The RootOne-FJC Israel Fellowship: Morgan Morris

Published on June 29, 2023

The RootOne-FJC Israel Fellowship, launched in April 2023, enables camps in the FJC network to retain excellent staff members for two summers, build on the staff member’s existing relationship with campers, and serve part-time as part of the year-round camp team. These fellows spend a year recruiting campers they know well to go on the camp’s Israel trip, then staff the Israel trip, then recruit those same campers to return to camp as CITs or first year staff, working with them the following summer as well. During each year, they also experience professional development in the form of two retreats and one to two webinars with their fellowship cohort as well as quarterly one-on-one meetings with the Program Manager. Here’s what one of our first fellows, Morgan Morris, has to say about his experience so far:  

I am the Teen Leadership Director at Beber Camp in Mukwonago, WI. As part of my role, I am also an FJC-RootOne Israel Fellow! I applied to be part of this Fellowship because I see it as a unique learning opportunity to develop my skills and grow in my role at camp this summer. It is also very exciting to be part of the group of like-minded individuals from different camps who comprise our cohort. We share ideas with each other about our common goals—attracting more young people to participate in our camp Israel trips as well as figuring out how to deepen both the impact and meaning that they derive from the experience.  

So far, I have been working with the Beber Camp leadership team and looking at ways to integrate much of what I am the learning into our camp culture not only for this  summer but also for  future summers. For example, all of the campers have completed the online Culture and Peoplehood track with RootOne. We are now adapting some of the content and creating a life-sized board game that we will now play at camp around the lake. I also am planning to add new interactive Israel Experience program for our first session teens who will venture to Israel later in the summer.  

Finally, I have been working to create a plan of action as to how we are going to achieve the goals of this Fellowship after the summer of 2023.  In particular, we are creating a WhatsApp group so that these teens can continue to communicate throughout the school year. In the group, we will share follow-up information about Israel, meet ups, and the CIT application link and deadline—our goal is for all of them to return to camp for summer 2024. We also  hope that this year’s CIT project will be to share photos and testimonials about the Israel trip in a kind of interactive exhibit on camp. This way, the trip will take on a more real presence in camp and for our younger campers.  

From my role and this fellowship, I am more confident not only in terms of the Israel component of my job but also with leadership in general. With this specific portfolio, I am able to take the lead in sharing ideas with my colleagues and planning ways to integrate learning about Israel into camp. I am very grateful for the benefits I am already seeing for myself but also for Beber Camp. 

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