Tamarack campers enjoy making crafts together.
Tamarack campers enjoy making crafts together.

The CAMPaign for Change aims to strengthen young people’s relationship to Judaism through experiencing and embracing tzedakah and the importance of sharing, volunteering and giving back.

Do you remember Campbell Soup Company’s program, Labels for Education? This innovative marketing campaign began in 1973, allowing schools to earn books, musical instruments, computers and other supplies in exchange for soup can labels.    

The hallmark of this program was that every student could participate and make a difference for their school by cutting labels off soup cans from their own homes and from the cupboards of their friends, families and neighbors. There was no limit to how many labels each child could collect, and the more that were collected, the more supplies their school would receive. 

Campbell’s taught students that their individual efforts could have a direct impact on their school and their classmates. This simple program changed generations of children, not only by providing them with needed educational supplies, but also in teaching the importance of giving back. 

So, what do soup labels have to do with Tamarack Camps?

Geoff Kretchmer
Geoff Kretchmer

Labels for Education left a lasting impression on President of Tamarack Camps Geoff Kretchmer, who vividly remembers his days as a fifth grader, collecting Campbell Soup labels from friends and neighbors. 

“It was a little scary to knock on doors, but also really motivating to know we were doing something special for our school and each other,” he said. “That lesson had a lasting impact on me and helped shape my understanding of the difference a single person can make — especially a child. 

“This was the idea behind the CAMPaign for Change: just like my generation collected soup labels, our campers and staff will collect coins for camper scholarships and, in doing so, young people are learning that they, too, can impact change.”

Summer after summer, children, teens and young adults return home from Tamarack Camps forever changed. Whether it’s through increased confidence, discovering a life passion, developing new friendships or strengthening Jewish identity, each experience shapes individuals and collectively creates our Jewish future. And in the spirit of collective change seen year after year, the agency has launched the CAMPaign for Change. 

This summer, campers and staff participated in programming about the Jewish tradition of tzedakah and decorated their own tzedakah “bus” boxes. Now home from camp, they are collecting change from their families, friends and neighbors to fill their boxes. All contributions will support camper scholarships to help ensure that every child, regardless of financial ability, can spend a life-changing summer at Tamarack Camps.

By participating in the CAMPaign for Change, campers and staff will see how the funds they give and collect can make a difference, and when combined with the collective efforts of others, how those funds help build their camp community. 

Approximately one-third of Tamarack campers are unaffiliated. Their camp experience provides a strong connection to the Jewish community and exposes them to Jewish life. The CAMPaign for Change aims to strengthen young people’s relationship to Judaism through experiencing and embracing tzedakah and the importance of sharing, volunteering and giving back.

Talia Ossipove and Julie Marks
Talia Ossipove and Julie Marks

Talia Ossipove, a Grosberg Ruach/Robinson Pioneer camper, has taken this lesson one step further. After another incredible summer, Talia wanted to give back to Tamarack Camps for her mitzvah project, saying, “I chose to raise money for CAMPaign for Change because Tamarack is my home away from home, and I want other kids to have the same great experience.”

Her mother, Julie Marks, said she has seen the positive impact of Talia’s summers at camp. “I cherish the lifelong friendships, new skills and memories Talia has made over the years at Tamarack Camps,” she said. “I can’t imagine a better experience. Every child should have the opportunity to attend Tamarack Camps, and we are hoping to help make that possible.”

How can you get involved? 

Support Tamarack campers and staff as they collect change for collective change (the CAMPaign’s tagline). If approached by campers and staff with tzedakah “bus” boxes, please give to support camper scholarships and help reinforce the important lessons of giving and sharing. 

How to Help

You can help fill your own tzedakah box. To request a tzedakah box, contact Lori Davidson-Mertz at Tamarack Camps: 248-227-7889 or lmertz@tamarackcamps.com.

If you have loose change or dollars to donate (or if you have already filled your tzedakah box), you can visit the Tamarack Camps city office, located at 6735 Telegraph Road, Suite #380, Bloomfield Hills, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon-3 p.m. for drop off.  

To learn more or to make a CAMPaign gift online, visit www.tamarackcamps.com/change. 

Help spread the word! Tell your friends, families and neighbors why you’ve joined the CAMPaign for Change and encourage them to join you. Post a picture or video on social media to share your story. 

The CAMPaign for Change will end with a special culmination event on Sunday, Oct. 10. Please save the date and join us.

Lori Davidson-Mertz is director of annual giving at Tamarack Camps.

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