Information for Summer 2020
URJ Eisner Camp harnesses the transformative power of Jewish camping to create meaningful relationships that lay the foundation for our community. Children and teens from across the Northeast join together each summer to experience the fun and magic of our kehillah kedoshah (sacred community).
Since we opened our gates in 1958, Eisner Camp continues to serve as a second home to hundreds of children each summer who come together to experience the fun and magic of Jewish camping.
Caring and committed staff strive to enrich the campers’ experiences by creating opportunities for them to build lasting friendships and become the best versions of themselves. Our staff cultivates curious minds and a creative spirit by providing encouragement and support as our campers embrace the challenges of learning new skills in athletics, aquatics, the arts, and outdoor adventure programs. Grounded in Jewish values, the Eisner Camp community is immersed in a wide range of innovative educational pursuits and unique spiritual experiences.
Our intimate (tech-free and parent-free) environment allows campers to embrace the challenge of learning new skills in athletics, aquatics, the arts, and adventure and nature programs. What campers don’t realize is that they are learning communication, collaboration, creativity, grit and empathy – the predictors of success in camp, school and beyond.
From the youngest of our campers to the oldest of our Machon (Counselors-in-Training), every child who spends a summer at Eisner Camp returns home wiser, more self-confident, and more connected to the Jewish community.
Eisner Camp is more than a summer of fun, it is an experience that lasts a lifetime. Everything we do at Eisner Camp is intentional. Campers and counselors alike strive each day to embody our mission statement, which we believe helps us to be the best selves and community we can be.
Eisner Camp is more than a summer of fun – it is an experience that lasts a lifetime!
Our Mission Statement
Hineini – Here I am
… I am here to strengthen my own self-esteem and that of everyone in the camp community.
… I am here to strengthen my own Jewish identity and spirituality and that of everyone
in the camp community.
… I am here to strengthen my connection to the Eisner community and the Jewish community and to help everyone around me to do the same.
… I am here to do as much as I can, in the time that I have, in the place that I am, and to inspire others to join me in this holy work.
For it is written: “Lo alecha hamlacha ligmor, v’lo ata ben chorin, l’heebatel mimena.”
“You are not required to complete the work, nor are you free to ignore it.” Pirke Avot 2:16
…are reflected in our day-to-day life at camp. Every five years, Eisner is visited by the American Camping Association(ACA). Since Eisner always meets the ACA’s high standards, we continue to receive their accreditation. We are committed to providing:
- a safe camp community
- caring, competent adult role models
- healthy, developmentally-appropriate experiences
- service to the community and the natural world
- opportunities for leadership and personal growth
- discovery, experiential education, and learning opportunities
- excellence and continuous self-improvement
Eisner Camp strives to embody the “audacious hospitality” of the Reform Movement. We welcome campers and staff members from families of all backgrounds–including those with interfaith, same-sex or single parents–or those who identify as LGBTQ.
Eisner is proud of our open, supportive and inclusive environment. The make-up of the URJ and our programs are as diverse as our population; therefore, our communities represent that vibrant and colorful fabric that makes up the Reform Jewish population. We are proud that our camps and programs are inclusive and designed for everyone in our community from LGBTQ to children with single, same-sex or interfaith parents, to children of color. Our program is created to strengthen the self-esteem, Jewish identity, and connection to the Jewish community of all campers through the supportive nature of our people, staff, and programs.
Campers range from ages 7 to 17 and are entering grades 2-12. A great many of our campers and staff members come from the greater New York and Boston Regions. We also have representation from all over the Northeast as well as from across the United States and overseas. Most of our campers are members of Reform Jewish synagogues.
We place our campers into eight units based on the school grade they will enter immediately after camp. This way, each unit is comprised of children who are socially, physically, and developmentally on approximately the same level. Our units at camp are as follows:
|Hebrew Unit Name||English Translation||Entering Grades|
|K'TANIM ( 2 weeks)||"Little Ones"||2nd and 3rd|
|BONIM||"Builders"||4th and 5th|
|OLIM||"Those who go up"||10th|
|EISNER IN ISRAEL||11th|
Campers entering 11th grade spend an unforgettable summer in Israel with their Eisner friends on the NFTY in Israel program run by the North American Federation of Temple Youth, the youth movement of the URJ.
Our K’tanim program runs for either two weeks (K’tanim 1 and K’tanim 2) or three weeks (K’tanim 3). This introductory program is perfect for our youngest campers, most of whom will be away from home for the first time. Special attention is paid to teaching them how to get around camp and enjoy all that it has to offer. K’tanim stays together throughout the day for all its many self-contained activities. Our “little ones” form wonderful friendships and have a great time during what we hope will be the first of many summers at Eisner.
Our Machon unit is a Counselor-In-Training program. Machon is an integral part of the Northeast Teen Collective, our initiative to increase the number of teens participating in Jewish life while inspiring them to be agents of change. During the first session of camp, our Machonikim participate in an intensive leadership training program, preparing them for all aspects of being staff members as well as leaders in their home communities. During the second session of camp, our Machonikim become counselors, sports coaches, waterfront instructors, logistics staff and more as they receive on-the-job training.
For families who live year-round or summer in Southern Berkshire County, we offer a unique Day Camp program for children ages 4-7 years old. Our Day Camp is on the grounds of Eisner Camp and our very youngest campers enjoy the facilities and programs of our overnight camp.
Our staff has been carefully selected and trained by our camp directors to keep our campers safe, happy and instill the values of Eisner Camp. Before our campers arrive, all staff members participate in an intensive training program. This on-site training includes workshops led by our camp directors, outside professionals, and industry experts.
Our cabin counselors are Jewish college students who bring abundant warmth and energy to our camp community. Many of them are former Eisner campers, comfortable at camp, familiar with camp routines and traditions, and eager to share their love for Eisner and Reform Judaism with this next generation of campers.
Our coaches, art instructors, lifeguards, and outdoor adventure instructors are both college and graduate students from all over the world who share their areas of expertise with our campers. Our swim staff receive American Red Cross certified lifeguard training.
Our Leadership Team is made up of college seniors, college graduates, graduate students, and young professionals as well as adults with many years of experience working with children. Many are teachers and synagogue youth professionals who bring their year-round expertise to their positions at camp.
Our wonderful 24-hour professional and newly- renovated and expanded Health Center is staffed by caring nurses and physicians.
Each week a group of dynamic rabbis, cantors, and educators from URJ congregations from throughout the northeast come to camp to teach, worship and have fun with our campers. Our education faculty is an essential part of the Reform Jewish community at camp.
Energetic Israelis join our staff each summer as well. They are coaches, ropes course and nature instructors, bunk counselors, art instructors and more. They organize our Israel Day programs, teach us Hebrew, and add an Israeli “flavor” that enhances everything we experience at camp.
Our kitchen, maintenance and housekeeping staff includes young men and women from the Czech Republic, Belarus, Mexico, Poland, Hungary and other countries who come to Eisner through international programs that send qualified young adults to various summer camps in America.
Our Leadership Team, who work as unit heads and department heads, arrive at camp three weeks before our campers. Our specialists, including coaches, art instructors, lifeguards, ropes course instructors, outdoor education and Limud staff arrive more than two weeks before our campers. They have ample time to train, get certified by outside professionals when appropriate, and set up their activity areas. Our general counselors arrive at camp eight days before the campers arrive, joining the specialists for Staff Training Week in which they learn about working with children and being a Eisner staff member. When Opening Day arrives, our entire staff is confident, energized, excited, and ready to meet our campers.
OUR CAMPERS BECOME OUR STAFF
Many of our staff members were campers themselves having grown up at Eisner and choosing to work with the next generation of Eisner campers. Our campers become our best counselors! As a way to pay it forward, our staff take all they’ve learned as campers and put it in their “toolkit” as counselors: resiliency, compassion, self-confidence, civility, patience, the ability to speak out, stand up and fix what is broken in our world, embracing Judaism and so much more. These skills are essential not only in camp, but everywhere in life and will positively impact them as they enter the job market after college. We hope our campers will be our staff members for many years after high school and are thrilled that so many are!
Eisner Camp is proud of our open, supportive and inclusive environment. Our camp community represents that vibrant and colorful fabric that makes up the Reform Jewish population. Our camp and programs are inclusive and designed for everyone in our community from LGBTQ to children with single, same-sex or interfaith parents, to children of color. We hope that our campers and staff strengthen their self-esteem, Jewish identity, and connection to the Jewish community through the inclusive nature of our people, staff, and programs.
We are committed to building a vibrant community rooted in Jewish values and to bringing the transformative power of Jewish summer camp to every child and family who come through our gates. From our policies to our programs and camp traditions, we strive to reflect our camp’s core values and those of the URJ:
Kehillah Kedoshah – A Holy Community
We are a sacred community, responsible for one another.
V’ahavta L’reyecha – Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself
We should behave towards one another with love and kindness.
Hachnasat Orchim – Welcome the Stranger
Camp is a place of “audacious hospitality,” where all who enter are celebrated.
Yichut Atsmo – Personal Growth
Camp is a uniquely transformative opportunity for young people to take risks and grow, and our job at Eisner is to nurture that growth.
