Summer Camp FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Don’t see your questions here? Please contact Kim Press, registrar, at 415.392.7080 or via email at


Camp Newman’s 2018 Home at Cal Maritime


How will this summer be different from previous summers?

For the last 70 years, Camp Newman and its predecessor camps have helped thousands of campers and staff feel at home and included in a community of Reform Jews. This summer will only be different in that our camp will take place in a different home other than our Santa Rosa home.

Campers will still be accompanied to meals and activities by stellar counselors. Our community will still gather every Friday night and sit together, a sea of white Shabbat clothes, and have counselors lift tallitot over campers’ heads and pray for a sukkat shalom, a shelter of peace. Campers will learn independence and self-confidence by taking care of their own living spaces and experiencing a wide array of activities. Every group will still put their arms around one another each night before singing siyum, Camp Newman’s special and unique bedtime shema.

We will also have an opportunity to take advantage of the wonderful offerings of our summer 2018 home: an Olympic-size pool, a beautifully manicured and outfitted professional soccer field, breathtaking views of the water throughout, an incredible indoor beach volleyball court, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, new inspiring spaces for our prayer services, and so much more.

Though we will all miss the buildings and sacred spaces of our beloved home in Santa Rosa, where many of us have created memories over the years, our unique and strong community will build new ones this summer, just like every summer we’ve spent as a camp for 70 years.

Tell me about URJ Camp Newman at Cal Maritime.

URJ Camp Newman operates on the campus of California State University Maritime Academy. Nestled along the shores of the sparkling Carquinez Straits of the San Francisco Bay, Cal Maritime is the ideal setting for a summer camp – with superb facilities, grounds, dining service, and views. Our dorms, dining hall, programming spaces, and athletic fields are all within a few minutes’ walk from one another, creating an environment that is both safe and accessible for children of all ages.

Cal Maritime is located in an accessible yet private location. The campus is completely surrounded by northern California hills and beautiful shoreline. There is no through traffic, so campers will be surrounded only by the scenic trees and water.

Facilities at Cal Maritime include:

–          Modern dorms

–          Central dorm lounge

–          LEED certified dining hall

–          Indoor and outdoor programming spaces for services, song sessions, and other activities

–          Olympic-sized swimming pool

–          Expansive professional athletic field

–          Indoor sand beach volleyball court

–          Multiple waterfront lawns, benches, walkways, seating areas and fire pit

–          Outdoor tennis & basketball courts

–          Indoor basketball court

The campus is located about an hour from both the Oakland International Airport (OAK) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

How big is Cal Maritime? Will it house our entire community?

Camp Newman at Cal Maritime is a large campus capable of housing nearly as many campers as our Santa Rosa home. Camp Newman runs seven sessions of programs for campers entering grades 3 through 11, plus Avodah and CIT (our 8-week long teen sessions). Our new home will continue to have a full team of medical, educational, and inclusion (Nefesh) faculty on campus as well as our counselors, support staff, senior staff, and directors.

What is security like at Cal Maritime?

Safety and security are always our number one concern and priority at camp. Fortunately, because we are using a school for our summer home, Cal Maritime already uses many of the same safety and precautionary measures that we do.

The only people who use the campus during camp are Cal Maritime administrative staff, which includes a small group of student workers, and Camp Newman campers and staff. Cal Maritime has its own police force who regularly patrol the grounds and whose police station is located at the entrance. All dorms require special keys that only Camp Newman staff and Cal Maritime administration will have access to.

In addition, Camp Newman’s extensive and thorough emergency plan is fully adapted to the Cal Maritime campus to insure the full safety and security of our community. This includes a thorough plan in case of natural weather-related emergencies and collaboration with not just Cal Maritime’s police but the Vallejo Police Department and fire brigade, just as we have always had at our Santa Rosa home.

Is Camp Newman the only group on Cal Maritime this summer?

Yes. Camp Newman is the only group using Cal Maritime’s facilities for the entire summer. Their student population is away during the summer.

Tell me about the Infirmary.

