How to Pick a Jewish Sleepaway Camp

Advice for how to navigate the plethora of Jewish sleepaway camp options.

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How does the camp ensure campers’ safety and security?

How are behavioral and disciplinary problems handled?

What is the camp’s technology policy?

Does the camp offer transportation to and/or from camp?

What is the minimum age of the counselors? What kind of staff training is provided?

Facilities and programming:

Is there a swimming pool or lake?

Are showers/bathrooms in the cabins or in another building?

Is the daily schedule very structured, or does it emphasize elective and individual choices?

What type of instructional swim program is offered? Is it required?

What other instructional or specialty programs are offered?

What types of programs and facilities are available in the event of bad weather?

How does the camp program meet individual needs and differences?

Food and medical:

What types of food are offered? Can allergies or other dietary needs be accommodated? 

Is the kitchen kosher?

How does the camp handle individual medical needs? What medical facilities are nearby?

Some nice things to know:

If your child has never been to a Jewish overnight camp before, they may be eligible for a need-blind One Happy Camper grant of up to $1000. Learn how.

Many camps offer early registration incentives or sibling discounts, and scholarships may be available from your camp, synagogue, or other Jewish organizations. Visit www.JewishCamp.org/camper-scholarships and contact your local synagogue or federation for additional information.

Families in the Northeast, New England, and Mid-Atlantic regions may be eligible for BunkConnect TM, a pilot program that matches income-eligible families with high-quality nonprofit Jewish summer camps.

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Alicia Zimbalist

Alicia Zimbalist is the senior manager, external communications at the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC). After directing public relations work for several companies in the private sector, Alicia followed her dream and brought her professional expertise to the nonprofit world. She joined the FJC team in 2009 to manage public relations efforts as well as support the Foundation?s advocacy and internal relations work. A native New Yorker, Alicia lives in Manhattan with her husband, Ross, and son, Sam.