Jewish Summer Camp For Young Entrepreneurs

This summer, the first cohort of young campers will attend a beautiful camp in Boulder to start their journey as entrepreneurs.

Camp Inc. seeks to provide 7th through 12th graders with a unique Jewish summer camp experience that will spur creativity and invention through entrepreneurship. The ultimate goal of this camp for budding business leaders is to promote confidence, independence, leadership and philanthropy, all the while encouraging Jewish values in a dynamic Jewish summer camp community.

More than an MBA program for teens, Camp Inc. promises to teach practical entrepreneurship and real life start up experiences.

Camp Inc - Jewish Camp Entrepreurship

Josh Pierce, the chief camp officer, has a strong background in both Jewish camp and business leadership. After selling his event production company in 2011, Pierce, 35, teamed up with the Boulder Jewish Community Center where his friend Jonathan Lev serves as the executive director. Together with Camp Inc.’s Chief Operating Officer Daniel Baer, the three men have traveled the country recruiting campers, as well as startup veterans to serve as mentors and teachers for their inaugural summer: “Not only have I been doing something entrepreneurial by starting an overnight camp from scratch, I will also be able to teach teens how to start their own businesses.”

The camp is looking for current Jewish 6th-11th graders who are creative, inventive and show problem-solving ability. “Essentially, we’re looking for tinkerers,” Pierce explains. “Our camp will appeal to those teens who are constantly asking themselves how they can perform tasks more efficiently.”

The idea is that Camp Inc. will model what life should be like for a young person running a startup venture. “We’re on a residential camp property with an archery range, sports fields, high ropes elements, hiking and biking,” says Pierce. “Just like a real-life entrepreneur who needs breaks and a release from working on their company, campers at Camp Inc. will have plenty of time to enjoy our property’s recreational activities.”

Startup teams will be formed at camp with guest entrepreneurs who will visit each day to work with the campers and help these teams. Each week will culminate in a pitch day resembling the format of the “Shark Tank” reality television show. Entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists from Boulder and Denver will be on hand to field pitches from the campers. There are two pitch days in each session – the first will allow the campers to validate their idea and receive feedback from real-life entrepreneurs and investors, while on the second pitch day they can win prizes or seed money for their startup. Campers’ startups can be a service or a product and can even be a nonprofit organization.

Three days of the week the campers spend their days on camp property with a healthy mix of recreational activities, cabin time and startup planning time. Two days a week they will board buses to go on experiential tours to local companies in the Boulder area where they will meet with entrepreneurs or survey individuals and receive feedback about their products.

Then there will be a full Shabbat experience in which they leave the specialty behind and celebrate the value of community and family. The camp leadership sees this as an opportunity to unplug and teach work-life balance in an entrepreneur’s life. In fact, as Lev explains, “The Boulder JCC and Camp Inc. recently joined the National Day of Unplugging through Reboot.”

The camp’s business specialist, Abby Schneider, has a doctorate in marketing research at the University of Colorado at Boulder and teaches university level business courses. The bunk counselor, Carolyn Shillinglaw, is a social entrepreneurship major at Tulane University with a Jewish camping background from the Reform movement’s URJ camps.

While the camp is located in Boulder and plans to draw heavily from the local Denver and Boulder Jewish communities, campers are already registered from Florida, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Michigan, California, Illinois and Arizona.

“We’re looking to create to the next generation of entrepreneurs that are connected to Jewish life,” Lev said. “Who knows, we might just discover the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg this summer.”

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Jewish Techs: The Jewish Technology Blog

This blog looks at how modern technology affects Jewish life, particularly the impact of the Internet on Jews across the globe. The Internet has made the Jewish community seem smaller. The Jewish Techs blog, written by blogger Rabbi Jason Miller (The Techie Rabbi), explores the places where Jewish culture, education and faith intersect with technology. Of course, like anything, Jews will continue to ask if technology is good or bad for the Jews – the age old question of our people. Good or bad, it is undisputed that technology has changed Jewish life. If you’re Jewish or interested in technology or both… you’ll enjoy the conversation. Thanks for reading the Jewish Techs blog.

The Techie Rabbi – Rabbi Jason Miller

Rabbi Jason Miller, the Techie RabbiJason Miller is NOT your typical rabbi. Known as the Techie Rabbi, he launched Access Computer Technology in 2010 and has grown it into a full-scale technology firm that provides social media marketing consulting and web design in addition to IT support. Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary a decade ago, Rabbi Jason has made a name for himself as a popular blogger, social media expert, educator and entrepreneur. Based in Detroit, his congregation includes more than a million people who read his blog and follow him in Cyberspace. He began the Jewish Techs blog in January 2010 as the New York Jewish Week's technology expert.

An entrepreneurial rabbi and an alum of Clal's "Rabbi Without Borders" fellowship, Jason Miller is a rabbi and thought leader whose personal blog has been viewed by millions. The Detroit Free Press called him “the most tech-savvy Jewish leader" and the Huffington Post ranked him among the top Jewish Twitter users in the world. A social media expert, Rabbi Jason is a popular speaker and writer on technology and its effect on the Jewish world. He writes the "Jewish Techs" blog for The Jewish Week and the monthly "Jews in the Digital Age" column for the Detroit Jewish News.

Miller won the 2012 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the West Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce and is one of the winners of a Jewish Influencer award from the National Jewish Outreach Program.