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  1. #MyJCCStory North Bay girl using The Maccabi Games to connect with Jewish identity

    MyJCCStory


    North Bay girl using The Maccabi Games to connect with Jewish identity

    Mia Playing soccerWhen most girls look back on their bat mitzvah celebrations they will remember their party with friends or a portion of learning they nailed in a speech or in front of the Torah.


    For Mia Cochran from North Bay, however, deciding what to do to mark her Bat Mitzvah wasn’t as easy. Her two older brothers had bar mitzvahs – one in Israel and one in the local North Bay synagogue. But, Mia wasn’t sure either of those options was right for her.


    While her brothers played football in high school, she is considered the jock of the family. So, when the opportunity came along to participate in the JCC Maccabi Games, she knew this was it – THIS was going to be the way she marked her Bat Mitzvah and formal connection to the Jewish community. At 15 years old, Mia will be going to the JCC Maccabi Games in Florida as part of the girls soccer team Toronto delegation. She will be traveling with a new network of Jewish teammates and staying with a local Jewish family in Florida. Her parents, Irit and Rob, will be flying down to cheer her on.


    Mia’s ambitions including playing soccer in university and is hoping her talents will be noticed by members of the sporting community at the Games. 


    What they will surely see is a midfield and defense player that is a fast runner, patient, driven and skilled at reading the game. They will also notice her light-heartedness and joy of playing, often with a huge smile across her face.


    Mia has been playing soccer for as long as her father can remember. Currently, she is playing with the North Bay Rep team and she is part of the Northern Soccer Academy (Centre of Excellence). This year, she took the ref course and currently is a referee for North Bay Women’s Soccer and Youth Soccer leagues.


    There is no doubt she is exceptional and will be noticed for her sports prowess and, no less, for her unique way of building her Jewish identity.


    Mazal tov Mia Cochran on this amazing milestone! May you continue to go from strength to strength.


    Learn more about JCC Maccabi Games

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  2. #MyJCCStory: Meet Marty Leaf

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    #MyJCCStory:
    Meet Marty Leaf


    For some, camp is a summer escape. But for Marty Leaf, it’s his passion.

    Marty isn’t a man of many words but his character speaks volumes as he walks down the corridors of JCC.

    Marty is a resident of Reena, a home in Thornhill for individuals with developmental disabilities. He grew up going to The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp and declares it his second home.

    “I love it,” exclaims Marty.

    During the summer, Marty is often the first person you’ll see in the morning. His smiling face greets campers at drop off and this happy nature is enough to let you know your child is in good hands.

    Marty is a true mentor figure and friend, evidenced by the onslaught of kids that run up to him for a hug or a good laugh.

    He keeps old cabin photos in his backpack to show campers and share memories of the years when he too was a camper at this same camp. The nostalgia and excitement that these photos evoke remind him why he continues to reach out and connect with new people.

    Marty’s been coming to the JCC for almost 19 years now and enjoys every second. His warm-hearted approach and gentle nature make him one of the most popular figures at camp and his loyalty, passion and involvement won him the prestigious Dan Shulman Community Volunteer Award last year.

    As a camp volunteer, he participates in a variety of activities such as swimming, dance, drama and sports. It’s almost as though he’s reliving his own childhood through the work he does.

    Marty Leaf’s JCC story is about building a sense of belonging and developing relationships that transcend decades.



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  3. My JCC Story: Kayla Daniels

    My JCC Story



    Ten years ago Kayla Daniels was referred by JF&CS to The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp to, in her words, “develop who I am and make new friends”.

    Kayla’s story is just one of the many success stories that come from community collaboration and outreach. It is also testament to the notion that when we give, we actually get more in return.

    An amazing inspiration to her fellow staff and campers, Kayla is now in her fourth year as a counsellor. As a camper, she developed strong friendships that she believes helped her achieve personal success and navigate tough times. In addition to making new friends, camp also helped her reconnect with old friends broadening her support network.

    Kayla says one of the reasons she likes being a counsellor is the ability for her to give back to campers the skills, support and confidence that she received once herself.

    Her understanding and appreciation of Jewish and Israeli culture is also something she credits Centre Camp with, and something that she makes sure to pay forward. “You come to camp to have fun, but I’ve learned a lot from camp about the Jewish culture,” says Kayla. “This helps me figure out who I am and as I grow up this still shapes me.” Her first time hearing the Israeli anthem, Hatikvah, was in camp as well as many Shabbat songs and activities. Each time she is inspired, she brings that information and joy home to share with her family, especially her younger sister who is now also a Centre Camp camper.

    What is Kayla Daniels’ JCC Story? It’s the message of connection, friendship, support and giving back.



    Kayla Daniels

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