Summer FAQs

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2021 Health & Safety

URJ Camps Virtual Info Session
December 6 @ 10:00am pt

Registration and Other Camp Info

If you don’t see your question answered below, please feel free to contact us!

How long are the sessions?

For Summer 2021 we are offering the following options. See our Rates & Dates page for more detailed information:

 

  • 29 day session for campers entering 6th-12th grade in Fall of 2021
  • 10 or 14 day sessions for campers entering 3rd-12th grade in Fall of 2021
  • One half or full-summer experience at camp for current 10th graders (Avodah) which, in Summer 2021, can be combined with the Newman NFTY in Israel trip
  • One half or full-summer experience at camp for current 11th graders (CIT) which, in Summer 2021, can be combined with Newman NFTY in Israel trip
How do I make bunk requests for my child?

Once a camper is registered, parents may submit one request on the Camper Information Form which is located in your CampInTouch account.

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.

Is there financial aid or scholarships available to attend camp?

Yes! 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 Financial Assistance page

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.

Preparing  for  camp

How can I best prepare my child for their first camp experience?

New beginnings can often feel both exhilarating and a bit scary. As your child’s first extended time away from home, you want to be sure that you’re sending them to a space that will embrace them and take care of them in the same way that you would. That’s why at Camp Newman we go all out to create a space where first-time campers feel safe to dip their toe into the camp experience – or to jump right in when they’re ready!

Here are some questions you may want to consider as you are deciding if your child is ready for camp:

  • Have they been to an overnight at a friend’s house or a slumber party? How did they do?
  • Can they perform routine tasks – like brushing their teeth and hair in the morning – on their own?
  • Does your child like choosing their own items from a buffet?
  • Does your child ever mention the idea of going away to camp?

Start talking about camp with your child – and see what they say! You will know better than anyone when your child is ready for camp.

what should I pack for my child?

To get an idea of what you’ll need, visit our Enrolled Families page for our latest Packing List. Some other items your first-time camper might find fun and useful:

  • Clothing or accessories in your camper’s unit color – coming soon!
  • Fun socks for “Fun Sock Fridays”
  • Silly clothing, such fun hats, costumes, onesies, tutus, you get the idea…
  • A deck of cards or other fun games to play with bunkmates.
  • Clothing or accessories for Yom Sport (a day of friendly, fun & zany competition from sports like Frisbee and soccer to art & music activities) in red, green, blue and yellow. If you don’t have, don’t worry! We always have extra items and face paint!

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 Enrolled Families page.
  • Hotpots, kettles, and other electric appliances
  • Candles & matches
  • Knives and other weaponry
  • Handheld gaming devices, PSPs

Please DO NOT pack items that carry sentimental value to you, your camper or your family since many things inevitably get lost. 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.)
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 Family Guide mailed in the spring, as well as our guidelines regarding Electronics at Camp. View our camp policies on the Enrolled Families 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.

How can I get a camp t-shirt for my child?

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. Follow our eblasts & Facebook page for info! 

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.

How does camp accommodate special needs?

We are proud to offer our campers and staff the services of our Nefesh Team. 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.

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 at nefesh@urj.org to speak with a member of our Nefesh Team about whether Camp Newman is the appropriate camp for your child.

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.  Our goal is to provide a well-balanced program for each child. 

where will my child live?

Cabins

Our youngest sessions will live in our cabins. Our cabins are your home away from home! Air conditioned, spacious, with plenty of cubby space and hanging room. Our cabins house two bunks – one on each side with a shared bathroom.

Brand New Tents

With a focus on creating communal space with central hang-out points, the Tent Village is a community of large tents which provides a unique space for our teen sessions complete with hammocks, twinkle lights, a fire-pit and more! See our Programs page for where we are planning to have each session live this summer. 

how are cabin placements made?

Cabin assignments are made on the basis of school grade. We guarantee mutual bunk requests as long as campers are in the same session and unit.  

Does camp provide laundry service?
  • 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 less than 23 days. 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.
how do you deal with homesickness?

Before Camp

As you pack, discuss anxieties, expectations and hopes together. Discuss the activities that will happen at camp. Watch the video again. The more your child knows about camp, the better they will adjust. Express how proud you are, as a parent, of your child embarking on their camp journey. Never tell your child that they “can come home” or they “can call home” if they are having a difficult time – this will only make it more difficult for them to adjust.