Our infirmary, or mirpa’ah, is housed in one of our residence halls. Our medical team consists of warm and caring licensed medical professionals at all times, the majority of whom have served as medical faculty at Camp Newman for many years. We hold regular pill calls after meals as well as specified times for ill campers to see a doctor or nurse. Our infirmary is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and runs in accordance with the standards set forth by the American Camping Association (ACA).

Can I visit Cal Maritime before the summer?

Yes! We’re excited to welcome you to campus for a day in May (date TBA) so you can see all of the wonderful facilities available to us. We’ll offer fun activities for the whole family as well as a chance to see our summer 2018 home in person.

How was Cal Maritime selected as Camp Newman’s summer 2018 home?

Our professional team worked diligently to select a summer home that offered the appropriate housing, activity spaces, and dining facilities for our community. Cal Maritime is a place where staff could envision everything that makes Camp Newman a home, such as places to toss Frisbees, swim and play sports, classrooms and adjustable learning spaces to teach new art skills, and spaces to host Shabbat services for hundreds of people every Friday night.

Tell me about the food and dining facilities.

Cal Maritime’s chadar ochel (dining hall) is a state-of-the-art and spacious dining facility with tables overlooking gorgeous views of the San Francisco Bay. Food is prepared and served by Cal Maritime’s professional dining staff, who are experienced serving hundreds of students delicious meals on a daily basis, all year long. Featuring multiple lines and food stations for quicker service, we offer a large and varied salad bar and multiple food choices for kids throughout their two, four, or eight-week session with us. Campers attend meals by session and sit in designated locations on one of three floors of the facility.

Are accommodations made for campers who are vegetarian, kosher, gluten-free, allergic, etc.?

Of course! Cal Maritime’s dining team has extensive experience with helping students and faculty with specific dietary needs. They even have a helpful system of displaying on TV monitors what daily food selections are vegetarian or gluten free. All meals are served kosher style, and there is always vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Campers with specific allergies are given direct and individual accommodations and support. Campers and staff who eat only kosher meat always have vegetarian options available and/or fish entrees, when served. We and the Cal Maritime dining team are committed to doing our absolute best to work with you on any specific food needs.

Will the scholarship process be the same as last year?

Our community is helping to make camp more affordable than ever. We have lots of discounts and scholarships available:

  • Early bird discount of $200 off!
  • First-time camper grants of up to $1,000 off! PLUS: Additional $200 off for 2-week sessions and $300 off for 4-week sessions.
  • Second-year camper incentive grants of up to $300 off!
  • Small Communities Grant of $300 for 1st time campers
  • Multi-session discount of $250 off
  • Sibling discounts: $100 for second camper, $150 for each additional sibling
  • Unlimited congregation scholarship match

For more details on all of our discounts, grants and scholarships, visit our Making Camp Affordable page.

While Your Child Is at Camp

Where will my camper sleep? Where will staff sleep? How are cabins going to be arranged?

Campers live in single-gendered halls in one of three dormitories with one roommate along with in-residence counselors (check out this virtual tour of two dorm rooms). While this housing style is new to Camp Newman, it’s how many of our URJ Specialty Camps, like 6 Points Sports in Los Angeles (see photos below!), accommodate their campers. Within each hall, campers are clustered into cabin groups based on age and session. Counselors’ rooms are interspersed among their campers’ rooms. We are pleased to offer the same excellent high staff to camper ratios as always.

Rooms will be nestled together into “cabin groups,” similar to the cabin structure and supervision model used at our Santa Rosa home. Counselors are in residence to supervise, mentor, and engage their campers throughout the day, while in their tzrifim (cabins) or at activities.

All campers can request a roommate. We do our best to honor roommate requests and make the best roommate pairings possible.

Each day, campers clean their personal living space, with the help of their counselors. Professional cleaning crews clean bathrooms daily and other public spaces (lounges, hallways, etc.) on a regular weekly basis.

How do you plan on creating community in cabin groups?

Similar to previous summers, we begin community-building the second campers arrive. On the first day of camp, campers receive name tags designed to match their cabin group’s name and theme. They are then led to a space where they play getting-to-know-you games while they await for their entire group to arrive. Then, campers are led to their rooms, where they discover that their doors are decorated with posters displaying their group’s theme, their name and all of their fellow campers’ names. Each night, cabin groups gather to do a closing activity (hashkeivah) and counselors build community through group activities, ice breakers, and teambuilding games throughout the session.

