My daughter, Sloane, and I rotate between indoor and outdoor activities in between my meetings, calls, and writing. We’ve been sticking mostly to online classes, Netflix, making slime, scooter rides around the neighborhood, and splashes in the sprinkler.
So, when I saw that my organization, CJP, and JCC Greater Boston were partnering around a “summer in a box” initiative, I jumped at the chance to try something new. I registered online for the free box (with local pickup in Peabody) and made the suggested $18 donation to JCC Greater Boston’s Sustainability Fund.
The minute we got home, Sloane and I dove into the box, which was cleverly labeled as a “C.A.R.E. (Create. Act. Respect. Empower.) Crate.” It was filled with six crafts, all rooted in the Jewish values of caring and friendship.
While Sloane reached for the DIY mosaic bird bath, I read the C.A.R.E. Crate booklet, which explained how each project connects to various Jewish values, including kindness toward animals, being good to the earth, friendship, and taking care of our bodies. (There’s also an accompanying website with step-by-step tutorial videos on each project!) I was super impressed with how each activity was clearly explained and tied back to a core tenet of Judaism. It made me smile.
Within minutes, Sloane got started on decorating the bird bath and painting the kindness rocks. Both projects eventually found a home in the fairy garden in our front yard. I am saving the other projects to do with her when we’re in need of some screen-free activities. (I know other parents can relate!)
The idea for the C.A.R.E. Crate came about as summer camps began to cancel their 2020 season. CJP wanted to help children (and their parents) maintain a connection to the Jewish community. Working with partners, CJP developed Bost(ON)Summer, a three-pronged plan to support families this summer: the C.A.R.E. Crates, the Bost(ON)Summer website, and socially distanced family events.
In June, CJP, the JCC, and JewishBoston.com launched the Bost(ON)Summer site, a one-stop shop for all things summer fun. The website connects families with virtual programs, online camps, and lots of resources to keep kids busy and happy. Later this summer, CJP is planning to fund some socially distanced family events run by Jewish overnight camps and other partner agencies.
“We thought about how we can show up for families in a real way during this different summer,” said my colleague Adam Smith, CJP’s associate vice president for young adult and teen engagement. “It was important for us to show that being part of a Jewish community means being there to support community members when times are hard.”
CJP and JCC Greater Boston produced 500 C.A.R.E. Crates and they all sold out. A second round is planned for the fall to continue to help families do meaningful Jewish activities together at home.
Sloane was all in on the C.A.R.E. Crate and offered “a high-five for a cool idea.”
“I was excited to get the box,” she said. “The bird bath stuck out the most to me. I miss camp but the C.A.R.E. Crate made me feel like I have my own little camp at home.”