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CAMP HISTORY

We've done great things in the past.
Today, we're doing great things for the future.


On July 17, 1950, fifty-eight children, age 6 to 12, assembled for the inaugural summer of MJCC Day Camp, only 9 months after the Charter of Incorporation from the state of Tennessee had been signed to establish the Memphis Jewish Community Center. The first year of day camp at the MJCC was quite different than the carefully scheduled operation that exists today. However, the Center Day Camp received community-wide recognition early in its career. In 1955 varied organizations such as the Memphis Park Commission, Christian Brothers College, and Ridgeway Country Club all consulted with the MJCC about their recreation and day camp programs.

But never as the MJCC’s expertise in camping has such a dramatic and far-reaching effect in the community as the summer of 1968. Following the death of Martin Luther King, JR., there was much concern throughout the city that we were headed for “a long hot summer”. The MJCC’s professional staff at the time went out into the community and pulled together funds and the cooperation of other agencies to form “operation Action”, or Op-Act. Op-Act consisted of three Day Camp Programs located in the poverty areas around the city where twelve hundred children were served five days a week during the summer. The summer of 1968 in Memphis never actually materialized into the long hot nightmare that many has feared, but Op-Act played a vital role in defusing the potential violence and allowing employment to over 300 teenagers during that summer.

The MJCC’s Day Camp program has expanded a great deal in size, depth, and richness over the past 70 years. We have decades of memories created and our Day Camp is now directed by the very children that have attended in years past. We are excited next year to be celebrating out 70th anniversary of MJCC Day Camp!