1. Don’t tell your children horror stories about camp!
Sharing your negative experiences with your child only increases their anxiety. Instead of horror stories, share the great times you at the lake, playing sports, or making lots of new friends. Remember to advise relatives and friends to share their positive stories as well.
2. Night Time Rituals
If your child has a bedtime ritual that involves you, now is a great time to begin to create a routine they can do by themselves. Not only will this help your child at camp, but it will show your child that he/she can be independent and in control.
3. Communicate Wisely
Be sure to write letters/emails often. Ask lots of questions. Stay clear of telling them all the fun you’re having (without them), how miserable you are without them, or other news that may upset them.
4. Personal Hygiene
Basic daily living skills and good personal hygiene are critical at camp. We at camp will help strengthen and reinforce these skills, but you can help them by practicing beforehand.
5. No Deals!
Because we love our children and want to ease their (and our own) anxiety, we may be tempted to make ‘deals’ that might have a negative impact on their success at camp. The truth is that most children have a tough day or so when they first come to camp (returning campers can also experience this), but settle in once they get used to the camp routine. Your children will hold you (and us) to these ‘deals’ and we may be powerless to help!
6. Be a Role Model!
Help your child be successful by encouraging them (and relatives/friends) to follow the camp rules. Please leave cell phones at home. Also, please send mail and packages without food. We will find it and donate it locally. Parents who break camp rules reinforce to campers that breaking rules is okay.
7. Help us help your child to be successful!
Finally, you trust us with your wonderful children. Please also trust us with important information that may affect their time at camp (sick relative, death of a pet, relocation, divorce, etc.). We will treat this information with respect, and it will ensure a successful camp experience for your child. We have excellent camp professionals that include a Social Work Intern who are trained and skilled in helping children cope with challenges.
At a young age our lives revolved around what was happening at the St. Louis JCC. It didn’t matter if it was attending Camp Baer or Sports Camp during the summer or joining the basketball league or playing pool in the game room — we wanted to be at “The J.” We started attending Camp Sabra in 1988 (Mitch) and 1990 (Sean) and never looked back.
After our camper years ended, it was an easy decision to start working at camp so we could give the same experience to our campers that we got from our counselors. Those years as campers and then as staff molded us into the people we are today. Most importantly, it put us both on a path to become educators, and to eventually become full-time camp professionals. As camp directors for Pinemere Camp in Philadelphia and Camp Wise in Cleveland, we take pride in providing an exceptional Jewish experience to hundreds of campers and staff each summer that fosters individual growth, a sense of community, and a connection to their own Judaism.
Ever since I can remember, all of my summer memories took place at the Toronto JCCs. I started attending The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp at the age of three, and as I grew older, I began working as a seasonal camp staff member, gaining valuable life skills along the way. I immediately knew that I wanted to give other children the same opportunity that I had, which is why my transition into a full-time JCC camp director was a natural fit. Providing other children with a meaningful Jewish camp experience and further developing strong and confident future leaders in our community has been an incredibly fulfilling experience.
Over the years, camp has not only given me the opportunity to create lasting friendships and meaningful relationships, but also it has led me to my bashert, Danielle, who I now call my wife. JCC day camp has shaped who I am and who I want to become, and it will continue to always hold a special place in my heart.
I love being a part of a community where so many people are determined to make something better. Sometimes it’s the really big events, sometimes it’s the incredibly small moments. Through music, humor, a few words of wisdom, an act of kindness, pursuing a new adventure or simply being included.
I’ve always been impressed by the power of our opportunity to enrich a child’s life in a JCC overnight camp. We are uniquely positioned to create an array of exhilarating adventures amidst exceptional facilities, supervised by extraordinary young adult leaders who innately care for & nurture each child while weaving culturally Jewish values into every experience. Infusing k’vod (respect) into the way kids relate to one another during an intense basketball game or when watching a bunkmate perform on stage, ruach (spirit & enthusiasm) into a medley of songs on Shabbat, or initiating mitzvot (a good deed or act of kindness) in between water skiing or ascending a ropes course is not contrived but rather a very natural expression of who we choose to be.
I am a camp director because it fills me with pride and lets me serve the community with honor and love. My job is to enrich the lives of our campers and their families. I am constantly inspired to deliver positive experiences for kids. My favorite parts of the camp day include greeting campers as they arrive at camp, watching their progress in the pool, and hearing them sing songs every morning. I can measure the impact of our work when campers return as camp counselors, taking the opportunity to make an impact of the next generation of campers.
I have a great job in a wonderful community, and memories that will last a lifetime.
"Hosting Shlichim during the summers remains a wonderful experience for our family. Each year we meet dynamic and fascinating young Israelis with whom we maintain contact long after the summer has gone. Our kids are the greatest beneficiaries of the experience, finding in the Shlichim individuals who they come to regard as older siblings. It is an event we look forward to every year with good reason and plan on continuing for years to come."
- Soberman Family, The Jack and Pat Kay Centre Camp, Prosserman JCC
Connecting with Israel
“Although it was so new, Israel brought upon me a familiar sense of belonging much like what I feel at Camp Chi every summer. The ability to be in a place where one feels so free and proud to be a Jew is a feeling that makes me so proud to be involved in my Jewish heritage.”
- Joshua Krawitz, 17, Camp Chi, JCC Chicago