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Amidst Ongoing War, Dror Israel Adapts its Summer Programs

Updated: Jun 14

During a typical summer, Dror Israel and its affiliated youth movement HaNoar HaOved v’HaLomed (NOAL), run summer programming for tens of thousands of Israeli teens and children across the country. This includes day camps, sleepaway camps and overnight hikes, as well as the renowned Teen Leadership Institute. However, this is not a typical year, and Dror Israel continues to pivot and adapt its programming to meet the needs that have arisen in Israeli society since October 7th. 

Summer programs provide fun and structure for youth during difficult times.

People’s lives have changed dramatically since the start of the war. Many remain evacuated, and those who have returned home continue to deal with trauma, loss, challenges of rebuilding, and living under ongoing rocket fire. Even those in non-evacuated areas continue to experience the general fear and anxiety of living through an ongoing war and threats of escalation.  Over the summer, with schools out, families are left grappling with the added stress of ensuring their children's well-being and engagement during this period.

Dror Israel and NOAL are attempting to provide a sense of security and routine in their programming this summer, while adjusting to the specific needs of each community. The flagship programs - day camps and sleepaway camps for elementary school children and leadership training courses for teens - play a crucial role in providing a safe and enriching environment for Israel's traumatized youth, offering them the opportunity to not only have fun but also to receive the emotional and educational support they urgently require. Moreover, these initiatives offer parents much-needed peace of mind, knowing that their children are in a secure environment where their well-being is prioritized during what can otherwise feel like a long and uncertain summer break.

Adapted programs will provide support for thousands.

Together with partnering municipalities, the Ministry of Education and the Home Front Command, Dror Israel leadership reached the conclusion that after the trauma of October 7th and in light of the continuing war, parents are much less willing to send their children to overnight activities, and that the usual large camps of 1,000+ children (especially in the north) are not suitable to the current security situation. Taking this into consideration, Dror Israel educators are working closely with local partners to individually tailor the content and structure of programming to the unique needs of each age group and community.

Teens will learn how to be local leaders and support others during times of emergency.

One of the summer’s highlights is the Teen Leadership Institute for 1,000+ tenth graders from around the country that takes place at NOAL’s campsite in the north. Changes include building several shorter courses spread throughout the summer instead of one large week-long event; training the teen participants on tools to offer first-aid emotional support as well as resilience building for traumatized children; and training the teens to be available as volunteer youth counselors in their public bomb shelters and throughout their communities in case of future escalation. 400+ evacuee teens are expected to take part in this course, which will also take their unique situation into consideration. The course will be held at several local sites around the country to provide more access and ease parents’ anxiety around sending their children away for an extended period. 

Day camps will also be adapted to meet community’s needs during this sensitive time. In some less-affected areas like the country’s center, the camps will take place locally instead of including travel to other parts of the country as they would during a typical summer. All programming held in the Gaza border area will take place in or around protected buildings to account for the ongoing rocket fire in the area. Day camps will be run for displaced youth from Kiryat Shmona and the surrounding regional councils in the evacuee centers where they are currently living.  

All programming will be run with a heightened awareness of trauma and uncertainty that the children are experiencing, including extensive training for the counselors. 


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