Families with Different Faith Backgrounds
Your child – any child from an interfaith family who is being raised as a Jew – has a place at our camp. For over 30 years, the Reform Movement has been at the forefront of the Jewish world ensuring a welcoming environment for interfaith families. As Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) President Rabbi Rick Jacobs has stated, “Creating pathways for Jews and non-Jewish partners to create active Jewish homes is a blessing.”
What happens at a URJ camp? What is Jewish living?
Camp is fun! Our campers experience a great atmosphere, terrific activities and programs, values that come to life every day and friendships. This happens all under the watchful eyes of our caring, responsible counselors or other adult role models (some of whom either are children of interfaith families or themselves non-Jewish).
Your child, when entrusted to our camp, will experience what it is like to live a completely Jewish lifestyle. This complete absorption into the rhythms and calendar of Jewish living gives each child a fuller appreciation of the richness of their Jewish identity and heritage. They are taught the values of charity, justice and kindness. Experience has shown that they will bring these values home.
Shabbat is a big event at camp. The entire camp comes together, dressed in white as one family on Friday evening, for dinner, worship, song and dance. Campers experience the fullness of a Shabbat celebration both spiritually and culturally.
Each child’s pride in their Jewish identity is nurtured, while respect for those of other religious beliefs is also strongly encouraged.
Will my child feel isolated or different because one parent is not Jewish?
Not at all. Each child at Eisner is valued as the unique individual they are, with the wonderful attributes they bring to our community. Each child is recognized as a full member of the Jewish community whether they have one or two Jewish parents. Celebrating Judaism includes respecting those of other faiths as well.
Will my child feel embarrassed if they aren’t familiar with a Jewish practice or tradition at camp?
They will not be the only one! Eisner is a place for your child to further their knowledge of Judaism in an experiential way. Every child who comes to camp brings a different skill set and knowledge of Jewish tradition and practice. They learn from their counselors and from their friends at camp. This is a no-stress environment, where learning the levels of Jewish living is an enjoyable and natural progression.
Will it be a problem if my child has limited or no knowledge of Hebrew?
No problem! Campers learn Hebrew at camp in an experiential way, learning some basic Hebrew terms, Hebrew blessings and phrases.
When my child returns home, will they be uncomfortable with my not being Jewish?
Remember that many of your child’s counselors have experience with interfaith families – either their own, their relatives or their friends. We teach each child that the Torah mandates to honor their father and mother. We emphasize to each child that this teaching is not based on the parent being Jewish – the teaching is based on honoring each parent. Your position as the child’s parent will continue to be sacrosanct. We will encourage the respect you are due as a parent, with no regard to your own religious beliefs.
TRANSGENDER CAMPERS AND STAFF
What does it mean to be transgender? Is that person a boy or a girl?
Some children are born into the body of a boy, but in their hearts and minds they are girls. Others are born into the body of a girl, but in their hearts and minds they are boys. Those raised as boys for the first few years of their lives make it increasingly clear at a very early age that they understand themselves to be girls. Likewise, those that are raised as girls for the first few years of their life made it increasingly clear at a very early age that they understand themselves to be boys. Their social development and patterns are aligned with other children of their age.
Where will transgender campers and staff sleep?
A transgender camper or staff members who identifies as female will sleep in a girls’ cabin with campers. A transgender camper or staff member who identifies as a boy will sleep in a boys’ cabin with campers.
What about privacy?
Our transgender campers and staff are private about the ways in which they are different from other children their age. At camp, we teach all of our campers and staff to have a sense of modesty and to respect one another’s privacy. We will continue to reinforce this message. Our cabins all have stall showers, each with its own curtain. All toilets are in stalls with doors. We also have a door or privacy curtain between the bathroom area and living space in each cabin. Outside the cabin, all our public restrooms have stalls which enable privacy around camp. Every child and staff member thus has privacy when showering, changing and using the restroom.
Will my kids be scared or confused?
Probably not, but if they are, help them understand that this is just one of many ways in which their friends may be different from them. Try not to assume that your kids will think this is weird or confusing. They may just accept it at face value and move on. It is a good idea to ask if they understand and if they have more questions. As always, there are staff and resources at camp for your child to turn to in times of need.
What does the Reform Movement say about transgender people?
The Reform Movement’s recognition of transgender rights dates back to 1978. The Movement has an explicit policy of non-discrimination regarding transgender people and has even developed blessings for the changing of gender. Through the years, the URJ has been a fierce advocate of LGBT rights and equality both within the Movement and in the wider community through the resolutions of the Commission on Social Action and the work of the Religious Action Center. In November 2015, the URJ adopted a movement-wide “Resolution on the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People.”
Visit http://www.urj.org/what-we-believe/resolutions/resolution-rights-transgender-and-gender-non-conforming-people to see the full text.
How do I explain transgender children and gender variance to my child?
One way to explain gender variant and transgender children/adults is to use the concept of gender being on a spectrum. Draw a line and on one end write male (or draw a male) and do the same for female on the other end of the line. Have your children list “typical boy” and “typical girl” behaviors, likes, characteristics, etc., and write them on either end. Think about the toy and clothing sections of Target! Describe how people tend to fall on the end of the spectrum that matches their body parts, but not always. You can locate, with your child, where on the spectrum some friends and family fall – what cousin is a “tomboy,” which male friend likes dolls, which girl friend is a “girly-girl” who doesn’t like sports, etc. Then you can say that some children have a boy’s body but inside feel far over on the female side, and some children have a girl’s body but inside feel far over on the male side. This also presents a teachable moment about gender roles in general, to teach children that there are many ways to be a girl and to be a boy.
Here are some resources for your own education that can help equip you to talk to your children.
Books for Adults:
- Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper, The Transgender Child
- Nicholas Teich, Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue
- Andrew Solomon, Far from the Tree
- Joy Ladin, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey between Genders
- Noach Dzmura, Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community
Books for Children:
- Rachel Gold, Being Emily [middle school and older]
- Jennifer Carr, Be Who You Are [young children]
- TransYouth Family Allies website
- ABC News article coverage of Camp “You are You”
- Katie Couric video clip about Coy Mathis
- Transgender Basics
- The Youth and Gender Media Project
- Why Pronouns are So Important
Best Practices Guides
2020 Camp Prep
2020 FORMS CHECKLIST
All forms are due Thursday, April 1, 2020.
REQUIRED FORMS for EACH CAMPER in YOUR FAMILY
- Code of Conduct & Anti-Bullying Pledge (download, print, sign, scan and upload)
- All About Me! (download, print, have camper complete, scan and upload)
- Camper Profile (online form completed by parent)
- Recent Camper Photo (upload current passport-style picture of camper) Remember to smile!
- Camper Health History (online form completed by parent)
- Camper’s Medical Examination Form and Immunization Form (download, print, have physician complete, scan and upload document OR use your pediatrician’s standard examination & immunization forms, scan and upload)
- URJ Vaccine Statement (online form completed by parent to acknowledge that you have read and understand the URJ vaccine policy)
- Insurance Card and Camp Treatment Authorization Form (download, print, sign, scan and upload along with photocopies of your insurance card)
- Food Allergies, Sensitivities, and Special Diets Form (online form completed by parent)
- Camp Travel Form: Submit this online form if you camper will travel to/from camp either by plane or with an adult other than a parent.
- Grandparent Connection: Submit this online form if you would like us to send summer news, videos, etc. to your camper’s grandparents.
- Bar/Bat Mitzvah Preparation: Download, print, complete and upload this form if your camper will become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in August-December 2020. Your Rabbi, Cantor or Educator will need to sign it.
Remember to complete a set of forms for EACH camper in your family!
NEW CAMPER ORIENTATION
New Camper Orientation is on Sunday, June 7th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. This is a day when parents and new campers come and tour our facilities, meet some of our staff and counselors and introduce themselves to other new campers and their families. It gives both parents and campers the opportunity to see where our campers eat, sleep, play, swim, and so much more during their time at camp. You will even get to sample our camp cookies and juice! A first-time summer experience is so very exciting, but we also understand that this is a big step for you and your child. We are prepared to work with you in every way to make this an amazing experience for everybody.
THE WEEK BEFORE CAMP
We hope that you will find this information helpful in days leading up to drop off as well as Visiting Day.
The establishment of a healthy camp environment is the result of a successful partnership between parents and camp. Your diligence in the assessment of your child’s health in the week prior to camp is critical to ensuring that we limit the exposure of the camp community to any illness. We know how disappointing it is to tell your child that their departure for camp must be delayed because of illness. We are counting on you to help us by serving as the first line of defense. Clearly, if your child is ill, the place they will be most comfortable is in your care at home.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
- If your child develops a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the 7 days prior to the start of the session, please have your child evaluated by a physician.
- If your child’s physician determines through an in-person examination and testing that your child has an illness, the camper MUST REMAIN AT HOME until the child’s physician and the Camp Director determine that your child no longer poses a risk of spreading an illness to others.
- No child should come to camp until they are fever and symptom free (without medication) and healthy for at least 24 hours. Please do not bring your child to camp until you have discussed your child’s condition with the Camp Director.
Lice: We want to provide you some packing tips that will help ease the lice check process, and minimize stress if your child is found to have lice or nits:
- Pack everything to be used at camp a minimum of 48 hours prior to departure.
