Summer Camp FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (will be updated for 2020 soon)

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


While Your Child Is at Camp

Where will my camper sleep? Where will staff sleep? How are cabins arranged?

Campers live in single-gendered halls in one of three dormitories with one roommate along with in-residence counselors (Check out this cute kid-led tour of the bunks!) – just like many of our URJ Specialty Camps, including 6 Points Sports and Sci-Tech West in Los Angeles. Within each hall, campers are clustered into cabin groups based on age and session. Counselors’ rooms are interspersed among their campers’ rooms with high staff to camper ratios.

Rooms are 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, and 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 create community in cabin groups?

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 team-building games throughout the session.

Tell me more about the Adventure Program at Camp Newman's Porter Creek home!

Read all about our Porter Creek Adventure program here.

What activities & programs are offered?

Camp Newman offers an extensive selection of activities and programs. For our general camp sessions, campers have the opportunity to participate daily in activities (see the activities list here) such as sports (such as basketball, baseball, soccer, beach volleyball, roller hockey, Ultimate Frisbee, etc.), fishing, circus camp (like juggling, improv, tight-rope walking), arts and crafts, drama, music, guitar instruction, archery, and a variety of other fun and exciting options.

Campers also get to perform in talent shows, participate in session songs, roast marshmallows over a campfire, and so much more! All campers will get to participate in our day-long Porter Creek Adventure program – with hiking, sports, team challenges, gardening, and lots more taking place in the great outdoors of our beautiful Camp Newman home in Santa Rosa (read more about it here).

Where are Shabbat services held? Where are daily services held?

Shabbat services are held just outside of our Dining Hall on a lawn that overlooks 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.

How do you make 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, our community transforms it into 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 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.

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 about whether Camp Newman is the appropriate camp for your child.

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

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 or other mental health issue, unit heads and our Nefesh/camper care team  (read more about them below) have many resources to share.

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.

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. See more tips in the “Preparing for Camp” section above.

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 Health Center (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 twice per day (if your child needs meds more frequently, please make arrangements with camp staff in advance). Camp is located 15 minutes from two hospitals in Vallejo 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.

Can I call my camper?

Campers cannot use the phone or receive calls. If you have any questions or concerns about your child, you are welcome to call 415-392-7080 to speak with your child’s rosh eidah (unit head), who will return your message within 24 hours. Please know that if any concern arises, we will be in touch immediately. During Shabbat (Friday evening to Saturday evening), the office is closed, and all voicemails will be checked often and returned as soon as possible.

How can I keep in contact with my camper?

For details on how to send one-way emails, new package policy, and more, please visit our “Connect to Your Camper” page.

How can I see what my camper is doing?

For details on how to follow your camper and all of our adventures, please visit our “Get Updates & Photos” page.

Do you offer b’nai mitzvah tutoring?

B’nai mitzvah tutoring is only available to campers with a bar or bat mitzvah before December 15, 2020. To those who request it, we provide tutoring at no extra fee for 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 pieces 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 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.

How will my child's laundry get done?

  • Laundry service is provided every two weeks ONLY for sessions that are 23 days or longer.
  • Laundry service is NOT provided for sessions that are 24 days or less. These campers should pack enough clothing to last the length of their entire session.
  • Please send a non-mesh, cotton or nylon laundry bag with your camper, clearly labeled with your camper’s name.

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? We acknowledge birthdays both on the day, and as a full camp community every Saturday evening. Campers who celebrate their birthday at camp can look forward to a special treat for their cabin, and being honored at a meal with our special camp birthday song – with a few other surprises thrown in.

Please do not send food of any kind for your child’s birthday – we’ve got it covered.

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.

About Our Staff

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

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 are comprised of:

  • year-round camp directors
  • college, graduate and rabbinical students
  • specialists in various fields, such as the arts, music, sports and more
  • rabbis, cantors and Jewish educators – from your own community & all over the Western region!
  • professions in the medical and mental health fields

Our goal is to 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.

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.

How are staff trained and supervised?

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.

In addition, all staff are trained in our philosophy of CARE. We treat each other with kavod, respect, and try to live our CARE Philosophy each and every day:

  • C stands for Community, kehilah kedoshah, creating a holy community.
  • A is for Acceptance, v’ahavtah l’reiecha kaomcha, love your neighbor as yourself.
  • R stands for Role Modeling, aseih lecha rav, find for yourself a teacher, make for yourself a friend.
  • 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.

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.

What’s on the Menu at Camp

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.

To see what’s on the menu, click here.

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.

Camp Newman’s Summer Home at Cal Maritime

Tell me about URJ Camp Newman's Summer Home.

URJ Camp Newman operates on the campus of California State University Maritime Academy, and is the only group on campus all summer (the students are away all summer). 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, gorgeous grounds, delicious dining, and spectacular views. Our accommodations, dining hall, program spaces, and athletic fields are all within a few minutes’ walk from one another, making it an environment that is both safe and accessible for children of all ages.

Cal Maritime is in a secure, private location and completely surrounded by northern California hills and a beautiful shoreline. There is round-the-clock campus security (more info below) and no through traffic.

