Summer Camp

Find the Jewish Summer Camp That’s Right for Your Family

When you are looking for a Jewish summer camp for your kids, the choices can be overwhelming. Many parents begin to wonder if camp really matters. The short answer is yes, camp does matter. Camp is more than bonfires and roasted marshmallows; it provides your children with an experience that they may not get elsewhere.

If you are looking for the perfect Jewish summer camp for your child, here are some tips that can help you narrow down your choices.

1. History

The first thing to look for is a camp that has been active for years. Experts agree that a poorly-run summer camp wouldn’t stay in operation. You can feel safe when you find a camp that has been running every summer for decades.

2. Philosophy

Different Jewish summer camps focus on different things beyond just Judaism. Some cater to overweight children and physical exercise. Others cater to children with special needs. Decide what it is that you are looking for your child to experience, and go from there.

3. Staff-to-Camper Ratio

Find a summer camp with a low staff-to-camper ratio. You want to ensure that your children are supervised adequately. The maximum ratio should be 10 to 1. Anything higher than this and you are running the risk of your child being able to wander off on their own.

4. Choice

Your child will be more comfortable at a camp where they are given at least a little bit of autonomy. Look for a camp that offers a wide variety of activities and allows your child to choose some of the things they will participate in.

5. Accreditation

All children’s summer camps must meet standards set by the state. You should choose a camp that is accredited by the American Camp Association. If a camp that you are interested in lacks this credential, you will need to be more vigilant in doing your homework.

We know that finding a camp can be difficult, but so can affording the experience. We are happy to offer assistance to families who want to send their children to Jewish summer camp. Reach out to our friendly team today to discover more about the ways we can help you.

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How to Save for Jewish Summer Camp

It’s almost winter, meaning that it may seem to you as if next summer a long way off. If you want to send your child to Jewish summer camp, now is a great time to start saving. On average, it costs about $85 per day to send a child to camp, which can make coming up with several hundred dollars difficult for some families. Saving now could mean that your child gets an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise have. Here are six tips for saving.

1. Start Early

Start saving now. Research the costs now and start putting money away. Many camps have savings for early registration, so the sooner you have the money, the more you may save.

2. Look for Aid

Many organizations, such as the Jewish Federation of Atlanta, provide scholarships and aid for camp. Start researching your options now to determine what you will need to do to qualify.

3. Speak with a Financial Advisor

If you don’t qualify for aid, you may still be able to pay for your child’s camp in other ways. A financial instrument like a flexible spending arrangement can help you foot the bill.

4. Think Outside the Box

Look for a camp that may provide day programs at a rate that is more affordable than overnight camps. A local camp may offer day activities that you can pay for without having to sign your child up for a specific amount of time.

5. Remember Extra Expenses

There may be more expenses involved than just the costs of camp enrollment. You may need to purchase supplies for your child. You should also figure in the costs of transportation. Don’t forget these things when determining costs.

6. Consider the Value

Don’t assume that the most expensive camps are the best. Look into what each camp offers and make your decision based on what will give your child the most value for the dollar.

If you are looking for financial aid for Jewish summer camp, reach out to our office. We have financial aid available for families who need assistance.

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How Jewish Summer Camp Turns Children Into Leaders

You may be compiling a list of reasons to send your children to Jewish summer camp instead of choosing another summertime activity. One of the best reasons that experts have offers is the fact that camp builds leadership skills within its attendees. But how?

The development of these skills starts early and can happen in environments that we believe to be the least likely. In fact, it is often during low stress, relaxing, leisure situations that our skills are best developed.

Children who attend Jewish summer camp gain these skills through inspiration. Campers are able to look to counselors and adults who have perfected the art of leadership and emulate their behaviors. Every camper will have the opportunity to help others, either organically or through assignment. This opportunity allows children to feel valuable and encourages them to step up when needed.

Camp activities are designed to teach children how to communicate, how to work as a member of a team, and how to lead that team. Campers will need to understand how to work with one another, and support those who may be struggling, to complete activities. The completion of these activities will give campers confidence in their abilities and newfound leadership skills.

If you are interested in financial aid for Jewish summer camp, please reach out to our office. We know how beneficial summer camp can be to the young mind and we know that you may need assistance to ensure your child has these enriching experiences. We are here to assist you in any way we can. Please call our friendly team for more information.

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How to Know Your Kid Is Ready for Camp

You think your child is ready for Jewish summer camp. You know you are ready for them to go to Jewish summer camp. But how can you be certain that this year is the one? Here are some great rules of thumb to consider before packing your child’s bags.

