Inspiring Camp Connections and Nurturing Jewish Identity

Stacy Harvey is the Jewish Connection Network‘s new Camp Connector. Discover her journey from New York to Baltimore, her strong Jewish identity, and her commitment to instilling those traditions in her family through camp. Stacy shares the inspiration behind her position and her dedication to helping families find the right camp experience. Learn about the wide range of Jewish camps available in Baltimore and how PJ Library’s Camp Grant can make this experience more accessible.

Stacey Harvey with family

Tell us about yourself:

I grew up in New York in a community with a large Jewish population. My strong sense of Jewish identity was nurtured through celebrating Jewish holidays with my large, extended family.  Some of my happiest childhood memories were the love, joy, and closeness I felt to my family as we observed holidays together.  I always knew I wanted to carry on those traditions with my family. Fortunately, my husband, Justin, had the same desire and together we aim to continue Jewish tradition with hopes that we’ll instill a strong sense of Jewish identity in our children.  For my academic journey, I pursued Marketing Management at Virginia Tech.  Work led Justin and I from Manhattan to Baltimore where the Jewish community welcomed us with open arms, making our new city feel like home.

As the Camp Connector for the Jewish Connection Network, tell us about your role and what inspired you to take it on?

When we first moved to Baltimore and lived downtown, we didn’t have many close connections here. After we had our first daughter, my friend Lauren Ades encouraged me to become a Community Connector. This role allowed us to find a place as a family in Jewish Baltimore. As a Connector, it was meaningful to me to help build Jewish community. Getting people together, many who were living away from family, for holiday celebrations, Shabbat, or community events, gave me a great sense of purpose.  I gained so much personally from being a Connector. Many of the families we became close with are still a big part of our lives today.  

As our kids got older and are now at camp stage of life, it seemed like a natural fit for me to become the Camp Connector. My kids have gained so much from going to camp. They have incredible ruach – spirit and energy – from the summer.  All year long they sing the camp songs they’ve learned. They literally count the days for camp to begin. 

When looking for camps for my kids, I had to really dig for the information myself. As the Camp Connector, I hope to guide people to Jewish camps that could be a good fit for their family, making information and camp connections more easily accessible to them. 

Why is going to a Jewish Camp so important?

We choose to send our children to a secular school. Going to Jewish camp gives my children the opportunity to be with other Jewish kids who understand and can relate to our culture and traditions. It’s so important to instill a sense of Jewish history and pride in our children. Having their second home be their Jewish day or overnight camp is one of the best gifts we can give our children. Sending kids to overnight camp can be unnerving but knowing my kids will be taken care of by people that share my background and values is comforting to me.

Can you share one of your children’s’ favorite camp memory?

After coming home from overnight camp, my daughter spoke most about the Friday night Shabbat services overlooking the lake. At BT Camp, my kids loved the weekly Shabbat sing along and service. Even if they don’t realize it in the moment, Jewish values are woven into their day-to-day camp experiences, playing a big part in helping them become respectful, responsible, caring individuals.

Can you describe the types of Jewish camps available and the range of experiences they offer for families in the community?

There’s everything from adventure camps, which focus on nature and learning outdoor skills, to more traditional camps that have various activities throughout the day like art, sports, music etc. Camps focusing on special interests like STEM, a sport, or the arts may appeal to some children. I love that there are camp experiences and programs for kids of all abilities, that also ensure, regardless of how children identify, that they can feel comfortable and safe at Jewish summer camp. Camps start from young ages to offering opportunities for older kids. Whatever type of program you are looking for, there is something for everyone. Check out some more on the Associated’s Jewish Camp page.

PJ Library helps children attend Jewish overnight camp for the first time by offering awards to qualifying families. Why is this so important?

It’s just so beautiful to see that donors realize the importance of sending kids to Jewish summer camp. Through PJ Library, these donors give generously to help kids all over the country have a Jewish summer camp experience.  It makes me proud to be part of this community. Check out and apply for PJ Library’s Camp Grant.

How can families in your community get in touch with you or the Connectors program to seek assistance with finding the right Jewish camp for their children?

There’s a Baltimore Jewish Camp Facebook page, my e-mail is, my cell is 516-662-3245.

Speaking of summer, what’s a favorite summer vacation you’ve taken with your family?

Going to the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this past summer with my family.

What’s your family’s favorite activity to do in Baltimore?

Going to Orioles games or Port Discovery.

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The Associated is a home for everyone in the Baltimore Jewish community. We offer several email lists to help people find a community, engage with their peers and support Jewish journeys around the world.

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