- Anything that has been used or worn in the 48 hours prior to arriving at camp (that you must take with you… such as combs, brushes, special stuffed animals, sweatshirts, pillow cases, blankets etc.), place in a separate bag away from the bag that will be brought to your bunk.
Please make sure the hair is combed of knots to make the head check as quick and painless as possible. Please brush your hair in the morning of opening day and choose hairstyles that will keep your hair as tangle-free as possible! If you’re one of our many curly-haired campers, we might suggest braiding it straight out of the shower to keep as tangle-free as possible.
What to bring
- 3 bath towels (to use for showering)
- 3 beach towels (to bring to the pool)
- 2 face towels (for hand and face washing)
- 2 wash cloths (to use in the shower)
- 2 fitted sheets (twin size)
- 2 flat sheets (can also be used as light blankets)
- 2 pillow cases (bring an extra if you want your bunkmates to sign it!)
- 1 pillow (or two if that’s what you’re accustomed to)
- 1 blanket (light to medium weight)
- 1 sleeping bag (for camping out)
- 1 laundry bag (to use when camp-provided bag is at laundry service)
- 1 mattress pad or egg crate (for those who like to pad their mattress)
Please label all linens with your camper’s name!
- 20 pairs of underwear
- 16 socks (or more for serious ball players)
- 12 t-shirts (or tank tops or any short sleeve shirt – second session campers should bring a blue, red, green, and yellow shirt for Maccabiah)
- 3 long sleeve shirts (for cool evenings)
- 2 sweatshirts (for very cool evenings)
- 1 light jacket (for very, very cool evenings)
- 8 shorts (gym, cargo, Soffes, etc.)
- 2 pairs of jeans (for cool evenings, hiking)
- 1 raincoat/poncho (must have a hood)
- 3 pairs of pajamas (or sleeping shirts, etc.)
- 2 nice Shabbat outfits (white top is required; skirts, nice shorts, or slacks)
- 4 bathing suits (girls – 2 must be one-piece suits for instructional swim)
- swimming goggles (for those with chlorine-sensitive eyes or contacts)
- 1 sun hat (baseball hat, etc., not a visor)
- dressy outfit for banquet (optional, many campers like to dress up!)
Please label all clothing with your camper’s name!
- 2 pairs of sneakers (for everyday wear, sports)
- 1 pair of sturdy shoes (for hiking and rain-only if you already own, do not buy!)
- 1 pair of swimming shoes (to wear to the pool)
- 1 pair of sandals/flip-flops (if you wear them)
- 1 pair of soccer/baseball cleats (only if you already own, do not buy!)
- 1 pair of Shabbat shoes (optional, some girls wear nice sandals, NO HEELS HIGHER THAN TWO INCHES PLEASE!)
Please label all shoes with your camper’s name!
- comb and brush
- clips, hair bands
- toothbrush and toothpaste, plastic drinking cup
- soap and soap dish or body wash for shower
- liquid soap dispenser for bunk
- shampoo, conditioner, gel, etc.
- razor and shaving cream (for shavers only)
- nail clipper
- pads, tampons (for older girls)
- sun block (lots!)
- insect repellant
- caddy to store and carry toiletries
Please label all toiletries with your camper’s name!
- flashlight, extra batteries
- back pack, or small duffle for trip day(s), especially those campers going on overnight trips
- pens, pencils, stationery, envelopes, stamps, eLetter Replies
- family addresses, printed labels, pre-addressed envelopes
- 2 sturdy refillable water bottles (item most commonly lost at camp!)
Please label everything with your camper’s name!
- playing cards, Magic: The Gathering cards, etc.
- fan to clip on bed post (should be battery operated)
- plastic drawer unit (see section on plastic drawers and other storage) (only one please!)
- baseball mitt, tennis racket, shin guards
- inexpensive digital camera or disposable cameras
- musical instrument
- lovies (teddy bears, blankies)
- summer reading books (we have a camper lending library!)
- western-style clothing for Rib Night, America swag for our 4th of July celebration
- dressy outfit for banquet (many campers like to dress up)
- Full Summer/First Session Olim First session and full summer Olim campers will be traveling to Montreal. Please remember to bring your passport with you to camp to give to us in the Beit Am on Opening Day, and a small bag to pack your belongings for the trip. Do not bring any money or credit cards to camp! Parents have already given us money to give to your for snacks, souvenirs, etc
- Full Summer/First Session Tzofim – Tzofim will be traveling to Cape Cod, MA – remember to bring a small bag to pack your belongings for the trip. Do not bring any money! .
- Full Summer/First Session Chaverim – Tzofim will be traveling to Cape Cod, MA – remember to bring a small bag to pack your belongings for the trip. Do not bring any money!
- Entire Eisner Community – Please bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Jerry’s Food Bank. Jerry’s Food Bank was created to honor Jerry Somers, a long-time supporter of Eisner Camp who is passionate about Tikkun Olam (repairing our world). All food will be donated to the People’s Pantry in Great Barrington.
- Entire Eisner Community – please bring any books, appropriate for children in grades 3 – 10, that your child has finished reading. We’ll put them in our camper lending library.
If your child wears glasses or contact lenses, we encourage you to send an extra pair of glasses and an extra set or two of contact lenses.
Please label everything with your camper’s name!
What Not to pack
- night lights (we’ll place one in the bathroom of every cabin)
- shirts with inappropriate language or that advertise beer/liquor
- expensive clothing requiring special washing
- chewing gum, candy, food of any kind
- Ugg boots
- cell phones
- Pod/MP3 player with screen
- shoes or sandals with heels higher than two inches
- valuable jewelry, Apple Watch or smart watch
- super soakers/water guns
- expensive digital cameras
- hoverboards, skateboards, scooters, “Heelys”
- bottled water or flavored powder or drops to
- add to water
- any over-the-counter or prescriptions (all medications must go through JDrugs)
- e-cigaretters, vapes, Juuls, portable essential oil diffusers
- laptop computers, iPads/tablets, portable DVD payers, Kindles, Nooks
- electronic hand-held game devices, i.e. Gameboy’s, PSP’s, Nintendo DS’s
You may pack in a trunk, suitcase, or duffle bag — It is entirely up to you. On Opening Day, after all our campers have arrived, camper luggage is removed from the cabins and safely placed in storage. No trunks, suitcases or duffle bags remain in the cabins as extra storage for campers. Please remember not to take your child’s empty luggage home with you; we need the luggage at camp so we can pack to go home at the end of the session.
PLASTIC DRAWERS AND OTHER STORAGE
Many of our campers bring plastic drawers with them to provide extra storage.
Please bring boxes that are no larger than 14.25 in L x 12.05” W x 26.44” H. Another tip is to bring fabric boxes that measure 10.5” x 10.5”. Please do not purchase 12” x 12”, they do not fit in our cubbies.
On Opening Day each camper will receive an Eisner Camp laundry bag. This bag will be picked up from camp once a week by a local, professional laundry service and returned to camp the next day. The entire contents of your camper’s laundry bag are washed as one load in hot water, so it will be best to pack clothing colors that will not run. Delicates, linen, wool, suede, and dry clean only items should not be sent to camp. Eisner is not responsible for missing or damaged clothing.
LABEL, LABEL, LABEL
We want our campers to return home with everything they brought to camp. Therefore, please LABEL, LABEL, LABEL! EVERYTHING that comes to camp must have your camper’s full name (not initials) on it. Whether you sew the labels in, iron them on, use permanent marker or a stamp, you must label EVERYTHING. We donate bags of our campers’ unlabeled belongings to local charities at the end of the summer.
One of the best labeling products we’ve seen are the peel and stick labels available from Label Daddy. Here is a Eisner Label Daddy Coupon. You can buy them directly from the company.
Please be sure to pack plenty of durable and comfortable clothing appropriate for a rustic camp setting. Campers spend most of their day outside; Eisner is a place where we play outside, sweat, and dance our hearts out. We try to create a wholesome environment that mirrors the values we attempt to instill in our campers. To create this sense of community, we ask campers and staff to dress in a way that is respectful both to themselves and others in the camp community. Clothing that allows underwear and/or bras to be visible should not be brought to camp and body parts that are customarily covered by undergarments should not be visible as well.
Please do not pack any clothing with inappropriate pictures, offensive sayings or advertisements for drugs, alcohol, vaping, etc.
Please pack swimsuits that are functional for instructional swim – one-piece suits, tankinis, and shorts-style bathing suits are best. During free swim and pool parties, bathing suits should follow the same principles as clothing. These guidelines are intended to promote the values of our camp and the self-esteem of our campers.
Campers are expected to dress appropriately for their activities. They must wear long pants for hiking, sneakers for sports, and swimsuits for swim.
Click here to check out our online camp store! You can also find the link on our website. Through the website, you will be able to buy cool Eisner clothing for your child. This is completely optional – though your camper would love it! (If your camper would like camp swag for the summer, please make sure to order by June 1st to guarantee delivery before camp starts.) Just before trip day, your camper will receive an Eisner Camp T-shirt, which we will label with their name.
Campers are asked to leave all articles of value at home as the Camp is absolutely NOT responsible for any camper’s belongings. There is no need for jewelry or expensive items at camp. Do not bring any cash or credit cards to camp! You have prepaid for snacks, souvenirs, and spending money on trips.
