Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | January 21, 2010

Summer Camp

In Northern California, picking an overnight camp isn’t an arduous a process. Your options run less than the fingers on one hand. Especially if you want a Jewish one. There’s Tawonga – run by the JCC of San Francisco – located outside of Yosemite. There’s the reform movement’s Camp Newman in Santa Rosa. There’s Camp Ramah in Southern California (and hopefully soon – in Northern CA too).

We’d love to send Dori to overnight camp this summer for a few weeks. But where to send her? Try pulling up Jewish Camp on Google – using either New Jersey, New York, Berkshires or Pennsylvania as location. Then go take some Advil.

Where to start looking? We asked cousin Mindy. She sent us to the Camp Connection – they bill themselves as your Summer Camp Matchmaker. Because you probably need a matchmaker with all the options out there. They have offices in New Jersey, New York and Florida, and they help you sort out what they say are the 500 options.

I haven’t even mentioned yet the Day Camps out here. In California, day camp means you go to the JCC or to the recreation center for 9:00-4:00 programs. Here, Day Camp means a bus or van picks up your child each morning around 8:00 a.m. and carts them away to a bucolic setting in the woods. There, they have a traditional overnight camp experience – but without staying overnight. They have pools, and woods, hiking and archery. And it costs something like $5,000 for a summer. Per kid.

Of course, overnight camp costs $1,000 + per week, and camps out here apparently don’t have 2-3 week options – like the ones I went to in Arizona. Here, you go for the entire summer. Unless you go to rookie camp, which is for first timers – and maybe then, you get a two week option.

So I’ll let you know what my camp counselor says – not the one who tells me it’s time for arts and crafts. The counselor who tells me which camps are best for my child.


  1. Debbie, not sure if you are asking for advice or not from us “locals.” In Allentown, there seem to be three main overnight camps favored by The Tribe: Ramah in the Poconos (Conservative), Camp Harlam (Reform), and Pinemere (Jewish Federation-sponsored). We haven’t heard any complaints about any of them, and all the kids who go seem happy. Ramah has a “try-it” one week program, I know.
    We aren’t planning sleep-away camp this summer yet, but Rafi will go to JCC camp for at least a couple of weeks (of the type you describe), Julian will go to “camp” at his Montessori school, and we’ll all have a week of Suzuki violin camp at Ithaca College.

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