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JOLT: National Jewish Outdoor Leadership Training

Join JOLT 2017!
May 25 – May 29

Camp Tawonga and Get, Set, Go! Community Adventures are proud to present the National Jewish Outdoor Leadership Training Program (JOLT) for nature staff across the country — now in its third year!

JOLT is a five-day educational course focusing on outdoor camping and travel trip safety, teva (nature) learning and fun outdoor Jewish education. This training is designed for outdoor camping and travel staff, as well as for teva (nature) staff working at Jewish camps across North America that offer programs in wilderness adventure travel, travel in urban areas, day trips, overnight camping, and in-camp nature programs.


Training Overview

JOLT is a hands-on, experiential course covering best practices in the following areas:

  •      Jewish Nature Education: incorporating Jewish ritual, practice, learning and values into nature activities and environmental education
  •       Safety: Pro-active risk management and emergency response
  •       Group-Building Activities: How to bring a group together, team-building and supporting children and groups in the outdoors
  •       Outdoor Leadership: trip-leading skills, camp-outs, food preparation away from camp and “Leave No Trace” ethics of environmental stewardship

JOLT participants leave with an extensive manual and activity resources to bring back home, and a plan for how to apply the week’s learning toward their unique camp environments and cultures.

Click here to see a sample itinerary from one day at JOLT.

Sierra Mountain Locationtawonga

JOLT will be hosted at Camp Tawonga, located in the beautiful Sierra Mountains just outside of Yosemite National Park onthe Tuolumne River. Camp Tawonga’s unique site provides unparalleled opportunities for integrating nature content into Jewish camp programming. The program will begin on the way to camp from the San Francisco Bay Area, as we showcase best practices in travel and tripping programs.

Program Leaders 


Deborah Newbrun
JOLT co-founder, Deborah Newbrun brings over 30 years of experience in outdoor education, wilderness travel, and Jewish nature programming to bear on her lessons. She was Tawonga’s past Director for 25 years and established the largest Jewish wilderness department in the country. She currently teaches, mentors and coaches camp directors of Jewish camps across North America. Deborah is also co­author of Spirit in Nature: Teaching Judaism and Ecology on the Trail .

beccaBecca Meyer
Becca is Camp Tawonga’s Camp Director and a co-founder of JOLT. Prior to joining the full-time staff at Tawonga in 2007, Becca worked as a Staffing Director at Camp Walt Whitman, a private camp in New Hampshire, and served on the Steering Committee of the Emerging Professionals in Camping organization. Becca has coached girls’ lacrosse for 10 years and received a Double-Goal Coach Award from the Positive Coaching Alliance. Her passions include backpacking, trail running, birding, and being outdoors. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and two children. Her favorite Tawonga values are “The children always come first” and “Kaizen: continuous improvement.”

mylaMyla Marks
Myla Marks is Camp Tawonga’s Director of Wilderness Programs. She loves the outdoors, especially swimming in Sierra Mountain lakes. Myla brings over a decade of experience teaching outdoor education, guiding youth on wilderness trips and building capacity for outdoor programs. She has worked in Sierra Club’s Outings Department, the High Mountain Institute, Big City Mountaineers and in Camp Tawonga’s Wilderness Department.


Registration and Fees

JOLT is for adults 18 and over from May 25 to May 29, 2017.
Tuition is $565 per participant (including transportation from the airport).

At this time, you can reserve your spot in JOLT 2017 with a $50 deposit. Please email [email protected] if interested.



“This training utilized unique methods and incredible ways to relate Judaism to the natural world.”
Andrew Rosenberg, Camp Alonim / JOLT 2016 Participant

“This  institute educated outdoor leaders to spark the wonder of nature in children’s eyes.”
Michael Scherpenberg, Emma Kaufmann Camp  / JOLT 2016 Participant

“JOLT is rooted in an understanding that teaching young people an appreciation and love for nature is the future they need to protect.”
Geora Zadok, Capital Camps  / JOLT 2016 Participant

“Before coming to JOLT I could not see a clear connection between Judaism and nature, but after just a couple of hours I could see and feel the deep connection. I came to JOLT knowing that I was going to be an overnight trip counselor, but now I’m leaving JOLT as an overnight trip and Jewish values counselor.”
Noga Chetrit, Camp Interlaken  / JOLT 2015 Participant

“The Jewish Outdoor Leadership Training experience was transformational for our staff member and there was a direct, positive impact at Perlman Camp this past summer.  Our staff member not only learned skills, he internalized how to authentically weave Jewish values into the outdoor programming at camp.  Perlman Camp’s outdoor adventure survey scores were all up from the previous year and this is definitely due to our participation in JOLT.​”​
Stefan Teodosic, Executive Director, Beber and Perlman Camps  / JOLT 2015

“Sending our TEVA supervisor to the JOLT training was the perfect decision for our camp program. The training allowed our supervisor not only develop stronger skills, but to create a network with other camp professionals. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”​
Sean Morgan, Associate Director, Tamarack Camps  / JOLT 2015


JOLT Pressreadhere

Check out this article about JOLT by co-founder and former Tawonga Executive Director, Deborah Newbrun: “Filling a Gap: New Program is Training Jewish Outdoor Leaders” from eJewish Philanthropy.



For any questions, please reach Myla Marks at (415) 543-2267 or [email protected]
We hope to welcome you or your staff to JOLT 2017!