Twenty-six children and siblings of fallen Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers visited the Washington D.C. and Philadelphia areas July 7-21 for an unforgettable experience at Capital Camps and Retreat Center in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, thanks the FIDF LEGACY Program.

The Israeli teens – all of whom have lost a family member who was serving in Israel’s military – bonded with each other and spent two weeks camping with American peers forming lifelong friendships. The Israeli teens, ages 12-14, participated in American camp activities – swimming, archery, rock climbing, and arts and crafts – and in more familiar traditions like Israeli dancing and Jewish learning.

Participants of the FIDF LEGACY Program enjoying the ropes course at Capital Camps and Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA.

FIDF sponsored the camp program, including airfare, travel, accommodations, food, and more. As part of the LEGACY experience, FIDF supporters in the Washington D.C. area hosted the Israeli teens at their homes over Shabbat.

“These children are so brave to have been through so much at such young ages,” said FIDF Washington D.C. Chapter Board Member and 2019 LEGACY Camp Committee Chair Dr. Benjamin Osborne, who hosted three of the children at his home. “We wanted to show these incredible kids how much we appreciate the sacrifices they and their families have made for Israel and Jews everywhere.”

Participants of the FIDF LEGACY Program visit the Rocky Statue in Philadelphia.

Seven counselors who had experienced similar tragedies and two active-duty commanders from the IDF Casualty and Wounded Department accompanied the children to help provide comfort and guidance.

The FIDF LEGACY Program supports thousands of widows, orphans, siblings, and other family members of fallen IDF soldiers through a variety of recreational activities, financial support, and life-cycle celebrations. This year, the FIDF LEGACY Program and Capital Camps also celebrated five years of partnership.

Participants of the FIDF LEGACY Program at Capital Camps and Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to work together with Capital Camps these past five years to give these children unforgettable summers,” said FIDF Mid-Atlantic Executive Director Ari Dallas. “We look forward to continuing this incredible partnership and growing our impact on the lives of these amazing kids.”

Participants of the FIDF LEGACY Program visit Independence Hall in Philadelphia.