Days at camp
First Session- June 28 | Second Session- July 26
We are excited to welcome you through our gates on Opening Day! All our campers arrive at camp on Opening Day in a family car with a parent or another adult. We do not offer any busing to camp. We want our parents to meet their camper’s counselors, see where their camper will be living, help them unpack and hopefully join other parents for our Opening Day coffee and nosh. None of this would be possible if our campers traveled to camp on a bus! In the beginning of June you will receive additional information about Opening Day.
Opening Day, of course, is very exciting!
If an adult, other than a camper’s parent, will bring them to camp on Opening day, we ask that this information be included in the travel form found on the camper’s CampInTouch dashboard under Forms and Documents.
To avoid long lines on Opening Day, we stagger arrival times. Campers with last names beginning:
- “A” to “G” arrive at 9:00 a.m.
- “H” to “P” arrive at 9:45 a.m.
- “Q” to “Z” arrive at 10:30 a.m.
Please DO NOT arrive more than 10 minutes prior to your assigned arrival time. Since bunks have been assigned and beds have been labeled, there is no reason or advantage to arrive at camp early.
We are counting on everybody’s cooperation. It is a challenge to welcome 500 cars into camp and still maintain a safe environment for our campers. Please be prepared to show your license to our greeters as you enter camp.
When you arrive at camp at your designated time, you’ll drive into camp and be directed to the Quad where you’ll park your car. You’ll go straight to Merkaz HaSport (sports center) for a lice check and a health screening. The health and safety of our campers and staff is always our greatest concern. We will take each camper’s temperature and ask each camper about their recent health and contacts. If, during our health screening, your camper is found to have a fever, we will ask you to see our camp physician, and we may ask you to take your camper home to see your physician. Your camper may return to camp after they have been fever- free for 24 hours. Upon returning to camp, our camp physician will make the final decision about whether or not your camper may stay.
Each camper will have a lice check as well. We have hired a professional company to conduct these lice checks for us. Any camper with head lice or lice nits will either be asked to leave camp to go home for treatment or be treated on the spot by the professionals. Eisner Camp is responsible for the cost of checking our campers for lice. However, the family of any camper with lice or nits who chooses not to take their camper home for treatment, but to have the professionals treat their camper at camp on Opening Day, will be responsible for the $350 cost of the treatment, paid directly to the company. Of course, any family who chooses treatment at camp will be treated privately to avoid any embarrassment to the camper.
While you wait on the line for your camper’s temperature and lice check, please consider visiting our Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation table and participate in the Speed Swabbing program. Over a decade ago, Gift of Life started collecting cheek swabs for their bone marrow donor recruitment program. Now, Gift of Life offers Speed Swabbing which enables them to enroll donors without the need for up-front paperwork. Donors provide limited information, swab their cheeks, and go on their way! Later, donors receive an e-mail asking them to complete their registration online. Please consider taking 7 minutes to participate in our Gift of Life Speed Swabbing drive. You never know – you could be a match and save another’s life!
After the lice check and health screening, you’ll walk over to the Beit Am and accompany your camper through several registration stations.
Station 1:Eisner T-shirts – We’ll ask you to select the proper size T-shirt for your camper and write their name on the tag. We’ll keep the T-shirt and give it to your camper just prior to Trip Day.
Station 2:Registration – You’ll receive your camper’s cabin number and some luggage tags and proceed to the next station.
Olim session 1 and full summer campers: we’ll take your passport for safe keeping until you leave for Montreal and we’ll ask parents to sign a permission form, giving our staff permission to cross the border into Canada, and back again to the United States.
Station 3:Counselor Bios – read about your child’s counselors and get to know then a a bit before you even meet them!
Station 4:Olim Class Bracelets – You’ll meet some Camp Board volunteers who will give your camper an Olim Class bracelet, printed with the year your camper will be in Olim (rising 10th graders). It is our hope that our campers will stay with us until their Olim Summer (and beyond as Machon and staff)! We also have a group of volunteer parents who organize Olim Class activities throughout the year so that campers can see their friends. Our hope is to get more Olim Class Parents who will volunteer to get their camper’s Olim class together for a fun activity. Consider stepping up and signing on to be an Olim Class Parent!
Our Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor will be in the Beit Am all morning. Feel free to visit with her for a few moments to review your camper’s plan for practice and tutoring while at camp.
We will also be selling yearbooks in the Beit Am. If you haven’t already purchased one online, and would like to purchase one, please stop at the yearbook table to complete an order form and leave a check (or cash) for $25.
Members of our Community Care Team, will be in the Beit Am all morning as well.
The Health Center
If your camper will take medication while at camp, please check in with the nurses in the Health Center. We want you to see your camper’s bubble packs from JDrugs so that you can verify that the medicine, dosage, and dispensing times are correct.
If you would like to speak privately to one of our nurses about your camper’s special medical needs, they will be available in the Health Center all morning.
It is best to visit the Health Center AFTER you’ve settled your camper into the cabin. There is no need to bring your camper with you to the Health Center to check on medication or speak with one of our nurses.
If you feel that you would like your camper present, please visit the Health Center BEFORE moving your camper into the cabin.
Please remember that absolutely no prescription medication in pill form or over-the-counter medication, vitamins, herbals or supplements in pill form taken daily, will be accepted by the nurses in the Health Center on Opening Day. All prescription medication taken in pill form either daily or as needed, and all over-the-counter medication, vitamins, herbals or supplements in pill form taken daily must be provided by JDrugs. All antihistamines, whether taken daily or as needed must be provided by JDrugs as well.
Dropping Off a Son and a Daughter
If you’ll be dropping off a son and a daughter on Opening Day, we recommend that you drive to your son’s cabin first so you can then easily drive to your daughter’s cabin. Because of the one-way flow of traffic on Opening Day, driving to your daughter’s cabin first will require you to exit camp, come back in through the front gate, wait in the line of cars entering camp, and then drive to your son’s cabin.
Your Camper’s Cabin
After completing the health screening and visiting the stations in the Beit Am (and for some, the Health Center), you’ll take your luggage tags, return to your car, and drive to your camper’s cabin. There, counselors will greet you and show you to the bed and cubby that have already been assigned and labeled with your camper’s name. Much time and thought goes into deciding bunk placement for each camper, and specific bed assignments within each cabin. Please respect this process and do not change, or ask to change, the location of your camper’s bed.
Once you’ve unloaded your car, please move it to our parking lot and walk back into camp to unpack with (not for!) your camper. By moving your car, you will allow other families to park near the cabins to unload their cars. Remember, hundreds of cars will be in camp on Opening Day along with hundreds of children. Please drive slowly and cautiously. The safety of our campers is our greatest concern – we’re counting on everybody’s cooperation.
After your camper is unpacked, place the luggage tags on the empty trunk, suitcase or duffel bag. Later in the day, we will remove all the tagged luggage from the cabins and place it in our storage facilities where it will remain until your camper packs to go home. Do not take your camper’s empty luggage home with you.
Once your camper is unpacked, you’ve written down their cabin number, and made sure your camper’s cell phone is WITH YOU, it will be time to say good-bye.
Experience has taught us that long good-byes by lingering parents are not best. Hugs and kisses and encouraging words are terrific, and the sooner you leave, the sooner your camper will begin acclimating to camp. Over the years, we’ve learned that the best way for our campers to adjust to camp is to begin establishing a relationship with their counselors as soon as possible, and to begin our camp program almost immediately.
Please remember to leave your dog at home, and that smoking is never allowed anywhere, at any time in camp. We anticipate that all parents will be on their way by 1:00 p.m.
Important Miscellaneous Items
- Please remember to leave any pets at home, and that smoking is never allowed anywhere at any time in camp.
- Full summer Olim – remember to bring your passport with you to camp for your amazing trip to Montreal!
- As in the past, we have partnered with Ivy Oaks Analytics, a public health company based out of Virginia that specializes in the control of ticks, mosquitos, and poison ivy at large campgrounds, parks, and summer camps. Although this has never been a major issue at Eisner, we feel very strongly that we have an obligation to our camp community to do everything in our power to reduce the risks associated with ticks, mosquitoes and poison ivy. Their process includes ongoing tick population measurements, landscape modification, natural control methods and more. Eisner is proud to be one of the few camps nationally with an advance public health standards certification by implementing this program.
