September 19, 2018

Kid-Approved Camps

With so many Jewish summer camps to choose from, and with Westerners going east and Easterners going west, how does a family choose?

You can talk with campers, parents and camp representatives.

If upstate New York appeals to you, here is one perspective from Ithaca (population, 20,000):

Each camp is different, but here is a list of ones in the area and what some local youths said about their Jewish camp experiences.

Adina, 10, attended Camp Young Judea — Sprout Lake for 3 1/2 weeks:

“My favorite thing about camp is Shabbat Rikud. On Saturday night, when we say goodbye to Shabbat, we do havdalah and then dance for hours. Everyone dances together. If you don’t know the dances, you just follow along and mess up and then you learn them as you go.

“I love Yom Kef (Fun Day). We went to Splashdown, a water park!

“The food at camp was absolutely delicious, on some days. My favorites were the lasagna, pizza, and gooberry mush (sour cream and yogurt and blueberries).

“Some of my bunkmates were from Israel. Some were from cities with a lot of Jews, some from places that don’t have a lot of Jewish people.” — Adina, 10

“Some of my bunkmates were from Israel. Some were from cities with a lot of Jews, some from places that don’t have a lot of Jewish people.”

Zoe, 13, attended Camp Sabra for four weeks:

“The best thing about camp is being with friends, going to the swim dock, tubing, and doing Jewish activities with the whole cabin.

“Camp is awesome!”

Sabine, 11, attended Camp Sabra for four weeks:

“My favorite thing about camp is having fun adventures on the lake. I love the water slide.

“Every day we say the prayers before and after the meals. On Shabbat we dress up and have services.”

Obie, 10, attended Camp Seneca Lake for two weeks:

“One of my favorite things is Movie Night on Saturday night. At camp we get to do hobbies — I like tennis.

“At camp we wake up early and are so tired by the end of the day. But we can sleep in for Shabbat.

“We say the Hebrew prayers at every meal. It’s easy to learn them when you do them every day.

“Camp is crazy and fun.”

Noah, 13, attended Camp Seneca Lake for four weeks:

“I really liked wakeboarding at camp. There is never a dull moment — there are so many activities!

“Each week we take a Shabbat walk, and then have Torah discussions on Shabbat afternoon.

“Camp is exciting.”

Raia, 11, attended Camp Eden Village for one week:

“I like how at camp there are so many different activities for everyone. My favorites are boating and the lake.

“We have Shabbat services outside, with lots of singing.

“At camp, I saw that there are so many ways for people to be Jewish.”

Elijah, 14, attended URJ Camp Eisner Institute for four weeks:

“I’ve been going to the same camp for seven years. The best thing about is it my friends. We all went to each other’s bar mitzvahs.

“I like all the sports and activities.

“We do Jewish learning every day.  It’s just part of every activity.

“I plan on being a junior counselor and then a counselor.”

Stella, 14, attended Camp Ramah for four weeks:

“My time at Jewish summer camp has greatly affected who I am as a person today. I am more confident, outgoing and I can connect with people much easier than I could before.

“Camp is a truly amazing place, where everyone, no matter who they are, can come together and create lasting bonds that you will have for the rest of your life.”