Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t see your question answered below, please feel free to contact us!
If You Are a First-Time Parent or Camper, click here!
If your child is going to be attending a year-round event or summer camp for the very first time, we’ve created a guide that answers all (or nearly all!) your questions. Click here to read the guide now!
Registration & Other Camp Info
How long are the sessions?
We offer multiple session options, each designed to meet the needs of your camper’s age group. We offer:
- 26 sessions available throughout the summer at Camp Newman in Santa Rosa. Choose from 11, 13, 15, 26 or 27 day programs!
- Two NEW teen sessions: Nisayon (an outdoor skills expedition) and Kochavim (a theater arts experience)
- Two full-summer experiences (57 days) for entering 11th graders (Avodah) and entering 12th graders (CIT).
Is there financial aid or scholarships available to attend camp?
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. Many Jewish organizations offer scholarships, often called camperships. For detailed information on what resources are available, what is needed to qualify, and who to contact, 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.
What if I need to cancel my registration?
There is a cancellation fee of $300 for each application cancelled before April 11th. There are no refunds after April 11th. Please email the camp office before April 11th at 415-392-7080 if you wish to cancel. Cancellations must be made in writing, not by phone.
How do I make bunk requests for my child?
To make a request, parents may submit up to two requests on the Parent Questionnaire mailed to you in the spring. You may only request children who are in the same session as your child. We make every effort to ensure that each camper is granted their first request. Please know that the bunk assignments we make are done so in the best interest of all campers.
Are there any camp reunions or informational sessions near me?
Yes there are! Throughout the year, Camp Newman visits congregations from all over the Western United States to talk about camp and reunite with our community. Please speak with your congregation to find out when we will be stopping by and make sure to come wearing your camp t-shirt! If you don’t have one, you can buy one at our Camp Store.
How do you select and train your staff?
At Camp Newman, we take a great deal of pride in hiring only the very best, most competent and energetic people to serve as part of our camp team. Our staff, who are comprised of college, graduate and rabbinical students, as well as professionals in various fields, provide a stable and caring home for campers all summer long. While many have grown up at Camp Newman, others join us from across the country and around the world – all bringing their own special gifts to share.
We provide an extensive training program at the start of the summer season that is ongoing throughout the summer. Staff are also supervised and evaluated during the summer by members of our camp leadership team, all of whom have proven experience overseeing staff.
During the summer, we hire enough staff to maintain a 1:4 staff-to-camper ratio. If you are interested in applying or know of someone who would be a great fit for our team, please visit our Staff Application page!
Preparing for Camp
How can I best prepare my child for their first camp experience?
First, visit our First-Time Parent and Camper Guide for answers to all your questions!
If your child is a first time camper, it’s important to take some time to prepare them for their camp experience. Be sure to talk to your child about camp and discuss any concerns he or she may have. Tell them how excited you are for them to attend camp and how wonderful of an experience they will have. Refrain from using language that implies that you will have a hard time with them at camp. Keep all conversations positive and how excited you are for them.
We want your child to feel supported and nurtured the entire time they are at camp. So feel free to contact us if there are issues you would like to discuss further with us.
How can I get a Camp Newman t-shirt for my child?
Every camper will receive a Camp Newman T-shirt on the last day of their camp experience. If you can’t wait until then, we encourage you to check out our online Camp Store!
Packing for Camp
What should I pack for my child?
Clothes for camp should be durable, inexpensive and informal. Warm weather clothing and rain gear are essential. The only time campers “dress up” (wearing white) is Friday nights for Shabbat.
For this year’s Packing List, click here. Our Camper and Parent Manual (which will be on our website in early 2017) also outlines in detail what one should pack for camp. Please DO NOT pack items that carry sentimental value to you, your camper or your family since many things inevitably get lost.
What should I NOT send with my child to camp?
Candy and outside food are not allowed at camp, and expensive clothing and items that are valuable or sentimental are all best left at home. Electronics such as cell phones, computers, TVs, DVD/Video players, as well as hotpots, kettles, electric appliances, candles, matches, and knives are all strictly forbidden at camp and will be confiscated. iPods, PSPs, expensive cameras, and all other electronic devices should be left at home as well. Cheap or disposable cameras (labeled with your child’s first and last name) are preferable. For a more complete list, please refer to the Camper and Parent Manual (available online here).
