loved every minute of it. It’s inspiring to see someone you look up to, your father and role model, making something happen for you and hundreds of other children. It’s really special.” Gary: “This is really what it’s all about– JCYS impacting generations of families. The Wools are fortunate to be involved in this great organization.” - Gary Wool, Past President - Bryan Wool, Current Board Member and Assistant Treasurer
Reaching beyond and Touching Lives
For over three decades, Camp Red Leaf has opened its doors – and arms – to embrace thousands of children and adults with developmental disabilities. As the only American Camp Association accredited camp serving both children and adults with disabilities in metropolitan Chicago, Camp Red Leaf’s programs increase self-esteem, promote interaction, improve social skills and encourage independence in a natural environment. Camp Red Leaf summer camp programs, weekend respite care and travel camp served 558 campers in Fiscal Year 2015. It served an additional 479 campers in continued partnership with eight different organizations that serve youth and adults with disabilities. Using a vast natural environment, campers hone motor skills and coordination through team sports and recreational activities including boating activities on Wooster Lake and the high and low ropes course at Glickman High Sierra Adventure Center. These teambuilding activities help campers increase their social skills and develop close friendships. The unique programming and wheelchair-accessible grounds include the Sacks Family Treehouse, Glickman High Sierra Adventure Center, Leibow Lodge, Harriet Gerber Lewis Arts & Crafts Center, outdoor pool and Wooster Lake. These provide an environment in which all campers may feel comfortable and in control.
“As an alumna of North Shore Day Camp I have experienced first hand the positive influence camp plays in a child’s life and development. As an adult, I am proud to follow in the footsteps of my father, Robert Washlow, and serve on the JCYS Board of Directors. It is an honor to continue to spread the mission of JCYS; a mission rooted in tradition yet evolved to serve the needs of modern society by way of recreational and educational programs for children; thus enriching our Chicagoland communities. From one JCYS generation to another, it is our duty and responsibility to continue to provide meaningful, memorable and safe experiences to all the families involved in JCYS services.” - Rebecca Washlow, Current Board Member
Camp Red Leaf Ingleside, IL
Serves individuals ages six and older with developmental disabilities, and emotional and behavioral needs. The highly adaptable programs are designed to increase self-esteem, promote interaction, improve social skills and encourage independence in a natural environment.
Camp STAR Highland Park, IL
This award winning treatment program provides a transformative experience for children with ADHD and related disorders and their families by blending behavioral treatment and recreation in the context of a fun summer camp. Camp STAR is a joint effort of the University of Illinois at Chicago and JCYS.
Jon Vegosen Champ Camp Highland Park, IL
Over 75 low-income families on the North Shore receive scholarships to attend this high-quality, structured summer program which develops confidence, self-esteem, healthy lifestyle habits, teamwork, and an appreciation for athletics and sportsmanship through a combination of tennis, fitness, swimming and nutrition education.
TEAMcorps Chicago, IL
A life-skills program designed to encourage self-esteem and confidence in Chicago public high school students through mentorship and team-building exercises, TEAMcorps equips students with the tools they need to succeed in high school and beyond.
