Staenberg-Loup JCC’s Ranch Camp and Camp Shai Receive Funding to Advance Mental Health

Camps will participate in Yedid Nefesh initiative to support mental health for campers

Denver, CO., December, 2022 – The Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) recently selected two camps run by the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center (JCC Denver), JCC Ranch Camp and Camp Shai, to participate in a ground-breaking initiative to enhance the mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health (MESSH) of its camp community. Kicking off this winter, the third cohort of the Yedid Nefesh initiative will receive extensive financial and educational resources as well as access to a community of over nearly 100 Jewish day and overnight camps across North America that are taking a multi-faceted approach to mental health.

“JCC Ranch Camp is a place for campers to connect to nature, their community, and the natural world,” said Ryan Bocchino, director of JCC Ranch Camp. “It’s a place where campers are challenged to defy their personal limits and define who they are in the world. It’s a home for people who take care of each other, want to connect to their spiritual or religious identity, and want to make the world a better place.”

As part of the third cohort of FJC’s Yedid Nefesh program, JCC Ranch Camp and Camp Shai will receive up to $36,500 in direct funding over the course of four years. These funds will be used to hire a qualified mental health professional, provide enhanced counselor training, establish proactive wellness activity areas, and develop tools to destigmatize mental health in their broader community. The JCC Denver is currently seeking a mental health professional to fill this role. Interested applicants should send an email to for more information. FJC’s Yedid Nefesh initiative is generously funded by The Marcus Foundation.

“By investing in embedded and sustainable MESSH support systems, JCC Ranch Camp and Camp Shai are creating a healthy space for campers and young staff to engage in self-discovery, strengthen their sense of resiliency, and flex interpersonal skills – all while benefiting from the sense of belonging and Jewish community that they are known for,” said Jill Goldstein Smith, senior program manager and Yedid Nefesh project lead at FJC.

Applications for summer camp 2023 are currently open for JCC Ranch Camp, and registration for Camp Shai opens in January. For more information and to register visit

About JCC Ranch Camp
JCC Ranch Camp offers overnight camp experiences for kids in grades one through 11. The camp is located in Elbert, Colo. and sits on 380-acres in the Black Forest. Each night campers sleep in cozy cabins after a full day of activities including hiking, biking, a top-notch equestrian program, climbing and zip-line at the challenge course, swimming, arts and crafts, sports, and many others. At Ranch Camp, lifelong friendships are born, identities are discovered and youth are challenged to grow in mind, body, and spirit in a vibrant Jewish community. The facility is available for off-season rentals for business retreats, weddings, and other life events. To learn more, watch the Ranch Camp video at For more information, visit, call 303.648.3800 and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @JCCRanchCamp.

About Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center
Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2022, the Staenberg – Loup Jewish Community Center (JCC Denver) serves the metro-Denver area through educational, social, cultural, fitness, sports, and other programs that are rooted in Jewish values. The JCC Denver’s mission is to create a vibrant and inclusive family and social gathering place, guided by these timeless Jewish values. The JCC Denver’s five program areas focus on connection, community, and well-being, and include: a robust fitness, sports, tennis, and aquatic center; early childhood engagement, including the Early Learning School and a variety of programs for families; the Mizel Arts and Culture Center which offers the Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies & Music Festival (JAAMM Fest), Denver Jewish Film Festival, and ReelAbilities Film Festival; summer camps including Ranch Camp and Camp Shai; and engagement programming for teens, young adults, seniors, and the LGBTQIA+ community. The JCC Denver is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located at 350 S. Dahlia Street in Denver. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook and Instagram @jccdenver or call 303.399.2660.

About Foundation for Jewish Camp
Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC) fosters excellence and accelerates innovation at Jewish camps across North America by developing adaptive talent, deepening immersive learning experiences, and driving field growth. FJC supports camps in their effort to provide a lifelong connection to Judaism and elevates Jewish camp on the cultural and philanthropic agenda. For more information, visit

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They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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