(2nd- 5th grades)
|TZOFIM ( 9th grade)||OLIM (10th grade)|
|8:35||Hodaot (announcements)||Hodaot (announcements)||Hodaot (announcments)||Hodaot (announcments)||Hodaot (announcments)||Hodaot (announcments)|
|9:30||Chugim ( outdoor activity)||Limud||Swim Instruction||Art Instruction||Art Instruction||Sports|
|10:30||Limud||Sport Instruction||Chugim ( outdoor activity)||Swim Instruction||Ayzeh Kef ( counselor-led activity)||Art Instruction|
|11:30||Art Instruction||Swim Instruction||Limud||Sport Instruction||Chugim ( outdoor activity)||Becoming Olim|
|2:10||Sport Instruction||Art Instruction||Art Instruction||Ayzeh Kef ( counselor led activity)||Swim||Kesher|
|3:10||Swim Instruction||Chugim ( outdoor activity)||Sport Instruction||Kesher||Kesher||Ayzeh Kef ( counselor-led activity)|
|5:00||Shower Time||Shower Time||Shower Time||Chugim ( outdoor activity)||Sport Instruction||Swim|
|6:00||Dinner||Dinner||Dinner||Shower Time||Shower Time||Shower Time|
|6:45||ma'ariv (evennig prayer)||Ma'ariv (evening prayer)||Ma'ariv (evening prayer)||7:00 Dinner||7:00 Dinner||7:00 Dinner|
|7:15||Tochnit Erev (Evening Activity)||Tochnit Erev (Evening Activity)||Tochnit Erev (Evening Activity)||7:45 Ma'ariv||7:45 Ma'ariv||7:45 Ma'ariv|
|8:15||Bedtime Ritual||Back to Cabins||Tochnit Erev (Evening Activity)||Tochnit Erev (Evening Activity)||Tochnit Erev (Evening Activity)/ Hill Time|
|8:45||Bedtime Ritual||9:30 Bedtime Ritual||9:30 Bedtime Ritual||9:45 Bedtime Ritual|
|9:00||Laila Tov ( good night!)||9:15 Lailah Tov|
|10:00 Laila Tov||10:00 Laila Tov||10:15 Laila Tov|
The philosophy which guides the planning and implementation of our activities promotes building strong bodies and strong minds. We encourage healthy activity and food choices as well as time for rest, relaxation and fun! We want to make sure that our campers see the importance of making healthy and smart decisions through a lens of Jewish values, for themselves and the greater camp community. We hope that the things they learn in camp will carry over to their lives at home.
Weather permitting, all campers in K’tanim, Bonim, Chalutzim, and Ofarim receive instruction from American Red Cross (ARC) certified lifegaurds. Campers are tested during the first few days of each session to assess each camper’s individual swimming ability, and to determine appropriate instruction level placement. At the end of each session, campers receive official ARC swim cards based on the progress they have made. It is camp policy that girls must wear one-piece bathing suits during swim instruction, and those campers with long hair use hair ties. We recommend goggles (not scuba masks or nose plugs) for campers who are sensitive to chlorine. Our Chaverim and Tzofim campers participate in swim electives such as water polo and water aerobics. Olim campers have the option to participate in swim instruction, swim laps, take a lifeguard course (if enough are interested) or just enjoy free-style swimming in our pools.
Each day campers participate in one period of sports instruction. Campers have the opportunity to build on existing skills in a specific sport with an eye towards further improvement, or to begin to develop skills in a new sport. Campers choose from sports such as soccer, basketball, baseball, fitness/weight room, volleyball, tennis, self-defense, archery and group fitness. (Sports offerings vary from summer to summer.) Good sportsmanship, fitness, skill acquisition and fun are all important components of our sports program. Our experienced coaches teach all instructional sports, with group size ranging from 8 – 12 campers.
Several times throughout the summer, campers may choose to participate in a sports tournament with another camp. Campers sign up for each team and travel locally to represent Eisner. Good sportsmanship is stressed, and everyone has fun.
This period allows campers to explore their creative side. In past summers, arts options have included painting, drawing, music/recording studio, ceramics and pottery, drama, guitar and song leading, digital photography/video, jewelry design, graphic design, modern dance, Jewish cooking, makerspace, and a wide variety of crafts. In our Arts Village there is always something wonderful to create.
TEVA AND ADVENTURE- OUTDOOR EDUCATION
Each cabin will spend one day experiencing our ropes courses and outdoor nature program. With sleeping bags in hand, our campers “move” to our Teva (nature) camp sites to cook dinner, spend some special time away with their cabin, and sleep in tents under the stars. On our ropes courses, campers experience various group-bonding and trust activities that deepen the bonds of friendship between campers and allow them to enjoy some special time away from the rest of the camp.
MEALS DURING THE WEEK
On a normal camp day, bunks sit together with their staff for all meals. Most meals are served family style with other options at a buffet. Eisner is a kosher style facility. We do not have a kosher kitchen or kosher plates and utensils. However, we do not mix milk and meat, serve pork, shellfish, or products containing them, and do not permit such products on campgrounds. Whenever meat is served, a vegetarian option is offered. At least one snack is served every day. We are also able to accommodate campers on special, allergy or health-related diets. Please make us aware of your needs and requirements on the Health History Form and Food Allergies, Sensitivities & Special Diets Form.
As a camp community we begin every meal by reciting Hamotzi (blessing before the meal). We end our meal with the singing of B’rich Rachamana (Aramaic blessing after the meal) or Birkat Hamazon (blessing after the meal).
Each day includes breakfast favorites such as pancakes, French toast sticks, oatmeal, waffles, eggs or muffins. Cold cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, milk and orange juice are always available at the salad bar.
A kid-friendly lunch is served. Some favorites include pizza, sliders, chicken wraps, grilled cheese sandwiches, and macaroni & cheese. A full salad bar, soy butter and jelly and fresh fruit are always available.
Dinner favorites include tacos, chicken fajitas, baked ziti, meatball subs and chicken nuggets. A full salad bar, soy butter and jelly and fresh fruit are always available. Dinner ends with dessert.
Each week campers enjoy a barbeque of burgers and hot dogs. Soy butter and jelly and fresh fruit are always available.
On Friday evening we enjoy a traditional family style Shabbat meal of chicken, potatoes, a vegetable, soup salad and our famous Shabbat Sha-brownies!
The Saturday morning breakfast buffet includes items like bagels, lox, eggs, turkey bacon, hot chocolate, doughnuts, and more!
Canteen (MO is short for Mo’adon which means “lounge.”)
Each week, campers choose from a long list of sweets, slushies, and other snacks from our canteen. The treats at the Mo are included in your camp fees, so there is no need for campers to bring money to camp.
Sicha (conversation), a quiet time set aside each week, gives campers an opportunity to check in with one another and their counselors to make sure that each and every person in the cabin is living the values of V’ahavta L’rayacha Kamocha, love your neighbor as yourself. Through a series of guided questions, campers share both their accomplishments and challenges of the week gone by. Each cabin revisits their Bunk Brit (agreements), created on the first night of camp, to make sure they are following the rules they created for their cabin.
BREIRA (Free Choice)
Breira is a great opportunity for campers to be outdoors having fun with friends and staff. During Breira, campers are free to walk around camp and enjoy all the activities that camp has to offer. Some campers swim, go boating or play on our lake inflatables, others play sports or create crafts, and many just find a shady spot to relax with friends. The one place you won’t find campers during this time is in their cabins! Staff members are stationed around camp to supervise the campers. A snack is available to campers each day during Breira.
Tochnit Erev (Evening Activity)
Each unit’s counselors work closely with our program directors and unit heads to plan evening programs for their campers. Some programs are social, such as pool parties or wacky Olympics, while others are content based, such as those dealing with peer pressure and bullying. We also have Judaic programs that teach campers about topics such as Israel or Jewish values. Several times each session the entire camp community comes together for camp-wide programs: special concerts, July 4th carnival, square dance, all-camp dance, a unit’s play, etc. Each evening program closes with the entire unit singing the beautiful bedtime Shema.
MENUCHA (REST HOUR)
After an activity-packed morning, campers need to take a break. During Menucha, or rest hour, campers spend quiet time in their cabins. Some sleep, others read or play quiet games with bunkmates. This is the time when many campers write letters home to family and friends.
CHUGIM (Outdoor Activity)
Chugim include a wide variety of activities from which campers choose. In the past, Chugim have included tennis, running and exercise, flag football, street hockey, biking, table tennis/game room, Magic: The Gathering, Ultimate Frisbee, Israel Scouting, gardening, and caring for the animals in our farm.
Each Sport Instruction, Art Instruction and Chugim rotation lasts for 3-5 days. Every effort is made to give campers their first choices!
AYZEH KEF (literally, “What Fun!” )
The upper camp Ayzkey Kef periods are for fun-filled activities that our counselors create and run each day for our older campers. Campers can experience all sorts of creative, wacky fun. Past options have included The Amazing Race, Decade Dancing, Finger Painting, Picnic Games and Harry Potter-inspired Quidditch.
Good hygiene is an important part of camp! We set aside a “shower hour” everyday for campers.
Before the lights are turned off, each cabin enjoys a bedtime ritual. Some counselors read aloud chapters in a book, some share stories from their day, some sing, and some invite faculty members or other staff to come tell stories or sing with their guitars. It is a wonderful way for our campers to wind-down before they go to sleep, and a very soothing way to say Laila Tov – good night!
Laila Tov (Good Night)!
After a long day full of Eisner activity and fun, it is time for bed. When the campers are all settled in their beds, one counselor stays in the cabin with the campers, and the others may enjoy some social time in the staff lounge or in Great Barrington. There is a roving “shmira” on-duty until counselor curfew to make sure that everybody is safe and sound.
Our Campers Also Enjoy
During first session, our younger units (K’tanim, Bonim, Chalutzim and Ofarim) spend one fun-filled day out of camp, and our older units (Chaverim, and Tzofim) enjoy a two-day overnight trip. Olim campers enjoy a four-day trip to Montreal. During second session, all campers will enjoy one day-long trip. On Trip Day in past summers, units have traveled to: Zoar Outdoor for an exhilarating day of whitewater rafting, Ramblewild for an adventurous day of climbing at this tree-to-tree adventure park, amusements parks like Six Flags, Quassy Park and Lake Compounce and visited local attractions such as the Norman Rockwell Museum, The Cove (our local bowling alley), The Berkshire Museum, and Lake Mansfield. Our overnight trips include excursions to Cape Cod and Lake George. Trip Day destinations for each unit will be made available to our families in the spring.