Known as a “learning board,” JCYS has been guiding young professionals in the art of governance, financial management and business development through the Board of Directors experience since the agency’s inception. Board Members learn by doing with the intention of developing the skills needed for a lifetime of community service and philanthropy. Within the framework of the organization’s child and youth programming, and as a true fiduciary board, the JCYS Board of Directors gain hands-on experience through: • Establishing the agency’s mission and strategic plan, • Overseeing the agency’s budget and investments, • Approving and monitoring facility improvements, • Championing the agency’s fundraising campaigns, and • Amending by-laws. Through exposure to the full scope of the agency’s operations, Board Members are equipped to assume key leadership roles throughout JCYS and beyond. Our Board Alumni consist of over 600 members who have gone on to start their own businesses, become top executives within their chosen professions and develop into strong philanthropic leaders at civic and charitable organizations. “A few years back, the Agency adopted the marketing slogan: ‘Growing Up JCYS’. In many ways, the Solomon family embodies this slogan. Our family was introduced to Young Men’s Jewish Council in the 1970’s when my father, Ken, joined the Board of Directors as a young professional wanting to give back to the community in which he was born and raised. Over the years, our family attended numerous Galas, and my siblings and I attended North Shore Day Camp. I became the first second-generation President of the agency in 2002, and my kids attended Sunflower Day Camp and Camp Henry Horner. Even today the Solomon family continues to support the mission of the agency as a way to continue my father’s legacy for generations to come.” - David Solomon Former Board President
Guided by Jewish values and culture, Jewish Council for Youth Services provides educational and recreational programs for Chicagoland’s children and, through board service, develops the next generation of Jewish civic leaders. – JCYS Mission Statement
The JCYS Board of Directors’ leadership development program brings together seasoned Board Members with young professionals who benefit from the guidance they receive, and in turn, continue their service to the Board while mentoring a new group of young Designates.
A letter from Leadership
The Jewish Council for Youth Services was founded in 1907 as the Young Men’s Jewish Council with a mission of supporting Chicago’s Jewish youth with recreational and educational opportunities though summer camp experiences. Throughout the years - and from generation to generation - our programs and services have changed and evolved to meet the demands of our community. Today, JCYS serves over 10,000 individuals of every race, religion and socio-economical background through our three early childhood education centers, eight summer day camps, our overnight camp, and multiple specialty programs.
EXPANDING OUR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION REACH
Through a lead gift from the Michael and Karyn Lutz Family Foundation, JCYS is responding to the increased demand for our services in the City of Chicago and will open a brand new family center in the growing Wicker Park neighborhood. Operating alongside what was known as the Michael R. Lutz Family Center in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, the new Michael R. Lutz Family Center will be a second home for families and will provide a safe, nurturing environment for children to learn, play and grow through preschool education, after-school programs, and summer day camp. Construction is already underway, the registration list is growing, and the doors will be open for children and families in the fall of 2016.
A NIGHT UNDER THE STARS
This year’s Annual Gala in May honored JCYS Director for Life Steve Podolsky. The theme of the evening was l’dor v’ dor, from generation to generation, and no family embodies that spirit more than the Podolskys. Steve was both a board member of JCYS and was made a Director for Life. He has a child who was a JCYS board member and his grandchildren have attended JCYS preschools. Over 300 board members, board alumni, civic leaders and friends joined us to celebrate the evening. Proceeds were allocated to the JCYS Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to JCYS families each year.
HELPING CAMP RED LEAF SUPPORT OTHERS
The only American Camp Association accredited camp serving both children and adults with disabilities in metropolitan Chicago, Camp Red Leaf fulfills a vital need for safe, enriching, and year-round programming for individuals with special needs through week-long summer camps, weekend respite care and travel camp adventures. One of many of JCYS’s specialized programs, Camp Red Leaf is growing by leaps and bounds as demand for our services increases. Already this year, Camp Red Leaf doubled the number of respite weekends it provides so that more and more families can enjoy the benefits of the program. Summer camp sessions were sold out and, in fact, had waiting lists. We look forward to expanding Camp Red Leaf in the coming years and doing even more through this program to meet our mission. If all of this weren’t enough, our core early childhood programs served 751 children at our three family centers in Lakeview, Highland Park and Buffalo Grove, and, along with our overnight camp in Ingleside, provided a variety of summer camp experiences to 993 children. Please look through this Annual Report to read more on how JCYS continues to extend its services and values from one generation to the next. Jeffery Heftman President, JCYS Board of Directors John Thomason JCYS Executive Director
“JCYS has been a part of my life since I was a child. I knew Young Men’s growing up as a fun weekend at Camp Henry Horner playing ball with my dad. My dad was on the Board of Young Men’s so I grew up watching his involvement in the agency. After I started my legal career, my mom suggested I get involved based on her observation that the agency not only did important philanthropic work but, with her benefit of hindsight, had created some of Chicago’s most influential leaders.” - Tom Field Past President