Will my child need money at camp?
No. Nothing is sold at camp so we strongly discourage bringing money to camp. Camp takes no responsibility for money that is lost or stolen.
Will my child need any special equipment from home?
During the course of the session, your child will have many opportunities to learn and develop new skills. In almost all cases, the camp supplies the necessary equipment and supplies to participate. In particular instances where your child is seeking mastery of an activity, he or she may desire their own special equipment; please be selective, and remember that the Camp is not responsible for loss or damage of personal items.
What is a typical day like at camp?
For frequently asked questions related to our counselor in training program, click here.
While Your Child Is at Camp
What is a typical day like at camp?
Our campers experience many activity areas either as a whole session or as cabin groups. Campers will also have the opportunity to sign up at camp for an activity that meets for multiple days as well as trying a new activity during another block each day. Our goal is to provide a well-balanced program for each child. See our Activities & Fun page for a list of all the options! Every camper gets to experience tons of fun things at OKY (our sustainable farm) and Adventure Mountain where you’ll find our zip line, climbing wall, climbing tower, and ropes courses.
Where will my child live?
Our cabin types vary based upon the grade and gender of our campers. Most male cabins house 6-8 campers with 1-2 staff members. Most of our female cabins house 10-12 campers with 2-3 staff members. All top bunks are equipped with bed rails and every camper is assigned a set of cubbies for storing personal items. All cabins have bathrooms in the cabin.
How many campers are in each cabin? How many staff?
On average, each male cabin has 6-8 campers and each female cabin has 10-12 campers. Every male cabin has at least one staff member in the cabin. Every male cabin is connected to another cabin and we average three staff members between the two cabins. Our female cabins have two staff members in every cabin and an average of five staff members between the connecting cabins. Specialty staff help supervise in each cabin and share in the staff responsibilities of the cabin.
How are cabin placements made?
Cabin assignments are made on the basis of school grade and/or geographic distribution. We do our very best to honor all requests made, and will honor at least one mutually matching bunk request.
How do you deal with homesickness?
All staff are trained to soothe campers with homesickness. Many staff members grew up at camp and remember what it is like to be away from home and missing family and friends. If cabin counselors need support with a homesickness issue, unit heads and our Nefesh team (a team devoted solely to working on any camper care issues throughout the whole summer) have many resources to share.
In general, we do not allow campers to call home as speaking to parents can sometimes make homesickness worse. For the same reason, we do not allow parents to visit campers during sessions (unless otherwise noted for older sessions like Hagigah, Hevrah, Avodah, and CIT).
If you think your camper may experience homesickness, we find that it often helps if you give them a letter or memento that they can bring to camp that reminds them of you.
What happens if my child gets sick while at camp?
It is our hope that every camper will remain healthy and fully able to participate in every aspect of camp life all summer long. Just in case, though, Camp Newman has a range of systems in place to manage health care issues that may arise.
The Camp’s infirmary (called the Mirpa’ah) is modern, well-equipped with first aid supplies, and well staffed. Camp always has a doctor and nursing staff available on staff 24/7 and throughout the summer. Our medical staff also dispenses medications four times per day. Camp is located 20 minutes from two hospitals in case of emergencies. The Medical Form that you fill out as part of your camp application is all we need to take great care of your child while at camp.
Do you offer b’nai mitzvah tutoring?
Bar and bat mitzvah tutoring is available at no extra fee to assist campers in their preparations. To those who request it, we provide tutoring 2-3 times a week for approximately 30 minutes, depending on the session schedule, with one of our faculty rabbis, educators, or cantors.
The purpose of b’nai mitzvah tutoring at camp is to maintain your camper’s progress; we are unable to help campers learn new parts of their torah or haftorah, or prayers for their simcha. It is your camper’s responsibility to study materials during their free time at camp.
Make sure your child packs all the paper materials they need to study such as torah portions, trope symbols/worksheets, and prayers. If your child requires audio in order to study, you must send an MP3 or personal CD player to camp. Camp does not assume any responsibility for items that are lost, stolen, or broken while at camp. Affordable MP3 players and personal CD players can be purchased online for less than $30. Note: B’nai mitzvah tutoring is only available to campers with a bar or bat mitzvah before December 15, 2017.
