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 Rabbi Allie Fischman, our Camp Director at afischman@urj.org!

What is the process for applying to work at camp?

Here are the initial steps in the hiring process:

  1. Submit your application online here.
  2. Zoom Interview. Once we have received your application you will be contacted to set up an interview with one of our full time director team members.
  3. Reference Checks. As part of your application you will be asked to provide contact information for references who have supervised you in a work, school, extracurricular teams or clubs, volunteer or congregational setting. Family members, friends or colleagues are not appropriate references.
  4. Verbal Agreement & Acceptance of a Position. Following your interview and upon completing and submitting your preliminary paperwork 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.
  5. Offer Letter & Employment Documents. Upon accepting a position with URJ Camp Newman you will be sent an Offer Letter, a health form, tax forms, a copy of the personnel policies and other forms. You are required to sign the Offer Letter and return it to our winter office within two weeks of receipt.
  6. Preparing for & Traveling to Camp. As we get closer to the beginning of camp you will receive further information regarding staff training, certifications, planning meetings and 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. Even 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.

Madrichim (counselors) will sleep in the same dormitories with the chanichim (campers). They accompany their campers and actively participate in camp activity periods throughout the day. Madrichim have the most direct interaction, and develop the closest relationships, with a specific group of campers in their cabin.

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. While a madrich will travel between activities, specialists will see a rotation of different campers throughout the activity periods of the day. There are approximately 8 activity blocks each day. While specialists are assigned to a specific cabin and eidah (age-group unit) for morning and evening activities, a specialist has the opportunity to impact many campers from different age-groups.

Both madrichim and specialists join their cabin and eidah (age-group unit) for evening activities. At times a specialist may be leading an activity for an eidah other than the one they are assigned.  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. In most cases, both specialists and madrichim will sleep “in-cabin” with campers.

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 Offer Letter for employment.

How often do I receive time off?

Each staff member usually receives one period (hour) off per day. Also, after the campers are safe and sound in their bunks, and if 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. 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 employment based on the dates in your Offer Letter.

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.

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.

Is there internet access/cell service at Camp? What is the technology policy at camp?