The Gesher Program is a summer leadership opportunity for rising high school seniors that bridges the gap from being a camper to being a staff member. Over the course of the summer, CITs (Counselors-in-Training) will learn valuable life skills, including conflict resolution, teaching, developmental stages, program writing, team building, and communication. Gesher participants will be assigned to various age groups and specialty departments throughout the summer, where they will learn to be successful camp leaders through observation, active participation, seminars, and group programs. There are opportunities for Gesher participants to add to their resume and give back to the camp community, while bonding as a group with Gesher-only activities.

A select group is accepted into this program based on their applications, personal interviews, essays, and recommendations.

If you have any questions about the Gesher program, please contact Alyssa Kress, Assistant Director, at AKress@URJ.org.

2018 Information

The Gesher program begins on Sunday, June 24th and concludes on Sunday, August 19th (please note that CIT pick-up on August 19th will be in the afternoon and not in the morning with the rest of camp pick-up). The CITs do have an intersession time where they must leave camp between the end of First Session and the beginning of training for Second Session from Sunday, July 22nd (when the First Session campers are picked up) until the afternoon of Monday, July 23rd.

Tuition for the Gesher Program is $4,800. Applicants will be invited to officially register for camp using our online registration system only after they have been accepted into the Gesher Program. More information will be made available about the registration and payment process at the time of acceptance into the program.

2018 Application Requirements and Timeline

  • Attend/View Virtual Information Session: Wednesday, November 8th, 8 PM EST
    Register for the Webinar »
    If you are unable to attend the webinar live, please email Alyssa Kress at AKress@URJ.org to set-up an alternate plan for viewing a recording the webinar.
  • Application Form: Due Sunday, December 10th
    Gesher 2018 Application
  • Two References: Due Sunday, December 10th
    Gesher 2018 Reference Form
    Applicants need two references, and we strongly suggest that at least one reference be someone who has seen you in your synagogue, school, and/or working with children.
  • Interview: Each applicant must participate in a 20-30 minute video interview that will take place during the last two weeks of December, with both daytime and evening options. We will be in touch about scheduling interviews once all other application materials have been received.

Applicants will be be notified of their acceptance status in mid-to-late January.

Testimonials

The most valuable way to hear about the CIT program is from former CITs. Here is what some of our CITs of 2017 had to say about their experience:

“Spending time with my campers always made my day, knowing that they are looking up to me like I looked up to my CITs when I was their age.”

“Being a CIT requires you to be okay with making mistakes, accepting them, and learning quickly from them and moving on.”

“I really loved this summer. I think it gave the participants so many opportunities to learn how to grow as future leaders not only at camp.”

“I had the summer of my life. I grew in ways that I did not predict, and I had an incredibly meaningful experience.”

“I became more outgoing and was given many chances to go out of my comfort zone.”

“I just wanted to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to have an unforgettable summer. I really enjoyed my time at camp and would redo it all in a heartbeat. I wish the summer never came to a close but I am happy where and how I left my mark and I couldn’t ask for a better summer.”

“I had such a positive experience this summer. I really thought that we had a lot of direction and purpose for being at camp.”

“My favorite part of the Gesher program was the fact that we were given trust and freedom to be independent with our own kids.”

“My favorite part of the Gesher program was the balance it provided between camper and counselor. We had our responsibilities and made the most of our opportunities working with campers, as well as hanging out within Gesher and our fellow CITs.”

“I had many experiences that made my Gesher summer so amazing. One part was simply living in the Bayit. Getting to live with all my friends under one roof really made me appreciate everyone. I loved being able to walk into the center room at night and always have something new to do with someone new. I also loved the aspect of the summer that gave us the freedom to do what we liked. I’ve always been very anxious and I like to do things on my own time, very independently. At camp, it can be difficult to find time to yourself. But the off periods, and the ability to pick what you want as a CIT made the summer so awesome.”

“I really didn’t expect to change at all when the summer began, but at the end of the summer I realized just how much I had changed. Last year, I cared so much about how others viewed me. And as the course of the summer went on, I stared to recognize that I was so much happier when I was unapologetically me. And I’ve carried this into the beginning of this senior year of high school and I couldn’t be happier not caring about what others think of me.”

“My favorite part of the Gesher Program was making bonds with not only my campers, but my fellow Gesher participants, too. Living in such tight quarters taught me how to deal with everyone better and learn to be flexible.”