Gesher (Counselor in Training) Program

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Gesher is a Hebrew word meaning “bridge.” 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. The Gesher program was created to better develop future leaders of Camp Harlam, within the Reform Movement, and at home. However, this program is not just about developing future leaders; it is about giving your child experiences and tangible tools that will enable them to be successful on a personal and professional level.  While we know the program will look different this year, we remain committed to providing a robust experience, both at camp and in Israel, that strengthens Jewish identity and provides opportunity for growth.  

As you know, this year’s program will look different than past years, and this year’s enrollment process has some significant changes.

 

  • The Gesher program will be a 3 ½ week program onsite at camp followed by a 3 ½ week NFTY in Israel travel program. We consider these two components to provide a holistic, full summer experience and encourage participation in both components.
  • Registration is time limited: Prospective CITs will need to register through CampInTouch to show your interest in participating in this program between Monday, October 26th and Friday, November 6th. You will not be charged until the application period closes and all applications are received, so that we have an opportunity to confirm availability.
  • Families will need to provide the prospective CIT’s email during the registration process. Once we receive your application, we will the applicant an intake form so that they can indicate their interest in the program, note any conflicts with participation, and share some information about themselves. Please make sure to submit responses by Friday, November 13th.
  • Registration does not guarantee entry into the program. Each year our goal is to accept everyone who is interested and will have a successful experience, but this year we anticipate capacity restriction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Financial support remains a priority. Harlam offers need-based scholarship for our Gesher program.  We are also one of the only URJ camps to provide scholarship support for the NFTY in Israel trip. Our Financial Assistance Application will be available in your CampInTouch account once you complete the registration and should be completed within two weeks.

Testimonials

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

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

“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.”

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

“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.”

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

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