‘Hot Times’ camp has something for everyone

Phil Liebson’s philosophy is that there’s a great camp out there for every child.

Entering his first summer as the camp director at the Washington Jewish Community Center (JCC), Liebson is looking forward to continuing to establish relationships and make new connections with the children he interacts with daily.

Phil Liebson began his new position at the center in the fall of 2010. He is excited to share the news that this year, “Hot Times in the City” will offer LEGO camp. Students spend half the day with the building blocks, learning aspects of engineering and the other participating in camp activities such as swimming, art and more.

A typical camp day includes a drop-off between 7:45 and 9 a.m. followed by a 9:15 a.m. open circle session. Open circle involves announcements and an overview of the events and theme of the day. Mid-morning, students break out into sessions like the new LEGO program, music and art, arts and crafts or swimming.

After lunch, elective activities are offered. “In the past, we’ve offered karate, newspaper making and more,” Liebson said. “Our staff works hard to give the children a quality lesson.”

The camp typically ends at 3:30 p.m. but there is an extended-day option for students whose parents work later.

“We try to utilize as much of D.C. as we can,” Liebson said. “Many students who attend our camp end up becoming staffers themselves.”

One of “Hot Times in the City’s” biggest sellers is word of mouth. Liebson also makes stops at area schools, PTA meetings and synagogues. He also tries to stop by the many of the area college and universities’ Hillel programs.

Although the program admits as many as 70 students at a time, Liebson said it never feels overcrowded inside the JCC. “Unless they’re all here for a Friday barbecue lunch or something like that, many are either touring National Geographic, at a Nationals game, or exploring the city in some way or another,” he said.

Liebson reiterated that there is a great camp out there for every child. “If your son or daughter doesn’t like the woods, don’t send them there,” he said. “Make sure the activities are something they enjoy.”

“Hot Times in the City” offers a 10 percent off early bird discount if you pay camp fees in full by April 8. The camp is a full 10-week program for students.