URJ Kutz Camp is a welcoming and engaging 27-day summer experience for teens from around the world to live in an environment that celebrates each individual, is committed to deep learning and leadership development, lifts up the opportunity for reciprocal learning between teens and adults, and celebrates Judaism with passion and joy.

The Kutz program helps teens broaden their perspectives and spheres of influence through:

  • An intentional focus on leadership development through a lens of Reform Jewish values
  • Deep learning and skill development in one of seven different immersive learning blocks
  • Participation in unique affinity-based Fellowships that begin in the summer and extend through the school year
  • Access to Master Classes with professionals from both the secular and Jewish world
  • A camp-wide leadership curriculum, ensuring that every teen leaves camp equipped to define their leadership trajectory
  • All of the fun and wonder of Jewish summer camp

Kutz is the right place for teens who:

  • Want to create a customized personal summer experience that is rooted in high-level learning and deeply engaging peer-leadership
  • Are engaged or want to be engaged in leadership roles in their communities
  • Thrive for authentic adult/teen partnerships in learning, collaboration, and mentorship
  • Feel deeply connected to helping to ensure a more just and compassionate world
  • Are invigorated when engaged in meaningful Jewish learning and cultural experiences
  • Are proud of being Jewish, and strive to ensure that the future of Reform Judaism will thrive
  • Want to have a meaningful, fun, and enriching summer

For fifty-three years, Kutz has been home to tens of thousands of teen leaders who have gone on to become leaders in the Jewish and secular world.

Check out what a typical day at Kutz looks like!

Immersive Learning Blocks (also known as Majors) are designed to build real-life skills that can be developed, honed, and refined while at camp and later implemented with confidence following camp. Majors are comprised of a 2-hour learning block in the morning and are complemented by an hour-long practical application block in the afternoon. The Majors are guided by millennial alumni, and are taught by teams of experts. Teens gain hands-on skills and practical know-how in the field of their choice.

  • Advocacy and Action, powered by the RAC - Develop a cadre of lifelong skills that put you at the center of social justice, advocacy, action, and community organizing.  Led by the leadership of the Religious Action Center and community leaders from throughout the country, this Immersive will prepare you to take action at home, in our nation and throughout the world. Learn more!
  • Israel and Zionism, powered by ARZA and the iCenter- From Women of the Wall to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, we know that the issues in Israel are complicated and nuanced.  Learn with the people who are leading our movement in Israel engagement and explore a 360-degree perspective of the history, politics, religious life, and modern challenges that are important to you. Be empowered with knowledge to share your views and act through a lens of Reform Jewish values and become equipped with the skills to thoughtfully talk about Israel in high school, on your college campus, and beyond.
  • Songleading, powered by Cantor Ellen Dreskin, Dan Nichols, Alan Goodis, Cantor Rosalie Boxt, Rabbi Jeremy Gimbel, and Elana Arian - Learn with the shining stars of contemporary Jewish music. Begin or continue your training as a Jewish musician and gain valuable songleading skills, repertoire, and theory. Vocalists and musicians of all types are welcome, and instruments are not a requirement.
  • Torah Corps, powered by HUC-JIR Students and Staff - Immerse yourself in sacred and modern texts and bring new life to Jewish history, philosophy, thought and ritual practice. Study with the Reform Movement's premier clergy and educators as you enhance your relationship with Judaism and how it applies to daily life. 
  • Social Entrepreneurship - With a curriculum created in partnership with innovators and industry leaders, participants will walk away with real-life skills for elevating creativity, incubating ideas, and developing business plans to actualize ideas into reality. Learn with non-profit visionaries, who have created new ways of connecting and impacting the world.
  • NFTY Incubator, powered by NFTY - Impact NFTY across the country by partnering with the NFTY North American Board and adult leadership to build programmatic priorities and initiatives to be utilized by all of our regions. Make an impact beyond your local community and impact the entire Reform Movement.
  • Fine Arts - Creatively blend your passions for art and Jewish expression through various art medium including charcoal, acrylics, pottery, gouache, watercolors, and mixed media. Explore your relationship with Judaism and develop your art skills using Jewish texts and innovative textures.
The Leadership Lab is a camp-wide curriculum that will help ensure that each teen leaves camp with a toolkit of leadership skills, and a clear plan that charts goals for their leadership trajectory. The Leadership Lab will help each teen develop a deeper understanding of their own strengths in areas such as:

  • Authenticity
  • Confidence
  • Determination
  • Focus
  • Grit
  • Innovation
  • Inspiration
  • Integrity
  • Justice
  • Patience
  • Peer-engagement
  • Resilience
Master Classes

The Master Classes will happen throughout the summer, some of which are week-long, some are session-long, and each is taught by an expert in their field of study. Master Classes will include topics such as:

  • Culinary Arts
  • Developing College Applications
  • Digital Media
  • First Aid and CPR Certification
  • Graphic Design
  • Hebrew
  • Israeli Dance
  • Jewish Text Study
  • Leveraging Social Media
  • Lifeguard Certification
  • Madrichim (Religious School Teaching Assistant) Training
  • Master Composition and Songwriting
  • Spirituality and Mindfulness
  • Theater and Improv
  • Yoga
Fellowships

Each teen will have the opportunity to opt into a session-long Fellowship, which lifts up collaborative peer-learning and is hosted by young professionals in a specific affinity area.  Each Fellowship will take significant role in developing all-camp programming and t’filah, participate in out-of-camp trips that align with their Fellowship, and develop skills for practical application. The Fellowships will also have the opportunity to continue their work throughout the year. Some of the Fellowships planned for 2018 include:

  • Civics, Government and Politics - gearing up for a mid-term election in 2018, an opportunity to understand the issues and positions at play in American government, and how teens can be an active part of of education and advocacy
  • Creativity and Innovation – best practices for creating a culture that thrives on innovation, determination, and risk, learning from shared successes and challenges, understanding the arc of idea inception to implementation
  • Global Jewish Engagement - bringing together a mix of North American and international teens to collaborate on the intersection of global jewry and the teen space
  • Hot Topics Fellowship – Racial Justice, Sexual Assault, Refugees, TBD
  • Mussar and Mindfulness – gain a deeper understanding of meditation, yoga, wellness, and spirituality rooted in Jewish and secular texts and how these translate into everyday life
  • Musical Theater - Improv, theater, dance, and movement as an expression of creativity, and utilizing these modes of expression to lift up issues most relevant to teens
  • Teva Outdoor Adventure – take advantage of the amazing Appalachian Trail by enjoying hiking, nature, and camping, and better understand environmentalism and sustainability.
Camp Essentials

Kutz is also proud to have scores of general camp activities including:

  • Alpine Tower
  • Art
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Boating
  • Clubs
  • Dance
  • Fitness Center
  • GaGa
  • Guitar
  • Hiking
  • Running Groups
  • Softball
  • Swimming
  • Tefilah
  • Tennis
  • Theater
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Yoga
Introducing the ARJE/URJ Teen Educational Leader Certificate Program

For synagogue madrichim, classroom aides, and teen program leaders.

Nominate a teen leader today!

The ARJE/URJ Teen Educational Leader Certificate program combines a summer of learning with hands-on application during the year for teens who are ready to take their synagogue work to the next level.

The Teen Educational Leader Master Class* takes place during the Kutz summer and will be taught by experienced Jewish educators from across the field. Through personalized learning, group work, and hands-on activities, participants will explore:

  • Innovative strategies for engaging learners
  • Child development
  • Experiential Education
  • Management and supervision strategies
  • Working with peers/children with special needs
  • Educational problem solving
  • Presence in front of the room

After completing the summer at URJ Kutz Camp, participants return home to take on an educational leadership role in their congregation including being an aide/madrich in a classroom, running programming for younger students, or leading activities for their peers.  

Certificate Requirements:

  • Completion of the Master Class* on Educational Leadership offered during the URJ Kutz session (approx. 24 hours of interactive learning)
  • Completion of the Capstone Project during the Kutz summer (a lesson plan or program that can be utilized in the synagogue where you work/volunteer)
  • Working/volunteering in a synagogue during the 2018-19 academic year (completion must be certified by the program supervisor

    Upon successful completion of the requirements, participants will receive:

    • Certification as a Teen Educational Leader from the Union for Reform Judaism and the Association of Reform Jewish Educators
    • A $180 cash stipend

Participants in the Teen Educational Leader Certificate Program must be nominated by the rabbi, educator, or youth professional in their congregation. If you are a teen who would like to be nominated for this program, please reach out to the appropriate person in your synagogue leadership.