Summer Staff F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you don’t see your question answered below, or have additional questions, please feel free to contact Erin Mason, our Camp Director at emason@urj.org or you may call her at 415-392-7080 ex 14.

Where is URJ Camp Newman located?

URJ Camp Newman is located in Santa Rosa, CA just 75 miles north of San Francisco. Camp Newman sits on 500 acres in the mountains between Santa Rosa and the beautiful Napa Valley.

What is the process for applying to work at camp?

You can apply online here. Once we have received your application you will be contacted to set up an interview. Once we have completed your interview and your preliminary paperwork has been received we may come to a verbal agreement. It is the understanding of URJ Camp Newman that we consider these verbal agreements as commitments. It is not appropriate for you to speak with another camp about employment after agreeing to work at Camp Newman. Upon accepting a position with URJ Camp Newman you will be sent a contract, a health form, tax forms, a copy of the personnel policies and other forms. You are required to sign the contract and return it to our winter office within two weeks of receipt. As we get closer to the beginning of camp you will receive further information regarding travel to camp.

If I have never been to camp before or never did the CIT program, can I still work at Camp Newman?

Of course! Many of our staff are first timers to Camp Newman. If you missed the CIT program or have never been to camp before we encourage you to apply.

What is the difference between a counselor and a specialist?

Every staff member at Camp Newman is a madrich (counselor). That means that the primary responsibility of both the specialists and counselors is to look after and care for the campers. However the role of a counselor and specialists are significantly different. Our Madrichim (counselors) sleep in cabin with the chanichim (campers). They participate in activities with the campers and have the most direct interaction with a specific group of campers. Our specialists organize and run our daily activities. They have a certain level of expertise in an area and help guide and teach the campers during hour long activity blocks throughout the day. There are approximately 8 activity blocks each day. After the full day of activities they are expected to join an assigned cabin for evening activities in addition to possibility that their program activity may also run at night. After the day’s activities are over, either the specialist or the counselor from each cabin is responsible for shmirah (evening supervision) and is with the cabin for a few hours at night. While the madrich sleeps in cabin, the specialists sleep in a separate living area just for the specialists called the Megurim. There are four specialists to a room with a bathroom in the room.

What are the dates of camp?

The camp season is nine weeks; this includes a full week of staff orientation. Staff training is considered a vital component of Camp Newman’s summer. When the staff community knows what it needs to accomplish and works together, wonderful results can occur. Arrival dates are related to the area to which you are assigned to work at camp and are part of your contractual agreement. The Geza Team (Senior Leadership) will be expected to arrive on June 2, CIT and Avodah advisors will be expected to arrive on June 7 and (most) Specialists and Madrichim (counselors) will be expected to arrive on June 9. Our summer concludes on August 9. We are able to accommodate only a limited number of staff who are unable to stay the entire summer.

How often do I receive time off?

Each staff member usually receives one period off per day. Also, after the campers are safe and sound in their bunks, and you are not assigned shmira (evening supervision), staff may have some down time. Friday nights we have an all staff oneg for Shabbat. We will also frequently have social and educational programs for the staff at nighttime. Staff will receive 1 day(24 hours) off every 7-11 days during the summer and one block off (5 hours) every 7-11 days as well. Days off may begin at dinner and end at dinner the next day. Staff will have several days to choose from each month however, only so many people can sign up for each day off based upon the unit size and schedule. Specialists, because of the nature of the program will be given specific days that must be taken off.

What if I am a vegetarian, keep kosher or have other diet restrictions?

We offer a complete vegetarian menu and salad bar for the camp community. Many of the participants who keep kosher choose to eat the vegetarian meals. If you are a vegan, you may find it necessary to bring your own substitute protein source, as it is difficult for us to cater to those specific needs.

When do I get paid?

All staff members will get paid upon the completion of their contract.

May I receive visitors during the camp session?

Family of staff is welcome to join our camp community for Friday evening Shabbat T’fillah, Dinner, and Shira. While we welcome them into our community it is understood that as a staff member your responsibility is to ensure that your campers have a magical Shabbat. All visitors must be pre-approved and on the guest list prior to Shabbat. Please be in touch with the front office at Camp during the summer for approval. Here’s also a link to our Summer Visitors page for more visitor dates and info.

Will I be the only new person at Camp Newman this summer?

Each year at Newman is a new and different year. 60% of our staff either worked at or were campers at Camp Newman or Camp Swig and approximately 40% are completely new. We have new and returning staff from all over the world that makes a wonderful mix of tradition and openness to new ideas.

What is the URJ?

The URJ – Union for Reform Judaism – helps to create and sustain vibrant Reform Jewish congregations wherever Reform Jews live. The synagogue is at the very center of Jewish life, transforming individual members into caring, committed Jews, inspiring them to live Jewish lives. The URJ provides opportunities for individual growth and identity which congregations and individuals cannot provide by themselves including 13 residential camps and trips to Israel. The URJ is also the main supporter of the Hebrew Union College (HUC) – the seminary that trains Reform Rabbis, Cantors and Educators.

Will I have access to my email?

Computers are available for staff use, on a first come first served basis in the staff mo’adon (lounge). Staff members will have free access to the internet. We do not provide an email account, therefore we recommend that all staff have an internet based email account through services such as Yahoo or Gmail. Staff members are asked to be considerate of others and limit their computer usage time. Please also take note that being in the Santa Rosa Mountains our internet connection is temperamental and not always available.