A record number of participants representing the worldwide Bnei Akiva movement are attending camps this summer in countries around the world.

According to a July 5 announcement made by the movement, no less than 15,000 youth-group members are taking part in summer camps in 16 different nations during the eight weeks of summer vacation. Among them are members active in the youth group during the year who return to the camps year after year, high school students in 11th and 12th grades, and young children in kindergarten and elementary school who are not yet active in the movement.

Among the many places the camps take place are Australia, Italy, Brazil, Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, France, Israel and the United States.

The oldest and largest camp is Camp Moshava in Pennsylvania, which began in 1935, and carries on its traditions annually with an impressive 1,300 participants and 400 staff members.

Summer camps are one of the highlights of the youth movement’s activities, with this year’s theme concentrating on Israel’s 70th anniversary.

Roi Abecassis, director of the World Bnei Akiva movement, noted that “in contrast to the pessimism currently characterizing the discourse regarding the future of Jews in the Diaspora and their connection to Israel and Judaism, our summer camps are dispersed throughout the world as dots of light and hope.”

He continued, saying “in our camps, we can witness how, contrary to the mistaken impression, the next generation of Diaspora Jews is still connected to Israel and Jewish values, and is happy to disconnect from the computer and smartphone for two months in order to engage in a values-based experiential activity.”