Jewish Council for Youth Services


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2014 Annual Report

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Jewish Council for Youth Services ANNUAL REPORT 2014 Creating Leaders at Every Age


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Jewish Council for Youth Services is an independent, not-for-profit agency dedicated to serving both Chicagoland’s Jewish and greater communities, and developing leaders who continue its tradition of volunteer service. Embracing Jewish values and culture, JCYS provides educational and recreational programs that nurture individual growth and promote responsibility to others.


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TABLE OF CONTENTS Message from the Leadership.........................................2 JCYS History.......................................................................4 Early Childhood Education................................................6 Summer Camp..................................................................10 Specialty Programs.........................................................14 Board of Directors............................................................18 Staff Development...........................................................22 Program & Financial Stats..............................................24 Donor Contributions.......................................................26 List of Donors..................................................................28 Award Recipients............................................................39 1


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At Jewish Council for Youth Services (JCYS) we are proud to create leaders at every age. From infant care and preschool education to after-school care and summer camp and onto leadership development for young professionals, JCYS programs and services grow alongside the children and families we serve. As an agency, we continue to expand and adapt to the changing needs of the community. As we round out the 2013 Fiscal Year, we are pleased to share some of our most significant highlights with you. NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Leadership starts at the top, and it was with great excitement that we welcomed John Thomason as our new Executive Director in February 2014. John brings with him extensive experience in managing large and diverse nonprofit operations, as well as a strong background in financial and program management. Previously the Associate Chief Operating Officer for the American Jewish Committee, John has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. With his fresh perspective, we look forward to growing our organization in new and exciting ways in the years to come! EXPANDING OUR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION REACH As JCYS grows, the children and families we serve grow with us. The Michael R. Lutz Family Center in Lakeview, one of the agency’s three Family Centers, continues to thrive as one of the most reputable preschools in Chicago. Currently serving over 400 families, the demand for enrollment at JCYS’s only Chicago-based center continues to increase each year. Through a lead gift from the Michael and Karyn Lutz Family Foundation, JCYS is responding to the increased demand and will open a brand new family center in the growing Wicker Park neighborhood. This new facility 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 opportunities. 2


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NEW & IMPROVED FACILITIES AT CAMP HENRY HORNER Through a generous donation from Ed Glickman, JCYS was able to rebuild and expand the former boathouse at Camp Henry Horner. The new South Beach Paradise Cabana features a weather-proof boathouse for our numerous kayaks, canoes and beach activities, locker rooms for campers, and office space with windows that look out on the lake for extra supervision. The new boathouse was a welcome addition to our facilities and a fantastic way to usher in our 100th summer of camp! A HOT NIGHT IN HIGHLAND PARK This year’s Annual Gala honored the programs and families JCYS serves in Highland Park, along with the fantastic JCYS Alumni that hail from the northern suburbs of Chicago. The evening’s honoree was JCYS Director for Life and Highland Park City Councilman Alyssa Knobel who, along with Honorary Chair and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rodkin Rotering, led an evening that included a live and silent auction, cocktail reception, and dinner at the Ravinia Music Festival in the heart of Highland Park. Over 300 business and civic leaders were in attendance on May 3rd and the event raised over $250,000 for the JCYS Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to families each year. HELPING CAMP RED LEAF SUPPORT OTHERS As 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, reliable, and enriching programming for individuals with special needs through week-long summer camp opportunities, weekend respite care and travel camp adventures. Through the Annual Golf & Tennis Outing and the newly created 5K Run/Walk & Kid’s Fun Run, the JCYS Board, Board Alumni and other supporters raised over $95,000, allowing Camp Red Leaf to provide critical program subsidies and scholarship assistance to the campers and families who need it most. In addition to these amazing accomplishments, JCYS also continued to provide our core services – early childhood education and school-age programming – to 889 children at our three Family Centers in Lakeview, Highland Park and Buffalo Grove, and summer camp experiences to 825 children at nine different day camps throughout Chicagoland and overnight camp in Ingleside, Illinois. Please take a moment to flip through the pages of this Annual Report to see how JCYS creates new leaders at every age. Jeffrey Friedman President, JCYS Board of Directors John Thomason JCYS Executive Director 3


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1907 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. 1940s JCYS’s active summer camp near Wooster Lake was renamed upon the passing of Illinois Governor Henry Horner who was Young Men Jewish Council’s president in 1915 and integral to the summer camp’s initial beginnings. Camp Henry Horner continues to be the summer retreat that children and youth enjoy during Chicago’s hot months. 1914 1970s While the leadership experience has 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 these ideals through camping. Women started to play a larger role in the workforce and JCYS responded by adding preschool programs for young children and parent-child 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. 4


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For over a century, JCYS has responded to the varying needs and shifting demographics in the Chicagoland area. Though our programs and services continue to change and evolve to meet the demands of the community, our commitment and dedication to service – and those we serve – remains constant. 1990s 1984 Continuing JCYS’s mission of service, Camp Red Leaf was founded in order to offer summer programming to children and adults with developmental disabilities. The range of JCYS programs continued to grow through the addition of our at-risk teen program, TEAMcorps. JCYS also took over the former Elms Swim & Tennis Club in Highland Park which became the recently renovated Lillian L. Lutz Recreation Center. JCYS rounded out the decade with the first female Board of Directors’ President, Phyllis Tabachnick, elected in 1999. 1989 The agency made the momentous decision to change 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. 2000s Extending the reach of JCYS’s services, the Northwest Family Center opened as an early childhood education center that offered infant care for the first time in JCYS history. More summer camp offerings were added to our programs including NSDC Sports, Jon Vegosen Champ Camp, Big City Day Camp, and Camp STAR – making JCYS Chicagoland’s choice for child and youth programming. 5