Facilities at Cal Maritime include:

–          Modern accommodations (check out this kid-led tour!)

–          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?

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 summer home has 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?

We view the health, safety, and security of our community as our utmost priority. To provide your children with a safe, enriching and enjoyable Jewish summer camp experience, be informed that:

  • A security survey of all URJ Camps has been conducted by a respected Israeli safety and security firm engaged by the Union for Reform Judaism.
  • California State University Maritime Academy (Cal Maritime) has campus police that guard the property, and provide on-site security 24/7. Camp has worked extensively with them to meet our specific needs

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 at Cal Maritime during the summer?

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

Tell me about the Infirmary.

Our 24/7 infirmary, or mirpa’ah, is housed in one of our residence halls with an additional pill call and nursing station just outside our Dining Hall. Our medical team includes warm and caring licensed medical professionals, 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).

For our Medical F.A.Q., scroll to the bottom of the page.

Can I visit Cal Maritime before the summer?

Yes! We’re excited to welcome you to campus for our Open House (click here for info) 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 Cal Maritime summer home in person.

How was Cal Maritime selected as Camp Newman’s summer 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.

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

Registration & Other Camp Info

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.

What if I need to cancel my registration?

Please visit our Terms of Enrollment page for full details.

How do I make bunk requests for my child?

All campers can request a roommate. You may only request children who are in the same session as your child. We do our best to honor roommate requests and make the best roommate pairings possible. Please know that the bunk assignments we make are done so in the best interest of all campers. At Newman by the Bay, a cabin is made up of 3-4 rooms of 2 campers per room. We know that some campers come with multiple friends while others arrive for the first time excited to meet new friends. We take into account the same criteria we have used for years to thoughtfully assign roommates and cabin groups:

  • the age and grade of each camper
  • where he or she is from
  • medical concerns
  • friend that they requested to be with

On Opening Day, your camper will meet and play games with their counselors and bunkmates and then walk together to their assigned bunk. From the time our campers are welcomed to their bunk, our counselors care for every camper in their cabin in a way that will allow our campers to create and sustain meaningful friendships with their bunkmates. If you have any further questions about cabin bunks, please contact

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!

How will my child get to camp?

Campers from all over the Western United States travel to camp by bus, plane and car. See our “How to Get to Camp” document on our Parent Resources page for flight info, bus schedules, and car arrival times.


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 my camper a Camp Newman t-shirt or other items?

The camp fee includes a Camp t-shirt (distributed on the last day of the session), a shirt that your camper will tie dye, and daily snacks. Sundry items such as toothpaste, shampoo, stamps, waterbottles, Frisbees and other items will NOT be available at camp. You can buy Camp Newman merchandise at our online pop-up store in the spring and fall. Follow our eblasts & Facebook page for info! Select camp and sundry items will also be available at the Cal Maritime bookstore an opening day of each session for parents to purchase.

Packing for Camp

What should I pack for my child?

Please consult the 2018 Packing List on our Parent Resources page and adapt the list to fit your camper’s needs. More helpful tips:

  1. “Soft” Luggage: Pack your camper’s things in soft luggage, preferably with wheels – they’re lighter and easier to carry. DO NOT BRING TRUNKS (too heavy, hard to transport, take too much space)
  2. Zip-lock bags: Handy (especially for young campers) for organizing toiletries and other items.
  3. Do not tie bags together. Label each bag clearly.
  4. Loose items: Like pillows, stuffed animals, etc., must be in a labeled bag – or they get lost!
  5. Footwear policy: In the best interest of your child’s safety, all shoes must have a closed toe or closed back. Flip-flops are only allowed for shower-use, and high heel shoes are not permitted.
  6. Name-labeled musical instruments & disposable cameras: We encourage you to bring both – just nothing expensive, please. Your camper is responsible for the safe keeping of their items, so if you’re concerned, we recommend purchasing insurance to cover any item you wish to protect.
  7. 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.
  8. Label all items with camper’s first and last name. This will increase the chance that if your child loses an item, it will be reunited with you! (FYI: All found items are brought to the camp Lost & Found, and stored for several weeks. Items unclaimed within 14 days after camp’s final session will be donated.)

Please DO NOT pack items that carry sentimental value to you, your camper or your family since many things inevitably get lost.

PLEASE NOTE: Camp does not assume any responsibility for items that are lost, stolen, or broken while at camp. You may purchase additional insurance through your home owner’s policy or other insurance vendor to cover your child’s belongings while at camp.

What should I NOT send with my child to camp?

The following items are not allowed at camp and if found will be confiscated:

  • Candy and outside food
  • Electronics such as cell phones, computers, TVs, DVD/Video players. For more info, please read our Electronics Policy in the Camper and Parent Manual on our Parent Resources page.
  • Hotpots, kettles, and other electric appliances
  • Candles & matches
  • Knives and other weaponry
  • Handheld gaming devices, PSPs

Items that are best left at home include:

  • Expensive clothing
  • Items that are considered valuable or sentimental
  • Expensive cameras (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 on our Parent Resources page.

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.


Avodah & CIT

Please visit the Avodah and CIT pages for more session-related information.

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.