What activities & programs will be offered?

Just like in previous summers, Camp Newman offers an extensive selection of activities and programs. For our general camp sessions, campers have the opportunity to participate daily in activities such as basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball (new!), track and field (new!), ultimate frisbee, arts and crafts, specialty art programs (to be determined based on staff), drama, music, guitar instruction, archery, and a variety of other fun and exciting options.

Campers have the opportunity to perform in talent shows, roast marshmallows over a campfire, and even sleep under the stars at our on-campus tent camping site.

Where will Shabbat services be held? Where will daily services be held?

Shabbat services are held on our new main campus area, Cal Maritime’s quad, overlooking the Bay. Daily services are held all around camp and some days include options and alternative formats like yoga, drum circle tefilah (service), sidewalk chalk tefilah, musical tefilah, etc.

Is Cal Maritime a Jewish space?

Jewish spaces are simply places in which Jewish activities happen. While Cal Maritime is a public university and not inherently a Jewish space, this summer, our community has the opportunity to create our own Jewish sacred space by singing songs in Hebrew, reciting blessings together, participating in daily tefilah, singing our nighttime siyum (Camp Newman’s bedtime Shema), creating a kehilah kedoshah (a holy community), enacting Jewish values daily, and living our lives based around Jewish time with Shabbat as the centerpiece to our weeks together.

Through naming, signage, and art, we will also transform our new home into a uniquely Jewish and familiar space during the summer. For instance, our Dining Hall is called the Chadar Ochel, our infirmary the Mirpa’ah, etc.

As a community, we will create our Jewish space at Cal Maritime just as we do each summer at our Santa Rosa home.

How does camp accommodate special needs?

Camp Newman’s mission is to inspire a love of Judaism and we do so through a Philosophy of CARE. The C stands for Community, kehilah kedoshah, creating a holy community. The A is for Acceptance, v’ahavtah l’reiecha kaomcha, love your neighbor as yourself. The R stands for Role Modeling, aseih lecha rav, find for yourself a teacher, make for yourself a friend. Finally, the E is for Each and Every One, b’tzelem Elohim, each of us are created in the image of God meaning that each person at camp has a specific set of needs, wants, feelings, hopes, and dreams. We treat each other with kavod, respect, and try to live our CARE Philosophy each and every day.

Camp Newman is an open and inclusive camp. In order to best serve all community members, we work individually with families of campers with any kind of special needs. We ask that if your child has not yet participated in any of our programs, please reach out to us ( to speak with a director to determine whether Camp Newman is the appropriate camp for your child.

What if my child experiences homesickness or other mental health issues?

Camp Newman’s mission is to inspire a love of Judaism and we do so through a Philosophy of CARE. The C stands for Community, kehilah kedoshah, creating a holy community. The A is for Acceptance, v’ahavtah l’reiecha kaomcha, love your neighbor as yourself. The R stands for Role Modeling, aseih lecha rav, find for yourself a teacher, make for yourself a friend. Finally, the E is for Each and Every One, b’tzelem Elohim, each of us are created in the image of God meaning that each person at camp has a specific set of needs, wants, feelings, hopes, and dreams. We treat each other with kavod, respect, and try to live our CARE Philosophy each and every day.

We are proud to offer our campers and staff the services of our Nefesh program. In Hebrew, Nefesh means “soul” and primarily, our Nefesh staff are available to help any campers or staff with any issues of the mind and soul and help all of camp be as inclusive as possible. We always have one Nefesh coordinator, two Nefesh staff members, and two Nefesh faculty members (professionals in mental health fields) on campus.

Who works at Camp Newman and what is the summer staff selection process like?

Our in-cabin staff are aged 18-24, with the majority between the ages of 19-21. Many of our domestic staff members grew up at Camp Newman and went through our programs, including CIT (counselor in training). We search for staff who are mature, compassionate, inclusive, engaging, enthusiastic, positive role models who are excited about working with children of all ages.

Staff seeking to work at camp, whether or not they have grown up at Camp Newman, go through a rigorous selection process including an interview with a director, multiple reference checks, and a background check.

