Jared Henoch/Hartley Mendelsohn

By MYRON LOVE

For Jared Henoch, being appointed the new executive director of Bnai Brith Camp is the ultimate dream job. In his younger years –as camper, counselor and program head, he missed only two summers at the camp when he was out of the province.

 

 

Henoch was hired for his new position at the beginning of January, replacing Brenda Tessler Donen, who retired after more than 25 years as BB Camp’s leader. Her successor is well aware of Tessler-Donen’s many contributions to the growth and success of the camp in her many roles as counselor, section head, and executive director over the years.
“Brenda and I recently had lunch together,” Henoch says. “She has left the camp with a strong foundation.”


It has been a long and winding road for Henoch back to BB Camp. In fact, he has been away from Winnipeg for almost 30 years. He originally left here in the early 1990s to pursue secondary education at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.
“I went to Thunder Bay because Lakehead University has a degree program in Outdoor Education,” he explains. (He also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.)
After Thunder Bay, he travelled on to Calgary where he continued his education and, following graduation, went to work in business development for the City of Calgary and the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. He was in Calgary for 10 years. It was in Calgary where he met his wife, Mary, and started his own family.
Twelve years ago, the family moved to Edmonton to be closer to Mary’s parents.
In Edmonton, he worked in a variety of positions, including at a wilderness school for troubled youth, a young offenders camp (where he rose to become program manager), BB Camp at Pine Lake, Alberta, and at the Edmonton International Airport, where he was a passenger experience advisor. For the last few years in Edmonton, he had been self-employed, providing team-building exercises and training for camp staff and other organizations.
“It was beshert that I should come back to BB Camp,” he says. “It feels like being back home when I return to Town Island.”


BB Camp registration is just getting under way, Henoch reports. “We are expecting to meet and possibly exceed previous enrollment numbers,” he says.
And signing up staff is continuing apace.
“I intend to focus on the basics,” the new director says. “I want us always to be doing the best we can.
“The big difference is that I will be overseeing a lot more training and developing, mentoring and risk management. I want to build on what is already in place and take it to the next level wherever possible.”
Henoch also speaks about creating a more inclusive environment for differentl-abled and LGBT young people.
He reports that Family Weekend – which is always a big draw – is scheduled for June 14-16.
He encourages potential campers to apply earlier rather than later as space is limited. To register, Phone: 204 477-7512 or go online at bbcamp.ca.
* * * * *
Winnipeg Hillel flourishing under new leadership
On the weekend of February 1-3, over 60 students from the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg came together at Lakeview Resorts at Hecla for the fourth annual Shabbat Unplugged leadership retreat. The students enjoyed three days of Shabbat camaraderie, including Dvar Torahs, presentations from representatives of the Canada-Israel Experience Birthright program, StandWithUs Canada and CJPAC (The Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee). There were many opportunities to engage in wide-ranging discussions about Jewish identity, Israel and more.
“We were all happy with how the weekend turned out,” says Hartley Mendelsohn, Winnipeg’s relatively new Hillel director. “We also want to acknowledge the support of the Asper Foundation which helped subsidize some of the students who otherwise may not have been able to afford to attend.”
Shabbat Unplugged is one of several successful programs that Mendelsohn has organized over the past few months. “We had over 70 students at our first social event – a meet-and-greet which was sponsored by Fort Garry Brewing,” he reports. “We have had several other Brews with Jews programs and Shabbat suppers. We had CIJA’s Steve MacDonald speak here. And, in November, we partnered with the JNF to bring (Israeli Paralympic Gold Medal winner) Noam Gershony to Winnipeg. “We have close to 400 Jewish students on our lists.”


The Toronto-born Mendelsohn has been in Winnipeg for close to two years. The 2014 graduate of St. Catherine’s University in Brock, Ontario (he also has a marketing degree from Seneca College in Toronto) has a history of Jewish community leadership. He was a founding president of AEP, the Jewish fraternity at St. Catherine’s. He has been a leader on Birthright trips and has been involved with the Canada-Israel Experience program for some years.
Mendelsohn originally came to Winnipeg to take charge of the Combined Jewish Appeal’s Young Adult and Budding Philanthropist Division. He assumed responsibility for Hillel last summer.
He notes that one of his goals as Hillel director is to develop more student leaders who will themselves take a larger role in developing and leading programming.
Mendelsohn is also the contact person here for the Birthright program. Birthright organizes and subsidizes yearly get-acquainted visits to Israel for young adults – aged 18-32. Last year, he reports, more than 70 younger adults from Winnipeg signed on for Birthright. This year, he says, for the first time, there will be one bus specifically designated for western Canadian participants.
The next 10-day Birthright trip, he advises, leaves on May 1.
“The earlier you apply, the better,” he adds.
Mendelsohn can be reached at 204 477-7407 (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).