If your child’s b’nai mitzvah is scheduled for a date soon after their camp session ends, please make sure they have learned their material before arriving at camp or have sufficient time after their camp session ends to finish preparing.
How will my child's laundry get done?
Camp laundry is only available for our campers enrolled in sessions that are 26 days or more. Those campers will have laundry service approximately half way through the program. CIT and Avodah will have laundry done four times over the course of the summer. The camp fee includes laundry.
My child is a picky eater, what kind of menu items does camp offer?
Our menu is wide ranging and nutritious. We serve everything from hamburgers, pasta, chicken, sandwiches, and grilled cheese. Every lunch and dinner includes a salad bar. A vegetarian option is also available for those who indicate such food restrictions on their camp medical form. We also have fruit available at every meal and throughout the day. Campers can also make their own sandwich at any time at our peanut butter & jelly station, which is located separately from the main food to keep those with nut allergies safe. To get a taste of what we serve, visit our Health & Nutrition page!
Will my child get to choose the activities he/she wants to participate in?
Our campers move through the different activity areas either as a whole session or as cabin groups. Our goal is to provide a well-balanced program for each child. Your camper will have the opportunity to sign up at camp for two activities that they will experience for multiple days. But they’ll also have opportunities to try other activities too. See our Activities & Fun page for a list of all the options! And every camper gets to experience tons of fun things to do at OKY, our sustainable farm, and Adventure Mountain.
What if my child's birthday occurs at camp?
Not to worry! If your child has a birthday that occurs during camp session, we celebrate it. It’s not only a treat for the camper, but a lot of fun for everyone. Ever had a birthday party with 500 friends in attendance? Please do not send food of any kind for your child’s birthday. We acknowledge birthdays both on the day, and as a full camp community every Saturday evening.
Can my family visit during the summer?
We invite all parents to come on the opening/arrival and closing/departure days of the session when we offer Camp Tours. Furthermore, many congregations are invited to celebrate Shabbat at camp over the course of the summer. Please contact your local synagogue to encourage a “Shabbat at Camp” visit. If you would like to schedule a visit or see our facilities prior to the summer season, please come to our Open House in April.
Families who have campers in CIT, Avodah, Hagigah and Hevrah are invited to attend special events related to those sessions. For more details and dates, please visit our Summer Visitors page.
Can my child leave camp?
Campers cannot leave camp at any time without the permission of the Camp Director. Arrangements are made at the discretion of the Director for special circumstances such as family weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs.
Contacting & Visiting Camp
Is there any way my family can visit camp before the summer?
Absolutely! Every year there are several options to come and view our facilities or experience camp. We invite you to come for our annual Open House in April.
If you would like your camper to experience a “taste of camp” before coming for the summer, be sure to check out our weekend retreats, such as Fall Camp, Winter Camp, Spring Camp, West Coast Party and West Coast Party, Jr.! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
How long does it take to drive to camp from the San Francisco (SFO) and Oakland Airports?
Camp is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from both the San Francisco and Oakland Airports.
How can I keep in contact with my camper?
Every Friday, check your email for our weekly eblast, which includes all of the important things that went on during the week. This includes videos, photos, updates, and links to blog posts. If you only read one thing from camp, we suggest reading our eblasts!
To subscribe to our eblasts, click here!
It is very important for both campers and parents to send and receive mail. We urge you and your camper to write to each other regularly. Mail time is always an exciting time at camp. Your camper may be disappointed if they do not hear from you!
- For campers sending letters to friends & family: Stamps, envelopes, paper, and pens are NOT sold at camp. It is sometimes easier for younger children to write home if they are equipped with pre-addressed and stamped envelopes or postcards. Please be sure to send the necessary supplies of envelopes, paper, pens, and stamps with your child!
- For parents, friends & family sending letters to campers: Please address all mail as follows (& remember to include your return address!): Campers Name, Session Name and Session Number, URJ Camp Newman, 4088 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa CA 95404-9613. If you can’t recall what session name/number your camper is, click here to find it. Remember: Please do not pack food or candy. It will be confiscated!
Emails & Photos
To send an email to your camper or view up-to-date photos of each session, log in to your CampInTouch account, the same system you used to register for camp. We will send instructions prior to each session. Please note that emails you send through CampInTouch will be printed every day at 10am and handed out at the following lunch time (except for during Shabbat on Saturday).