Camp Newman is also proud to work with the Jewish Agency in Israel to bring a number of Israeli staff members in a variety of roles to camp each summer. These Jewish young adults are committed to engaging with the American Reform Jewish community about what it means to grow up in the Jewish state of Israel. They bring a unique perspective to our community and help campers form connections to Israel through meaningful relationships.

What other adults work at URJ Camp Newman?

We pride ourselves in not only hiring top-notch cabin staff but also a community of paid and volunteer adult staff who help enrich our community throughout the summer. This includes nurses and doctors on our infirmary staff, Nefesh faculty, artists-in-residence working with programs like Hagigah, and our educators, cantors, and rabbis from URJ congregations. For example, when a child at camp is homesick and sees a clergy member from her synagogue, she is able to feel safe and secure in a connection to their outside home life.

Unlike many other camps, we engage these adult communities throughout the year to help us plan everything from our educational and tefilah (prayer) programs to the way we will welcome campers on opening day, and figuring out the best way to offer pill call on a daily basis. These adults form an important foundation of our camp staff and community.

Camp Newman also has a large professional team of directors who mostly live onsite in the summer in order to create the absolute best experience possible for all campers.

Medical F.A.Q.

General Information

The main mission of the camp Health Center (Mirpa’ah) is to ensure health and safety of the individual campers and the entire camp community while maximizing camper participation. The Mirpa’ah at Camp Newman is open from 8:30 am to 9:30 pm and staffed with a volunteer team of 1-2 doctors and 3-4 additional staff, including nurses and medical assistants. If an emergency arises after 9:30 pm, our on-call medical staff is always available.

The Mirpa’ah is a first aid station and triage center. Most minor illnesses or injuries can be handled at camp. In addition, self-serve First Aid Stations will be set up in several strategic locations around Camp. Occasionally, we need to take a child to an outside facility for further consultation. Campers needing care outside of camp are always accompanied by a member of the medical team, and their parents are informed.

On the 1st day of camp, all campers attend an orientation regarding general health and safety at camp. Topics include hand washing, no sharing food/drink, daytime sunscreen use, evening and hike insect repellant use, healthy eating, need for sleep and rest, increased fluid requirements while participating in activities.

Why do you require updated online forms each year? What does camp do with these forms?

These online forms give us current information on your child. The Mirpa’ah is staffed by medical volunteers and often the only history available on your child is what you provide yearly. These forms also give permission to take your child to a hospital or an outside appointment in the unlikely event it is needed while your child is at camp. We also need your consent to treat your child, to administer daily or as-needed medication, or to assess and treat your child in the Mirpa’ah.

Due to limited storage at Camp, no paper forms will be accepted. Parents are responsible for uploading all camper forms by the deadline.

Why does Camp Newman require these vaccinations?

Camp Newman abides by the CDC recommended immunization schedule and the American Academy of Pediatrics. A link to the CDC schedule can be found here: With campers and staff sleeping in close quarters, as well as a constant flow of campers and staff from all over the world, there is an increased risk of communicable diseases and specific conditions, such as meningococcal meningitis and hepatitis A. We take this policy very seriously for the protection of our entire camp community. The Camp volunteer medical staff starts reviewing medical forms mid-May.

If your camper’s immunization status is incomplete based upon the CDC schedule (linked above), you may get a phone call a week or less prior to your camper’s arrival requiring your camper to receive additional vaccines. It is your responsibility to adhere to this policy and ensure your camper’s vaccines are up to date. If they are not, you will be required to get your child’s missing vaccine(s) prior to their arrival to camp.

My child has special conditions, allergies, needs.

Please include all instructions with your child’s online medical forms and, if applicable, with their medications. We can accommodate most issues, both dietary and medical. Comprehensive information is vital so that we can properly take care of your child. If your child has a condition requiring special assistance or accommodations, please contact Camp directly and one of our medical staff members will be in touch with you.

My child takes prescription medication. How do I send it to camp?