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EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION Five-year olds are taking over the classroom in Highland Park! Through an emergent learning program, our Kindergarten Enrichment students have a voice in the direction of their lesson plans. Quickly becoming one of our most popular programs at JCYS, Kindergarten Enrichment is available for children enrolled in a half-day Kindergarten program and allows students to develop teambuilding and leadership skills that you won’t find in a typical elementary school classroom. With guidance from their teachers, Kindergarten students are able to vote through a democratic show of hands on topics they will study together throughout the week. Students then delve into their chosen topic with science experiments, art projects, research and journaling, field trips and guest speakers. Topics have been as broad as space and as tiny as ants, but they are explored with gusto. And because the decision-making is literally in their hands, the rewards are that much sweeter. These emerging leaders also learn the art of mitzvah by collecting tzedakah throughout the year and collectively deciding to which organization or charity they will donate their fundraising dollars. We couldn’t be prouder of our growing philanthropists! JCYS has been a leader in early childhood education since we opened our first child care center in 1978. Responding to the needs of the community, JCYS now has three family centers throughout Chicagoland that offer preschool education for children two to five years old. At the Northwest Family Center in Buffalo Grove, JCYS is also able to offer care for infants as young as six weeks old. Helping foster a love of learning and leadership starts early with each and every JCYS early childhood education program!


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EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION Over 200 grandparents came to Northwest Family Center’s Grandparent’s Shabbat this year! Michael R. Lutz Family Center kids went on 78 field trips. 30 children on the North Shore were awarded scholarships for financial assistance. 6,424 Hannukah candles given to preschool families at the Michael R. Lutz Family Center! Percentage of kids who were NEW to JCYS preschool at the Northwest Family Center. Preschool and Kindergarten Enrichment teachers at George W. Lutz Family Center have an average tenure of 13.6 years! 8


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George W. Lutz Family Center Highland Park, IL Opportunities abound at the George W. Lutz Family Center with Parent & Child Toddler transition groups to Traditional, Half & Full-Day Preschool, Kinder Concepts and Kindergarten Enrichment. JCYS programs are individually tailored to nurture and grow alongside children. 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 Northwest Family Center’s developmentally appropriate, play-based curriculum encourages children’s creativity, fosters their self-esteem and socialization, and establishes a love of learning. Through Infant & Toddler Care, Preschool & Kindergarten Enrichment, Kids’ Night Out, and dance & sports programming, JCYS helps children build a strong foundation for the future. Michael R. Lutz Family Center Chicago, IL At the Michael R. Lutz Family Center in Lakeview, children are given the tools and resources they need to explore and discover the world around them. Through Half & Full-Day Preschool and an active Parent Organization, our Chicago Center is a true community experience with Shabbat Family Dinners, children’s concerts, weekend activities and parent-led afternoon classroom programs. 9


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SUMMER CAMP JCYS has a century of camping experience! Since 1914, JCYS has been creating summer memories, forming lifetime friendships and sparking leadership in young men and women through sports and recreational activities, team building and trust exercises, and Counselor-In-Training programs. The breadth and width of JCYS summer camps have grown over the decades to now include nine summer day camps and an overnight camp, offering youth and their families a diversified set of program options that include rural and urban adventures, sports-centric experiences, traditional arts and crafts activities, and programs tailord for older tweens all the way down to those created specifically for the younger camper. At each and every program, campers are given the opportunity to try new activities and expand their comfort zone in a safe and nurturing environment. By providing camping opportunities and programs for children at different stages of development, JCYS is able to help create a sense of achievement for children “graduating” from smaller day camps to the larger overnight camping experience. Campers turn into counselors through our Counselor-in-Training (CIT) programs, with the opportunity to apply for summer positions as full-fledged counselors. During the 2013 summer camping season, JCYS gave leadership positions to over 280 counselors and Counselors-In-Training. This tradition of campers taking on larger leadership roles within our camping programs has been in place since the earliest stages of Camp Henry Horner and we look forward to continuing that tradition in our next century of youth development!


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Camp Henry Horner Ingleside, IL Located on 180 wooded acres on the shores of Wooster Lake, Camp Henry Horner is our outdoor day and overnight camp that features lake excursions, a ropes course and zip line, sports fields, arts and crafts, music, dance, drama, cooking, outdoor education and an outdoor heated pool! North Shore Day Camp & NSDC Sports Highland Park, IL There is something for everyone on the North Shore! Through our traditional North Shore Day Camp and NSDC Sports Camp, 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 have fun exploring Chicago at Big City Day Camp! With weekly field trips that offer unique behind-the-scenes experiences, this urban day camp also offers a diverse array of activities with professional sports coaches, artists, musicians and yoga instructors. Horner Grove Day Camp Buffalo Grove, IL JCYS brings the traditional day camp spirit for children six weeks to six years old. In age-appropriate groups, 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 JCYS starts the summer camp experience early with Sunflower Day Camps, where campers two to five years old enjoy age-appropriate water activities, in-house field trips, and lots of traditional summer camp activities like arts and crafts, music, games and – of course – playing with their JCYS friends! 12


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SUMMER CAMP North Shore Day Camp & NSDC Sports campers had a total of 4,488 swimming lessons during eight weeks of summer camp! Big City Day Campers grilled 1,098 hot dogs at cookouts on Lake Michigan last summer! Sunflower campers in Lakeview celebrated eight Shabbats under the summer sun. North Shore Day Campers consumed 224 pounds of watermelon... Horner Grove Day Camp sponsored 12 Counselors-inTraining and Sunflower Camp in Highland Park had 19! Camp Henry Horner campers played 156 games in the Ga Ga pit! Camp Henry Horner campers roasted 692 s’mores around the campfire. 13



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