At the request of National Hadassah, Camp Young Judaea Midwest was established in 1969 by Miriam Soboroff (Chicago) and Betty Bienstock (Detroit), representing the Hadassah Zionist Youth Commissions of the Midwest. It was established to be the summer expression of the national Zionist Youth Movement, Young Judaea, for children ages 8-14.
During its first two years of existence (1969 and 1970), it was called “Camp Judaea.” There was no camp in 1971 and 1972 because of issues related to finding a location to rent; but, when it came back into existence in 1973, it was called “Camp Young Judaea” and has remained as such ever since.
For its first twenty-one years of existence, CYJ Midwest rented campsites in Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin. In 1990, the CYJ Midwest Camp Committee purchased the former Camp Waupaca for Boys in Waupaca, Wisconsin, making it our permanent home. This beautiful site, situated on Lake Stratton, is 80+ acres surrounded by trees, nature trails, and protected wetlands, and it remains our home to this day.
The realization of so many successful summers is, in no small part, a result of our long history of talented Camp Directors. Our Camp Directors have been outstanding leaders, coming primarily from the Young Judaea movement. They have instilled in our youth a love of Israel, Judaism, and Zionism and grown our camp to over 200 campers today.
In partnership with our Camp Directors, a Camp Committee made up of dedicated volunteers representing the regions and big chapters of Hadassah in the Midwest, has worked to ensure the existence and growth of CYJ Midwest since its start. In 2006, the “Camp Committee” became the “CYJ Midwest Board of Directors” and invited alumni, camper parents, and other committed individuals to join in the work of supporting CYJ Midwest into the future.