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 campnewman@urj.org.

 

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 (campnewman@urj.org) 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.

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 KPress@urj.org. Please note: All conversations regarding financial aid and scholarships are kept confidential.

 

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