This year’s summer programming will take place at the Jewish Community of Amherst (JCA) & The Mill River Recreation Area!
Since 2014, Shemesh has taken place at the Hampshire College campus. There we had access to an indoor space, lots of outdoor green space, and the pool for daily swim. However, over the past several years, our rent from Hampshire has increased significantly (and therefore so have our tuition fees) and the facilities are no longer suitable for our Shemesh environment. As a result we have made a decision to move Shemesh’s home base to the JCA. The things that make Shemesh feel like ‘Shemesh’ will remain in place as they have throughout the history of Shemesh.
In fact, for the last 30+ years, Shemesh has been run out of a variety of home bases. From home backyards to Amherst College to Hampshire College (for 2 separate stretches of time), we have maintained our fundamental framework that allows Shemesh to feel like and be Shemesh no matter where it is. This framework involves the songs, rituals, and activities of summer programming as well as the day to day language and values that are incorporated.
What about swimming and outdoor spaces?
Monday through Thursday students will travel to the Mill River Recreation Area to take advantage of their green spaces, playground, and pool. On Fridays, students will remain at the JCA to participate in challah baking and other special Shabbat activities. We will also offer water play on Friday afternoons at the JCA, including our ever popular inflatable water slide.
Students will also get to engage more fully with the green spaces at the JCA including working in the garden on a daily basis, exploring the wetlands surrounding the JCA property, and taking field trips to places like Amethyst Brook.
Making this change will assure that Shemesh programs have a permanent home that is equipped to provide all the services we need, while freeing up funds to re-invest in high quality staff to provide exceptional summer experiences– All without sacrificing the core components of Shemesh including the culture, community, and activities.
We look forward to sharing another fun summer with you!