Nearly half of our campers take some sort of daily medication. For summer 2018, we are requesting only FDA-approved medication to treat asthma, allergies, seizures, and mental health conditions be sent. No vitamins or homeopathic medication will be accepted. According to the California Nurse Practice Act, all medications taken on a daily basis must be in the original packaging/bottle and clearly labeled with camper name, session, dosage, and time of day it is taken. Do not send loose medications in baggies or other receptacles other than the original medication packaging.

Medications are given at breakfast and dinner only. Any other arrangements need to be made in advance. All labeled medications must remain in original containers, be placed in a clear zip-lock bag with camper name and session, and be given to Bus Captains, the Airport arrival team, or at camp in-person check-in.

What about over the counter (OTC) medications?

We stock Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen in liquid, chewable and pill form. We also stock allergy, cold and cough, and digestive medications.  Please do not send these OTC medications for occasional or as-needed use by your camper. Any OTC medications sent with campers for occasional or as-needed use will become part of camp’s Mirpa’ah stock and will not be sent home.

However, if your child takes OTC medications on a daily basis, please send enough to cover the days of your camper’s session. All medications taken on a daily basis must be in the original packaging and clearly labeled with your camper’s name, session, dosage, and time of day it is taken. Please make sure to note these medications on your camper’s health form.

What about other types of medications?

  • Only prescription and FDA-approved OTC medications will be given. Homeopathic remedies, vitamins, fluoride, and naturopathic supplements are not administered at camp.
  • All campers using rescue inhalers are encouraged to keep one with them at all times; a backup will be stored in the Mirpa’ah.
  • All topical medications such as acne and eczema creams should be kept in the camper cabin.
  • Allergy nasal sprays may also be kept with your camper in cabin.
  • Steroid (controller) inhalers may be kept with campers, but it is suggested they be given with pill call to insure daily administration to prevent asthma exacerbation.
  • Epi-pens will be kept with camper/counselor.

What happens to the medications I send with my child?

All medications are collected and delivered to the medical staff, who logs in the medication by camper name and session. Medications are then put into a labeled container for each camper by session and distributed to campers at breakfast and dinner only. Any unused medication will be returned when the camper’s session ends, with the exception of as-needed OTC medications as described above.

How is the medication given to my child?

Medications are given with breakfast and dinner.  Prior to the end of each meal, an announcement is made for “Pill Call.” Campers taking medication line up and our medical staff distributes the medications to each camper.  A detailed log of campers and medications is initialed by the medical staff as the medication is given.

What if my child doesn’t come to Pill Call?

Before the campers are released from the dining hall, the medical staff compiles a list of campers who have not received their medication and those campers are called, by name, to come get their medication. If your camper is unable to remember to take meds consistently, we work with the counselor to make sure the camper gets their medications.

What if my child needs a refill of their medications?

Refills for meds may be filled by parents and sent directly to the Mirpa’ah, or refill requests can be called into a Camp-approved pharmacy for pick up by our Mirpa’ah staff. Parents are responsible for the cost of these medications.

My child has specific allergies and/or adverse drug reactions.

This should be noted on your child’s medical forms. These conditions are logged into our confidential medical files and referred to prior to any treatment of your child.

What happens at camp when my child doesn’t feel well?

The first contact is with the child’s counselor, who is trained to evaluate the need for a visit to the Mirpa’ah. If a counselor determines that a camper needs to see a nurse or doctor, the counselor brings the camper to the Mirpa’ah, and a history and examination occur just like at a regular healthcare provider office visit. Prior to any treatment, the health provider reviews the camper health history and special needs. Counselors are involved in the plan of care to ensure that all medical instructions are followed. Campers are always encouraged to return if a condition worsens or doesn’t resolve.

What if my child has a fever?

If your child has a temperature above 100.5, an overnight stay in our Mirpa’ah is required. You will be notified within 24 hours of your camper’s Mirpa’ah stay if this happens. If the temperature is less than 100.4, a child may be just overheated, and only needs a short rest and some water. They will be observed for a short period and reevaluated. If campers stay in the Mirpa’ah for fatigue (called R&R-rest and relaxation), parents are not routinely called.

Due to limited space at Camp, parents of campers who have a temperature over 101.5 for more than 6-8 hours may be requested to take their camper home for several days for recovery.