Campers enjoy special camp fairs throughout the summer such as our annual Fourth of July Carnival and Chagigah, an arts festival showcasing our campers’ artwork, music and dance. In past summers, other fairs have included a Tzedakah Fair, during which our older campers teach our younger campers about various charitable organizations.
MACCABIAH – COLOR WAR
Our second session campers experience this special multi-day event. Campers are divided into four teams and compete in a variety of sports, arts, dance, and song competitions. Good sportsmanship, fun and lots of Ruach (spirit) are all parts of Maccabiah.
Some of our campers will travel on an optional trip to Tanglewood in nearby Lenox to enjoy the Boston Symphony Orchestra and other musical performances in this beautiful outdoor concert venue.
JEWISH LIFE AT CAMP
MA’ARIV EVENING PRAYER
Every evening after dinner each unit comes together for an prayer experience. Ma’ariv is always age-appropriate, full of song, and led by campers and their counselors. By the end of each camp session, campers are familiar with the prayers included in these short daily services and are prepared to participate in services in their home congregations.
KESHER – CONNECTION
Kesher is our camp-style informal and creative Jewish education program for our older campers (grades 8 – 10). In the spring, our campers complete an online survey telling us which contemporary Jewish subjects they would like to “connect” and through which modality (art, music, texts, etc.) they would like to make the connection. The rabbis, cantors and educators on our faculty create and lead exciting courses based on the survey results. This camper-centered curriculum changes each summer depending on what our campers tell us they would like to learn. Kesher 2019 included courses on Hebrew, Jewish values, greening, relationships, Israeli culture and more.
LIMUD – LEARNING
Our younger campers (grades 3 – 7) actively participate in Limud, our camp-style informal and creative Jewish education program. A committed group of rabbis, cantors, and educators outline and then teach a theme-based, project-based summer curriculum which is experiential, creative, and age-appropriate for each grade unit. Campers will explore a variety of Jewish concepts and values based on each grade unIt’s theme. This summer we will have a variety of Limud themes, including Israel, God, Torah, Mitzvot (religious obligations), Middot (Jewish values) and Tikkun Olam (repairing our world).
Shabbat at Camp
…is the highlight of the week. The excitement starts to build on Friday afternoon, as campers and staff prepare themselves and our facilities. Each unit cleans a designated area of camp and campers are given extra time to shower and dress for Shabbat. All campers and staff are required to wear white shirts on Shabbat evening.
Campers and staff join together to sing a few Shabbat songs before proceeding to the Chadar Ochel (dining hall) for a delicious Shabbat dinner. During this especially festive meal, campers may sit anywhere in the Chadar Ochel they choose. This is a wonderful opportunity for siblings, cousins, and friends from other cabins to enjoy Shabbat dinner together.
After dinner and Birkat HaMazon (the blessing after the meal), the whole camp family walks together to welcome Shabbat in our beautiful Beit T’filah (outdoor sanctuary). One unit prepares the camp-wide Shabbat T’filah each week, complete with artwork, dance, and song. Our Shabbat worship, with hundreds of young voices rising together in prayer, is truly magnificent and has a strong impact on the awakening spirituality of so many of our campers.
After T’filah, campers enjoy some Shabbat brownies al fresco – a treat that has become a camper favorite and affectionately called Shabbat Sha-brownies!
Our Shabbat celebration continues with an all-camp song session in the Beit Am led by our guitar-playing song leaders. The music ranges from traditional Shabbat melodies to contemporary Jewish rock, and the energy and ruach (spirit) generated is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Since we have many campers who prefer a quieter song session, we also have an acoustic song session in the Tzofim Beit. We offer “wild” and “mild” song sessions!
Our song sessions lead right into Israeli dancing outside on the Quad. High energy line and circle dances keep campers moving until each unit, in turn, heads back to their cabins. Laila Tov! Good night!
On Shabbat morning, campers sleep a bit later and an optional buffet breakfast is available in the Chadar Ochel prior to our Shabbat morning T’filah. Once again, Shabbat T’filah is held in the Beit T’filah and one unit acts as our Sh’lichei Tzibor, our leaders in prayer.
At the conclusion of our T’filah, we move right into Chofesh, free time, during which campers can enjoy some active outdoor time before lunch. Campers can play gaga, tether ball, and run around with friends and staff.
After a full Shabbat morning of song, worship and Chofesh, it’s time for Shabbat lunch, another rousing song session, and then it’s back to the cabins for Shabbat Menucha, some Shabbat rest.
Shabbat afternoon offers two hours of Breira (free choice). Campers are free to choose from almost every activity camp has to offer, such as tie-dying shirts in the art shack, swimming, boating, biking, reading, and just relaxing with friends. Campers may also enjoy special activities during Shabbat afternoon Breira. In the past, campers have enjoyed an Israeli Music Fair featuring modern Israeli music, a rousing Harry Potter birthday celebration and optional trips to The Norman Rockwell Museum, the Appalachian Trail and more. Staff members are stationed all around camp to supervise all our Shabbat Breira activities.
Later that afternoon, cabin groups come back together for a special cabin activity. A cabin may challenge another in a game of Ultimate or volleyball, while other cabins go for a walk, play a game or enjoy some cabin-bonding fun.
After all that activity, it’s time for dinner. After dinner, each unit says “goodbye” to Shabbat with their own beautiful outdoor Havdalah service separating Shabbat from the start of the new week. Shavuah Tov! Have a good week!
Shabbat at camp is a most unique experience. It overflows with song, worship, study, rest and friendship. On Shabbat, Eisner truly becomes a K’hila K’dosha, a holy community.
First Session Closing Day- July 24 | Second Session Closing Day- August 16
The camp sessions seem to go by so quickly and before we know it Closing Day arrives. We want to make sure that closing day is as smooth as possible.
Step 1: Arrival
Our gates will open at 9:00 a.m. Please plan on arriving no earlier than 9:00 a.m. To avoid long lines at the exit gate, we will stagger our pick-up times (and rotate them each summer). You will receive your pick-up times prior to closing day.
Upon arriving at camp, you will be directed to pull into the Town Hall parking lot just down the hill from camp, approximately a quarter mile towards the center of West Stockbridge.
Step 2: Luggage Pick Up
From Town Hall, cars will be directed to pull into camp through the red gates. You will drive directly to your child’s bunk. (If you have a son and a daughter being picked up from camp, you will be directed to drive to your son’s cabin to pick up his luggage, and your daughter’s luggage will be waiting for you below Boys Row.)
Upon arriving at your child’s bunk, camp staff will assist you in loading your child’s luggage. Your child will have already labeled each piece of their luggage and have placed it on his or her bed, to ensure nothing is left behind.
Step 3: Camper Pick Up
After loading all of your child’s belongings into your vehicle, you will be directed to our Lake Field where your child will be waiting for you. (In case of rain, your child will be waiting in the bunk for you along with their luggage.) In order to move the process expeditiously, it is very important that you pull your car up as far as possible and limit your time outside of your vehicle.
After reuniting with your child and once they have said their final goodbyes, you will be directed to drive out of camp through our back gate where you will collect any leftover medication and/or trip money. We will also ask you to sign your child out and show identification, so please have your driver’s license ready.
We appreciate your assistance and patience throughout the morning and ask you to keep the process moving as quickly as possible.
To ensure safety of our community, please leave your pets at home, and of course, smoking is not permitted anywhere on camp grounds.
FOR FULL SUMMER CAMPERS ONLY – Saturday, July 25 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
VISITING DAY ARRIVAL & SHABBAT
VISITING DAY – Saturday, July 25 from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
For Full Summer Campers only
Visiting Day Begins
At 9:30 a.m. we’ll open the gates to welcome families with full summer campers. Please follow the Opening Day driving and line-up procedures, making sure that you do not turn onto Brookside Road from Route 7, but turn onto Kellogg and Boardman Roads. When you arrive, we’ll direct you to one of our parking lots. After parking, you’ll walk over to the Rabbi Aaron D. Panken Beit T’filah, our Outdoor Sanctuary. All campers will be in their cabins cleaning up after breakfast and will join you in the Beit T’filah at around 10:30 a.m. You’ll be able to relax in our Beit T’filah while you await the arrival of your camper, and we’ll have bathrooms and cold water available for you!
Together we’ll enjoy a short Shabbat morning T’filah. We are so excited for you to join us for a camp-style Shabbat morning T’filah so you can experience the Ruach, joy and energy, of our T’filah at camp. No families will be able to take their camper out of camp or go their camper’s cabin until AFTER our T’filah has ended.
After T’filah, each unit will gather for a Kiddush, a Shabbat snack, so parents and counselors can spend some time together and your camper can introduce you to their bunkmates. After the Kiddush, you are welcome to go and see your child’s cabin.
We’ll serve a BBQ lunch (we’ll ask for RSVP’s early July) or you can bring your child’s favorite lunch for a family picnic. We hope that you’ll stay on camp for a while! Visit our various specialty areas and meet our coaches and instructors, all of whom would love to meet and greet you.