Campers cannot use the phone or receive phone calls or faxes. Parents cannot call their child at camp, however you are welcome to call the camp office at 707-571-7657 to speak with one of our staff members with any questions or concerns about your child. Don’t be concerned if you do not hear back immediately – we will return your call! And you should know that the camp administration will be in touch should any concern arise.
During Shabbat (from Friday sundown through Saturday sundown), the office is closed and the answering machine will be on. We check the messages often and will get back to you as soon as possible.
Can I send care packages?
Campers can receive non-food gift packages. Here are some thing to note:
- Please limit your packages to one per week.
- Do not send packages with food, drink, candy or gum to camp! This is due to Kashrut, preventing animals from entering the cabin, and camper food allergies. To ensure the safety of everyone, any food sent via packages will be confiscated and donated to a local children’s center.
- All parcels will be opened by the camper, in the presence of a staff member.
- All packages must be sent prepaid.
- If you prefer to use a Care Package service, you can find some recommendations here.
How can I keep updated on what is going on at Camp Newman?
There are tons of ways to stay updated with Newman during summer camp – and all year long! Please visit THIS PAGE for more details or read below!
We update Facebook multiple times a day with photos, videos and other updates about the day to day goings on at camp. Click here to ‘like’ us on Facebook!
Get real time pictures, updates and quotes from kids by following us on Twitter! Click here to follow us on Twitter!
Want pictures instead of words? We got you covered! Check out our Instagram for photos on all the special little moments and times at camp. Click here to follow us on Instagram!
Summer Central Blog
Our blog is chock full of wonderful articles, stories and features all about camp written by our staff, campers, camper families and faculty. For spotlights on specific sessions, important features, and a weekly summary of camp happenings, read the blog! Click here to check out our blog now.
Medical Forms and Infirmary Procedures F.A.Q.
The main mission of the camp infirmary is to ensure health and safety of the individual campers and the entire camp community while maximizing camper participation. The infirmary (Mirpa’ ah) at Camp Newman is available from 8:00 am to 9:30 pm and staffed with a volunteer team of Medical Doctors and Nurses. Camp generally has 1-2 doctors and 3-4 additional staff including nurses and medical assistants. These numbers can vary depending on the availability of volunteer staff. A self-serve First Aid Station is set up outside the infirmary which includes bandaids, sunscreen, insect repellant, hand sanitizer, and other minor first aid supplies.
On the first day of camp, all campers attend an orientation regarding general health and safety at camp. They are all reminded about hand washing, no sharing food and drink, daytime sunscreen use, evening and hike insect repellant use, healthy eating, need for sleep and rest, increased fluid requirements while participating in camp activities, and how to access the infirmary for healthcare needs. Our focus is to insure a safe and healthy summer for all campers and staff.
If an emergency arises after 9:30 pm, an on-call nurse is always available and the doctors are only steps away. The infirmary is a first aid station and triage center. Most illnesses or injuries can be handled at 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.
Why do you require updated forms each year and what does camp do with these forms?
These forms give us current information on your child. The infirmary 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 this is needed during the course of their stay at camp. Your consent to treat your child is also needed for us to administer daily or as needed medication or to assess and treat your child in the infirmary.
Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to keep historical information at our fingertips at this time. At the end of your child’s time with us, these forms are put in short term storage that is accessible, but not in our main office.
Camp Newman requires more complete vaccinations than other camps or my child’s school. Are they really needed?
My child has special conditions, allergies, needs. Do you need additional information from me?
Please include all instructions with your child’s medical forms, camper forms and, if applicable, with their medications. We can accommodate most issues, both dietary and medical. We need all the information so that we can be sure your child is properly taken care of. 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?
Up to about half of the campers take some sort of daily medications. To minimize potential for medication errors, we are requesting that all daily pill medication be pre-packaged by camprx.com. For more information, please go to their website. According to 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. Medications are given at breakfast and dinner only. Any other arrangements need to be made in advance. If you are not able to participate in camprx, please send enough to cover the days of your camper’s session. All properly labeled medications should remain in original containers. These containers should be put in a plastic bag with camper name and session and given to Bus Captains or at Camp Check in. If a child is coming by airplane, the medications will be collected by the arrival team at the airport.