The first thing to ask yourself is whether or not your child can sleep away from home comfortably. Have they spent the night at a relative’s home? Maybe they have sleepovers with friends. If your child can handle these nights away without incident, it’s a good indicator that they are ready for camp.

The next thing to ask yourself is whether or not your child can swim. Every Jewish summer camp will have its own policies with regards to children in the water, but your little one should be able to swim at least one length of a pool. This will ensure they are able to take part in activities that the camp offers.

Lastly, ask your child if they are ready. While some kids relish the idea of time away from home, others become anxious at the thought. For these little ones, a day camp may be a better option and a way to get used to “camp” life before they take the plunge at an overnight camp.

There is financial aid for Jewish summer camp available. Reach out to the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta for more information on how your child may be able to participate in a camp near you.

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Perfect Birthday Gifts for Your “Year-Round Camper”

For some kids, a week or two of camp every year is more than enough time spent hiking, swimming and being constantly outdoors. But for others, going to Jewish summer camp is simply a supplement to a year-round urge to be in the wilderness. If your child is one who would rather spend their free time blazing new trails in the woods instead of playing video games, here are a few gift ideas for birthdays, Hanukkah and other holidays:

1. High-Quality Boots

Depending on how fast your child is growing and how often they are outdoors, they may outgrow athletic shoes seemingly as soon as you buy them. But for teenagers whose feet are pretty much done growing too much, a pair of high-quality hiking boots could be the perfect gift. Though they will be pricey, the right pair can last for years, even under rigorous conditions.

2. A Telescope

For young kids and teenagers alike, a telescope can make a wonderful gift for those who enjoy camping at night. They can be a bit complicated to set up, but once you have it figured out, telescopes are the gift that keep on giving. After all, there are few sights more beautiful than seeing a full moon in high magnification! Best of all, you can find great telescopes to fit nearly any budget and age level.

3. A Mountain Bike

Though hiking different trails is an invigorating experience, taking to the the path on a mountain bike is even more fun. Even if your kid isn’t a hiker, a mountain bike offers far more opportunities than, say, a road bike. Riders can go through fields, trails and other unpaved areas with ease. Just be sure to get the appropriate size bike — and helmet — for your bicyclist!

4. A Compass

While it may seem like a small gift, a high-quality compass can be the perfect addition to any outdoorsy kid’s gear. When children learn the skill of orienteering at a young age, they can feel more confident in unfamiliar territory when they get older. Plus, being able to use a compass effectively is becoming a lost art, so having that talent is definitely worth showing off!

Though your kids can use these gifts year-round, many of them will definitely be handy at summer camp. If you want to send your child to camp, but can’t afford it, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more about the financial resources we offer for Jewish summer camp.

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Why Disconnecting from Tech Is Good for Kids

It’s no secret that our world is more connected than ever before. Between your phone, your laptop, your tablet and your TV, there isn’t much you miss these days. Chances are, your kids are just as connected. Even if they don’t have the same arsenal of screens as you, they probably rely on technology for everything from entertainment to education.

While a more connected world certainly has its benefits, it also has its drawbacks. It probably isn’t realistic to completely disconnect your kids from technology all summer long, but attending camp can provide a welcome reprieve. Here’s why disconnecting from tech for a week or two is good for kids:

1. Create Instead of Consume

When your kids are constantly connected to technology, there is little reason for them to be creative. At camp, the option to simply sit back and consume media all day isn’t available. As such, kids have to be more creative. Further, interacting with nature has been shown to boost problem-solving skills. Often, this newfound creativity comes back with campers, even when they are able to resume their normal level of media consumption.

2. Breaking Down Screen Barriers

Often, we use technology to (sometimes subconsciously) avoid talking to people in real life. And if you’re doing this, there’s a good chance your kids are, too. When you send them to camp, there is no smartphone barrier between them and their cabin-mates. Camp allows for your kids to make meaningful and often lifelong connections with fellow campers. Further, studies have shown that spending time in nature without technology helps kids become more social.

3. Disconnect to Reconnect with the Spirit

At Jewish summer camp, many activities revolve around ruach. The Spirit is always around us, but experiencing it is often hindered by the screen in front of us. Camp allows kids to reconnect with nature, the Jewish community and other aspects of ruach in a meaningful way while they have the summer of their lives. This reconnection is not only brought home right after camp, but often has lifelong effects.

Jewish summer camp is an experience every child should be able to experience. Yet, affording camp is often the greatest barrier. If you need financial assistance for summer camp, the Atlanta Jewish Federation can help. Contact us today to learn more about our financial resources for Jewish summer camp.

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