The pool will be open, and we’ll have tennis racquets, basketballs, and soccer balls available to you. Last year many families took advantage of all that camp has to offer, enjoyed meeting their child’s counselors and coaches and instructors and told us what a wonderful day they had with their children.
Although you are more than welcome to spend the afternoon on camp, after lunch our staff will have some well-deserved time off and then begin final preparations for the next morning when we’ll welcome nearly 300 second session campers. Our staff will not be available to you after lunch. However, we will have lifeguards at the pool all afternoon.
Here are some ideas for your day in and around Great Barrington:
Museums and Historic Sites
20 Railroad Public House (sandwiches, salads, burgers) • Baba Louie’s (fancy pizza) • Barrington Brewery and Restaurant (sandwiches, salads, burgers) • Four Brothers Pizza Inn (pizza and Greek specialties) • GB Eats (upscale diner) • Great Barrington Bagel Company (bagels, sandwiches) • La Fiesta (Mexican) • Manhattan Pizza (pizza) • Bistro Box (sandwiches and amazing fries) • Shiro (Japanese) • The Marketplace (sandwiches and healthier fare) • SoCo Creamery (ice cream)
Visiting Day Ends – 7:00 p.m.
Please return to camp at 7:00 p.m. We ask that once again, you follow the Opening Day driving and line-up procedures, making sure that you do not turn onto Brookside Road from Route 7, but arrive back at camp from Route 7 via Kellogg and Boardman Roads. We’ll direct you to the Beit Am where our staff will be waiting to welcome our campers back into camp. After some quick final hugs, you’ll be on your way. Our staff will escort their campers back to their cabins to get ready for our evening program.
It is essential that ALL our campers return to camp at 7:00 p.m. Only at 7:00 p.m. will our staff be ready to greet campers and welcome them back into camp. We respectfully ask that you plan for this schedule so that all our campers can be properly welcomed, ensuring a smooth transition for each one.
Families with a full summer camper and a returning second session camper
If you would like to leave your returning (not new!) second session camper with us at the end of Visiting Day, you certainly can. You’ll return to camp at 5:00 p.m. so you’ll have ample time to drive up to the cabin area to move your second session camper into their cabin before all our full summer campers return to camp at 7:00 p.m. Your full summer camper can help their sibling move in!
Families with a full summer camper and a first session camper
If you would like to have your first session camper stay at camp for an extra day (NOT leave on Closing Day, Friday, July 24th) you certainly can. We’ll ask that you return to camp at 5:00 p.m. so you’ll have ample time to drive up to your first session camper’s cabin and load your car with all their already-packed belongings, before all our full summer campers return to camp at 7:00 p.m.
Please remember to leave your dog at home!
Staying in touch
CONTACTING THE CAMP
Office: (413) 528-1652
If you have a concern about your child’s health or medication, ask for the Health Center.
URJ Eisner Camp
53 Brookside Road
Great Barrington, MA 01230
SUMMER OFFICE HOURS
Sunday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST
Friday 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. EST
Saturday 1:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m. EST
In case of a true emergency, you will always be able to contact one of the directors. Just call camp, and follow the prompts on the recording.
LETTERS FROM THE CAMPERS
Although they may also choose to write to their friends or grandparents, campers are required to write two letters addressed to a parent each week. A check list for each cabin will be monitored by one of the directors to make sure that every camper has written a letter and addressed it to you. Please discuss your letter writing expectations with your child prior to Opening Day. This is especially important for children who live in separate homes with each parent.
It is a good idea to send envelopes and stamps in a zip-lock bag to protect them from the humidity. For our younger campers, we ask that you send at least 8 stamped envelopes that are already addressed to you (K’tanim 1 and 2 campers need to bring only 4.) This will ensure that the letters will not return to camp because of an unclear address.
The first letter you receive may not be the happiest especially from first time campers. Please remember that campers often take a few days to feel completely comfortable at Eisner and we are sure that subsequent letters will be more upbeat.
Your camper’s letters may be short and contain little information. Try sending a letter template with blanks for your camper to fill in. When the blanks are filled in the letter can be returned to you. (My favorite activity is…My new friends are…, etc.).
Remember that mail from Great Barrington can truly be “snail mail.” In the past, letters have taken as few as two days to reach home, and others have taken as long as five. Campers using CampInTouch’s email service (see below) may write eLetter Replies as their bi-weekly letters.
LETTERS TO CAMPERS
Campers love receiving mail, so be sure to write often. If you tire of writing letters, be creative. Send comics from the newspaper, sports articles, funny cards, etc., each with a short note. Rotate through your family, with parents writing one day, and another family member the next.
What you include (and do not include) in your letters is also important. It is in your camper’s best interest not to feel like they are missing too much at home or feel anxious about your wellbeing. Be careful not to elaborate about how desperately you miss them, or how terribly quiet the house is. Instead, ask lots of questions about activities and friends. This will help your camper structure letters back to you. Keep the closing of your letters simple – “I love you and miss you,” is great, but “I’m so lonely without you. I cannot believe you’ll be gone for so long,” is not!
We have an email system in place for you as well. Prior to the summer, we will send you information about writing to your camper via CampInTouch. Emails sent to camp through CampInTouch are printed and distributed to campers daily. Eisner has already paid your registration fee for this service, and we’ve even started you with some free credits that you can use when emailing your camper. You’ll be able to purchase additional credits at any time.
On Opening Day, please make note of your child’s bunk number and include it when addressing letters:
URJ Eisner Camp
P.O Box 569
Great Barrington, MA 01230
If you would like to write a letter to your camper before they leave for camp, so it will arrive during the first few days, it is okay not to include your camper’s bunk number on these first letters.
EMAILS TO AND FROM CAMP
CampInTouch email allows you to send one-way messages to your child that are printed at camp and delivered once a day at mail time (this means that if you send your camper multiple emails in a day they will receive them all at once!).
Each standard email uses 1 “CampStamp,” and additional stamps can be used to add extra options to your message. Every account has been pre-loaded with 2 CampStamps per camper, per login, per week, at no cost, and you can purchase additional stamps at any time using your credit card. CampStamps are $1 each, or slightly less if you buy them in quantity: $10 for 10 CampStamps, $14 for 15 CampStamps, $18 for 20 CampStamps or $25 for 30 CampStamps. Any rollover CampStamps from last summer will be automatically uploaded to your account to use for the summer.
If you would like, before you click SEND, you can check the box that says, “I would like a handwritten eLetter reply.” If you click this box, we will attach an eLetter Reply to your message. The eLetter Reply is a blank piece of paper with your name and a barcode on it that is unique to you. Your camper receives two pieces of paper: one is your eLetter, and the other is this blank eLetter Reply. Your camper writes you a letter on the eLetter Reply and gives it to us. We send it to CampInTouch and the eLetter Reply appears instantly in your email inbox as a PDF file. Each page of eLetter stationery has a unique printed bar code.
Since you are charged a CampStamp only when your camper completes and returns the eLetter Reply to you, we recommend you print a whole stack of eLetter Replies before your camper leaves for camp so the eLetter Replies will be familiar. You can do this by clicking on the eLETTER STACK option when you’re in the email screen. Pack this stack of eLetter Replies with your camper’s belongings. Remember, you will only be charged a CampStamp for the eLetter Replies your camper completes and gives us to send to you.
More information about this service and the costs is included in the “Quick Start Guide” posted in your CampInTouch account. Please note that last year’s eLetter stationery will no longer function – you’ll need to request new reply emails with this year’s bar codes.
Here’s how the CampInTouch email system works:
- Log into your CampInTouch account
- Scroll down to Online Community
- Click on EMAIL – Your camper’s name will appear with a box next to it. If you have more than one camper, each camper’s name will appear.
- Place a check in the box next to the camper to whom you would like to send an eLetter.
Type your eLetter in the message box, and click SEND. It is that easy.
BLOG AND COMMUNICATIONS
We will post pictures on CampInTouch, write blog posts, and send weekly emails so that you can get a feel for what is going on at camp. You can access our Blog on our website under the Blog tab. Please check our Blog periodically so you can watch videos, read about special happenings at camp, and become a virtual part of our camp activity.
Parents can send photo postcards to your campers, friends, and family directly through your CampInTouch account. To send a postcard, hover over the photo you want to send and click on the stamp icon.
The CampInTouch Photos section is where you can view the most current photos from camp. You can mark your favorite pictures, purchase hi-res images and prints, and email photos directly to your friends and family.
Prior to the camp session, you will receive additional information about the Summer Services within your CampInTouch account. We have photographers constantly snapping pictures at camp. The photos are uploaded once each day. The upload time depends on the photographer’s schedule and the data transmission speed of our internet connection on any given day. We try to get every camper’s picture onto our site, but some campers run towards the camera and some runaway. Please be patient!
Below is our broad photo uploading schedule:
- Photos will be posted once each day, by the time you wake up the next morning.
- You can expect 200-300 photos to be uploaded each day.
- Camp wide special event photos (such as Trip Day, the play, and evening Maccabia events) will often be posted a day or two after they happen.
