Mike Fuld on the Value of Jewish Camp

Mike Fuld will never forget the first time he saw his wife, Samantha. He was working at Kutz Camp as a staff member; so was Samantha.

Mike Fuld will never forget the first time he saw his wife, Samantha. He was working at Kutz Camp as a staff member; so was Samantha.

Mike and Samantha first met in 2006. They happened to both be assigned to work on an all-camp evening program. The rest, as Mke puts it, was history! They were married eight years later in 2014.

Overnight camp. For Mike, it was not only where he met his future wife, but the place where he spent more than 20 summers as a camper and a staff member. It was where he formed lifelong friendships, enjoyed summers filled with swimming,climbing the tower and rocking out during song sessions. It’s where he celebrated his Jewish identity through immersive, yet creative, programs that emphasized Jewish values and traditions.

“What also really stands out about camp is that you gain independence and the experience of living as a community,” says Mike whose parents also attended Jewish camp.

“It is these ah-ha moments that I saw with my campers. Whether it was their first time taking a risk and being successful, or the first time they read from the Torah, watching a child experience those moments for the first time as a member of a community is really impactful to me.”

He adds, “Camp is the most important experience you can provide for your kids.”

In fact, studies show that Jewish camp also has a lasting impact on Jewish identity. Jewish children with impactful Jewish camp experiences are more likely to become adults who value their Jewish heritage and take on leadership roles in their communities. That’s why The Associated provides free consultative services for families looking to get their children involved in Jewish camp through its Center for Jewish Camping.

“The Associated is really an integral part of the fabric of the community,” says Mike, who was born in Baltimore but grew up in Central Pennsylvania. “I certainly am proud to be a part of it and to have the opportunity to help drive that.”

In addition to his passion about camp, Mike has taken an active role in developing future leaders as co-chair of The Associated’s Young Leadership Council (YLC) a program he himself went through when he moved to Baltimore from New York three years ago to work in the family business. He also serves on the program committee for The Associated’s Center for Leadership.

“I think these types of programs help create a stronger community by building a leadership pipeline. It’s exciting to help build and grow that.”

At the same time, there is a passion for Baltimore that drives Mike’s interest in supporting the work of The Associated. Although he grew up in Central Pennsylvania – after moving when he was one – both his parents and grandparents are committed to the community. In fact, his parents met at Pikesville High.

Looking towards the future, Mike and his wife are excited to get their daughter more involved.

“She’s 21 months old and starting to become more aware and observant of the stuff we do,” Mike explains. “I think it’s important to provide our daughter with several types of Jewish experiences so that she can make informed choices when she’s old enough. I’m thankful that organizations like The Associated, through their partnership with organizations like Jewish Volunteer Connection or the JCC, provide those opportunities to families.”

And, of course, there’s Jewish camp.

“My wife and I have always and will always continue to be connected to Jewish camp, it’s been such a huge part of our lives. It’s provided us with so many opportunities and experiences, connections and friendships – I’m looking forward to watching our daughter experience that as well.”

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