The only “cure” for homesickness is time, coupled with the support of counselors and encouraging letters from home. Our counselors are there to help comfort and encourage your child. They are sensitive, well-trained and, in most cases, were campers once themselves and draw on their own experiences. They also know where to turn for help. Each session, the camp has a faculty of Rabbis, Jewish educators and a team of on-site counselors and mental health professionals (our Nefesh team), as well as senior staff members who are always available to help guide the camper to success.

A good article to read: Help Your Child Combat the Homesick Blues During Sleep-away Camp

When Your Child Is at Camp

Send many positive (and “how proud we are of you”) letters to your child. Have letters waiting for them when they arrive. Say how much you are looking forward to hearing about what they experienced at camp. Discuss the excitement of camp, not what they are missing at home. If they’re not letter writers themselves, send them easy to fill out (“your favorite activity at camp is: _____,” “your new friend’s name is: ____”, etc) self-addressed stamped letters to send you with a report. Address all mail to: Camper’s Name, Camp Newman – Session Name, 4088 Porter Creek Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. And don’t forget to include your return address!

What if my camper has food allergies?

We are a nut free camp. We’ve had campers with nut, fish, dairy, soy, and gluten allergies, and many other dietary needs. We always offer a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free option.

We want to make sure every camper has an opportunity to have a safe and healthy dining experience at, therefore do our best to accommodate any allergies, special diets, or picky eaters.

if my child is a picky eater, what kind of menu items does camp offer?

Camp Newman is proud of our kitchen and the food that we serve. Our initial menu was developed through a menu survey. The menus are also available prior to the summer on our website for review by parents and friends. If you have any questions about the food at camp and our ability to provide for a camper’s specific needs, please email campnewman@urj.org and we will set up a time to talk more!

 

will my child get to choose the activities that they want to participate in?

Summer 2021 Activities may look different in the light of COVID-19 precautions

We will still offer opportunites for campers to choose activities that they are interested in!

what if my child's birthday occurs at camp?

We LOVE celebrating camp birthdays! 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 family visit during the summer?

For Summer 2021, we will provide clear guidelines for ensuring a safe environment for our campers and staff with regards to Opening and Closing Day. In order to create the safest space, we will not allow visitors during the summer.

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; however, for Summer 2021, for the health and safety of all, we will not allow campers or staff to leave and return to camp except in the case of medical emergency.

contacting  camp

How can I keep in contact with my camper?

There are a few ways to keep in touch with your camper – you can find more detailed information in the Parent Manual:

1) Send a letter and be sure to pack pens, paper a pre-addressed envelope and stamps with your camper

2) Send a One-Way E-Letter through the CampInTouch System

3) View photos on CampInTouch uploaded several times a week

4) Check our blog and social media for updates

5) Phone Call Policy: While campers cannot use the phone or receive calls, if you have any questions or concerns about your child, feel free to call 415-392-7080 to speak with your child’s rosh eidah (unit head), who will return your message within 24 hours. From Friday to Saturday evening, during Shabbat, our office is closed. Please leave a message!

can I send care packages?

We have a “no package” policy but of course will accept mail to campers in Standard #10 buisness envelopes or Standard greeting card or large flat envelopes (for magazines, thin books, etc.)

We made the decision to implement this policy for several reasons:

  • Kehillah – Community. Some of our campers receive many packages while some receive none at all. The reasons why vary, but it still creates a sense of competition and “haves and have-nots.” Camp should be a community where each camper feels they are valued and treated equally. Other Jewish overnight camps that have instituted similar no-package policies report that this change lifted the burden from parents, campers, and camp staff, and it has had a tremendously positive impact on the camp community.
  • Food/Candy/Gum. This is not only a health concern due to food allergies, it is also a safety concern as we know food draws bugs and critters into cabins. Campers receive balanced meals with many options, as well as snacks each day (and don’t forget the candy or soda they can choose occasionally!) Sending these items to camp and hiding them in packages teaches our campers the rules do not apply to them or their parents. Food, candy and other inappropriate items will be confiscated, disappointing the camper.
  • Sustainable Environment. We have discovered that most of the waste, litter, and rubbish generated in our cabins comes from the contents and shipping materials of care packages. Many parents have told us it is expensive and burdensome to fill and mail packages with toys their campers would not typically use at home, yet they feel pressured to do so during camp. We would like to better model sustainable living by not consuming as much in such a wasteful way.

Of course, we understand that sometimes sending items to camp will be necessary and we will make accomodations for forgotten essential items or lost/broken essentials. More information is available in the Parent Manual. 

how can I stay up-to-date with what's going on at Camp Newman over the summer?

There are tons of ways to stay updated with Camp Newman during summer camp – and all year long!

Facebook

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!

Instagram

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.