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. 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 Campers name, session, dosage and time of day it is taken. We require that all daily pill medication be pre-packaged by camprx.com. For more information, please go to their website. If your child takes these medications on an “as needed” basis, please know that the Camp Newman Infirmary is fully stocked with these medications; please do not send as needed OTC medications. Any OTC medications sent with campers will become part of camp infirmary stock medicine and will not be sent home.
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 may be stored in infirmary. All topical medications such as acne and eczema creams can be kept in the camper cabin. Allergy nasal sprays may also be kept with 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 should 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. The staff logs in the medication by camper name and session. Medications are put into a labeled container for each camper by session. The medications are stored in the infirmary. The medications are distributed to campers after breakfast and dinner. Any unused medication will be returned when camper 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 are called to 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 consistently.
What if my child needs a refill of their medications?
We are requesting that all refills of daily pill medication be pre-packaged by camprx.com. For more information, please go to their website. Refills for non camprx meds may be filled by parents and sent directly to the Infirmary or can be called into a pharmacy approved by camp and we will pick it up for you. Parents are responsible for the cost of these medications.
My child has specific allergies and/or adverse drug reactions. Should I note this somewhere?
This should be noted on your child’s medical forms. These conditions are noted in 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. They are trained to ask several questions to evaluate the need for an infirmary visit. The Infirmary visit should be treated as a healthcare provider office visit. If a camper needs to see a nurse or doctor, they are brought to the Infirmary, accompanied by a counselor; history and examination occur. The camper health history and special needs are reviewed for information provided by parents prior to treatment. Counselors are involved in the plan of care to ensure that all medical instructions are followed. Campers are always encouraged to return if condition worsens or doesn’t resolve.
What if my child has a cough, congestion, headache or a stomach ache?
Treatment will be discussed with camper and supportive care will be provided. Typically, a headache is caused by dehydration or lack of food/sleep; a stomach ache could be constipation or homesickness. There are many remedies for these including water, Gatorade, fruits and veggies, hugs. Any needed medications are administered based upon the camper symptoms.
What if my child has a fever?
If your child has a temperature above 100.4, an overnight stay is required. You will be notified within 24 hours of infirmary stay if this happens. If the temperature is less than 100.4, a child may be just overheated, a short rest and some water is all they need. They will be observed for a short period and reevaluated. If campers stay in the infirmary for fatigue (called R&R-rest and relaxation), parents are not routinely called.
What about a child with an illness requiring antibiotics, like strep throat or conjunctivitis (pink eye)?
Campers live in cabins with many other campers in close quarters. If a child presents with 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 keep them comfortable and fed. Parents are contacted 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?
If your child is found with lice upon arrival there are several methods we use. If driven by a parent, he or she will be sent home for treatment and can return once cleared. If child has arrived by bus or plane, they will be treated discreetly at camp using natural remedies. It may be necessary to isolate the child for a brief period. All campers are quickly checked upon arrival. If a child is found with lice after this point, their entire cabin will be checked and treatment will be given as needed. If an outside service is necessary for treatment, cost will be the responsibility of the camper’s family.
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 imbedded into the skin, the tick is removed by infirmary staff and sent for testing. If the test is positive for Lyme disease, parents will be notified and treatment will be 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 or lab testing, an orthodontic visit, etc., a medical team member will be assigned to accompany your child and remain with them for the entire time your child is offsite. You will be contacted prior to your child leaving camp, if possible. 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 for a febrile illness. Some campers spend the night for fatigue and/or exhaustion. Since these campers are not sick; parents are not usually notified.
- 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 required prescription medication (antibiotics for infection/steroids for poison oak).
- If a camper has repeated visits to the infirmary for vague, non-specific complaints that don’t lead to medical diagnosis, this is often homesickness. Parent may be called by Nefesh staff jointly with medical staff.
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 drink
- Encourage them to wash their hands or apply hand sanitizer before every snack and meal.
- Encourage them to wear sunscreen during the day and insect repellent in the evening.
- Remind your camper to eat fresh fruits and vegetables daily and drink lots of water to prevent constipation.
- All campers must wear closed toed shoes or sandals with an ankle strap around camp (except when at pool).
- We encourage good sleep and nutrition to ensure healthy and happy campers.
Does my child need to be immunized?
Yes, the Union for Reform Judaism requires that all camp and travel program participants, staff and faculty must be immunized. For more information, read the URJ Policy Statement on Vaccine Status.