What about a child with an illness requiring antibiotics, like strep throat or conjunctivitis (pink eye)?

If a child presents an illness requiring antibiotics, we are required to keep them isolated for a minimum of 24 hours. We have several rooms set up for overnight visitors, and our staff makes sure to keep them comfortable and fed. Parents are contacted if the camper needs to spend the night in the Mirpa’ah and if prescription medications are ordered. The child’s insurance will be used to pay for prescriptions and camp will cover the deductible.

What if my child has lice?

Please check your camper for lice prior to coming to camp. If you find lice, please treat lice before arrival.

All campers are checked for lice upon arrival to Camp. Each opening day, we hire a few lice-removal professionals to help with checking campers. If your child is found with lice, they will immediately be discreetly treated by one of these professionals, under the supervision of our Mirpa’ah staff. This allows for our campers to join their session as quickly as possible and removes stigma from the process. It may be necessary to isolate your child for a brief period. Note: We have professionals on site as a fail-safe to ensure that our camp is lice-free. This should not be used in lieu of checking and treating your child for lice prior to camp. The lice removal process takes a few hours and is not the way they (or we!) want to spend their first few hours at camp.

If lice is found after opening day, their entire cabin will be checked and treatment will be given as needed.

What if my camper gets a tick bite?

During camper orientation, all campers and counselors are instructed to wear insect repellant, long-sleeved clothing during hikes, and check for ticks during pool and/or shower time. If a camper has a tick that is embedded into the skin, the tick is removed by Mirpa’ah staff and parents will be notified. Parents can determine if they want the tick sent home with their camper and should contact their local health department regarding options for tick testing. If the test is positive for Lyme disease, parents can request treatment started based upon current CDC recommendations.

What if my child has an illness or injury that requires an off-site visit?

If your child needs to have more advanced medical care, X-rays, lab tests, an orthodontic visit, etc., a medical team member will be assigned to accompany your child for the off-site visit and remain with them for the entire time your child is offsite. We will make every effort to contact you prior to your child leaving camp. If an outside service is necessary for treatment, cost will be the responsibility of the camper’s/family’s insurance.

When do we call parents?

Parents are routinely called only for the following circumstances:

  • For clarification on medications or health conditions
  • If a camper must spend the night in the Mirpa’ah.
  • If a camper must be taken out of camp for higher level of care, this includes x-rays, stitches, dental care, urgent care, etc.
  • If a camper requires additional prescription medication (antibiotics for infection/steroids for poison oak).
  • If a camper has repeated visits to the Mirpa’ah.

What can I do as a parent to make my child’s time at camp more successful?

Please spend time with your camper reviewing basic health and safety guidelines:

  • Discourage sharing food or drinks
  • Encourage good hand washing
  • Wear sunscreen during the day and insect repellant in the evening
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily
  • Drink lots of water to prevent constipation
  • Adhere to the footwear policy: Wear closed-toed shoes or sandals with an ankle strap
  • Encourage good sleep and nutrition to ensure healthy and happy campers
  • Remind them of the extra care they should take while being in a new place, especially near water and with many stairs.


Discounts & Financial Aid


Do you have discounts, grants or financial aid available?

Our community is helping to make camp more affordable than ever. We have lots of discounts and scholarships available:

  • Early bird discount of $200 off!
  • First-time camper grants of up to $1,000 off! PLUS: Additional $200 off for 2-week sessions and $300 off for 4-week sessions.
  • Second-year camper incentive grants of up to $300 off!
  • Small Communities Grant of $300 for 1st time campers
  • Multi-session discount of $250 off
  • Sibling discounts: $100 for second camper, $150 for each additional sibling
  • Unlimited congregation scholarship match

For more details on all of our discounts, grants and scholarships, visit our Making Camp Affordable page.

How do I get a discount or financial aid?

First and foremost, please don’t let financial concerns keep you from applying for camp! We understand that for many families, covering the cost of camp can be a challenge, so we are committed to working with you to help find a way for your child to attend.  Please visit our “Make Camp Affordable” section. If you have any questions, please contact Kim Press, Camp Registrar, at (415) 392-7080 or Please note: All conversations regarding financial aid and scholarships are kept confidential.


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