Additionally, parents often call after viewing a picture of their camper without a broad smile, or not standing with their friends, or not seemingly engaged in the activity at hand, or wearing long sleeves on a hot day, or wearing someone else’s sweatshirt, or standing alone, or on a different team from their best friend, and so on and so on. Please do not worry. Remember that each photo is a snapshot of one moment in a very long action-packed day at camp. We do our best to give you a taste of what is going on at camp each day. Please remember, It is only a taste and not photojournalism!
Eisner Camp will not accept any camper packages. This includes boxes or large mailing envelopes of any size. Camp will only accept up to a standard #10 size business envelope (4-1/8″ x 9-1/2″).
Of course, we understand that sometimes sending items to camp will be necessary. If your camper has forgotten something (e.g., a teddy bear) or needs something new (e.g., sneakers or more sunscreen), you will be able to send these items to camp.
Please email us at email@example.com to let us know that a package is on its way, and what your camper can expect to find inside when opened with a staff member. Please note that this will be done on an exception-only basis and unless we know a package is coming, we will refuse to accept it at camp. We will respond to your email letting you know that it is indeed okay to send the package. Last summer we received many emails from parents telling us that they were sending things that were not truly necessities and were in conflict with our package policy (i.e. nail polish, water guns, Maccabiah clothing) and we asked them not to send the package.
This policy puts us in line with the policies of many other camps. We are grateful for your cooperation.
COMMUNICATION WITH CAMP
Phone calls and emails to camp
There may be times during your child’s stay at Eisner when you’ll call camp.
If you have a specific concern about your child, ask for Laura Gurvis or email her directly. Laura, our Associate Director, works with our newly expanded and highly-trained Community Care Team which oversees every aspect of our camp community. The team focuses much of its time on campers who need extra support while at camp, those who struggle with adjusting to life at camp and anybody who might need an additional helping hand and compassionate ear. We will soon send you the name of your camper’s unit’s Community Care Team Advisor and her direct email. Either she, or Laura, will respond to your call or email with information about your camper.
Our other Directors, James Gelsey, Eva Gruenberg, Nicki Poliak and Adam Kohane are also available to help you. With over 500 campers, we receive many phone calls and emails each day. Please be patient with us – most of the day we’re out of our offices and around camp with your children. Your call or email will be returned as soon as possible.
Please don’t call just to check on your camper. If we have any concerns, rest assured, we’ll call you. Remember that the first letter from your camper may take up to a week to arrive. Don’t assume that something is wrong just because you haven’t heard anything right away.
PHONE CALLS FROM CAMP
It is our policy that campers are not permitted to use the phones at camp to call home. However, the Directors or Medical Staff will call you if there is a question or concern about your camper.
If your camper celebrates a birthday while at camp, we make sure it’s a special one. After breakfast or lunch, a birthday cake is presented to the birthday camper along with a birthday crown, and the entire camp sings “Yom Huledet Sameach” (Happy Birthday). The birthday cake is shared by bunkmates as a special dessert.
If you would like to speak to your camper on their birthday, please call or email Laura Gurvis a few days prior to the birthday so we can make arrangements to bring your camper to the phone at a designated time. You know your camper best; if you think hearing your voice might be upsetting, a birthday phone call might not be the best idea. Please have all family members present for the short birthday phone call. Separate calls from parents, older siblings, grandma and grandpa cannot be allowed since the calls would be too disruptive to the camper’s schedule.
Your camper cannot call you on your birthday, or on the birthday of other family members. Again, as little disruption as possible to your camper’s day is best.
Please do not offer your camper’s counselor extra money for a bunk birthday party or send a package with birthday favors for your camper’s bunk. We will not accept the money or the package. All birthdays at Eisner are celebrated the same, special way. We ask that you not send flowers or balloons or attempt to drop off packages (or have others send/drop off birthday packages on your behalf). Please let your camper know that they will receive all presents when returning home.
Remember, we will not automatically bring your camper to the phone on their birthday. We will call only if you have contacted camp to arrange a mutually convenient time for the call.
At camp we live our best unplugged life! We ask our campers to unplug their electronics…and plan to plug into your friends, the outdoors, and Jewish life at camp!
Al tifrosh min hatzibur
Do not separate yourself from the community!
Please leave your electronics at home…where they will be perfectly safe until you return!
Exceptions: You are welcome to bring any of the following:
- an mp3 player without touch screen
- a CD player
- an inexpensive digital camera.
And those are the only electronics that are welcome at camp.
Like all camps, we have given serious thought to this issue. Like many camps, we have chosen to differentiate between time at camp versus the rest of the year. We have learned that camp is very different…and that is what makes it so special.
After careful consideration, our Electronics Policy is designed to:
- encourage our campers to spend more time off their beds and outdoors
- promote socialization between campers
- remove the divide between “the haves, and the have-nots”
- reduce the stress associated with the damage to and theft of electronics
- give campers a much-needed break from the world of technology
- allow campers to fully embrace and “plug into” the connections they make with other campers as they “unplug” from their electronics
- ensure that our campers are not exposed to age-inappropriate material
Now for the details about acceptable electronics.
If your camper must have their music at camp, either for fun or Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation, please send:
- an inexpensive mp3 player, or
- an iPod that does not have a touch screen (both the shuffle and nano models are welcome.)
We will not allow any mp3 players/mobile devices with touch screens. This way we can ensure that our campers cannot watch videos, TV shows, movies or access the internet. As such, campers may not bring any smartphones, even if the SIM card has been removed. We feel so strongly about not allowing our campers to have any touch screen devices in hand, that we will confiscate any iPod/mp3 player with a touch screen and return it to you on Closing Day.
We encourage you to send an inexpensive digital camera or disposable cameras. (Make sure you pack enough memory cards and batteries.) Please discuss proper handling of the camera and how pictures should be taken of bunkmates only with their permission. Please leave expensive cameras at home.
GAMEBOYs, PSPs, NINTENDO DS
No electronic hand-held game devices will be allowed in camp.
We will confiscate any Gameboys, PSPs, Nintendo DSs or other hand-held electronic devices and return them to you on Closing Day.
It is our long-standing policy that campers may not bring cell phones to camp. Cell phone use at camp is counter to the values we teach and uphold at Eisner and interferes with an important peer aspect of the overnight camp experience. We know that one of the reasons you send your camper to camp is so that they can take a break from technology. Although cell phones have been strictly prohibited at camp for many years, some families choose to ignore this policy. When you allow your camper to break the rules and take a cell phone to camp, your camper quickly learns that the rules do not apply to them and your family.
When campers bring a phone to camp it:
- leads to conflicts within the cabin
- allows campers to focus on their friends at home rather than their friends at camp
- enables campers to call parents when they need advice instead of turning to their peers or counselors
- prevents campers from problem solving
As a result, we maintain a zero-tolerance cell phone policy.
Our policy sends a very clear message. If we learn that any camper has a cell phone in camp, we will take it away; call their parent; and require a parent to come to camp to take their camper home for three days. There will be no reimbursement of camp tuition for this suspension.
Please take the time to discuss this policy with your camper. In the past, campers have hidden their cell phones in their bags without their parents’ knowledge. Parents will be held responsible if their camper does not comply with the cell phone policy regardless of how the cell phone arrived at camp.
LAPTOPS, NETBOOKS, iPADS, KINDLES, NOOKS
Campers are not permitted to have these, or similar electronic devices, in camp. Please make sure you purchase, and pack, any books your camper might be required to read from their school’s summer reading list.
ONE LAST WORD ON ELECTRONICS…
From our front-line experience over the years, we can reassure you that these policies prove themselves worthy and that campers are resilient. They adjust quickly, and we do our part to help them power down, unplug, and take a well-needed break from the world of electronics.
Please re-read the description of those few items that we do allow at camp. At the same time, please be respectful of the usage limitations we have in place. While re-reading we encourage you to note the sentences where we have used boldface. In your camper’s best interests, it is very important that you adhere to these requirements. If you have any questions or want further clarification, please contact one of the Directors at 201-722-0400.
Health + Safety
We work hard to make sure that everyone remains healthy at camp. Yet we also understand and prepare for when our campers feel unwell. We have a wonderful group of supportive medical staff that will take care of them in our newly renovated health center. The Health Center serves a variety of purposes and has rooms for campers that may not be able to stay in the bunk as well as an area with treatment rooms.
HEALTH CENTER STAFF
Registered nurses staff our Health Center 24 hours a day. Most of our camp nurses work as school nurses throughout the year and are both experienced and comfortable treating children and communicating with parents. We also have a physician in residence who is on call 24 hours a day and in the Health Center for daily health calls and for emergencies. Most of our nurses and doctors return to us summer after summer and know our campers and our procedures very well.
EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT VISITS
Our nurses and physician will decide if a camper or staff member must be brought to the Emergency Department (ED). Should your camper require emergency medical care, including x-rays or any laboratory evaluation, we will bring them 1.4 miles away to the Fairview Hospital ED and will contact you, or the person you designated as your emergency contact, before your camper leaves for the ED. A counselor or nurse will accompany your camper and stay with them until they return to camp. In the unlikely event that an ambulance must be called to transport your camper to the Fairview Hospital ED, one of the camp directors will accompany them. Our nurses and physician will update you when your camper is seen in the ED and when they return to camp.
COMMUNICATING WITH THE HEALTH CENTER
Our nurses will call you if your camper:
– has received treatment from the camp doctor
– visits the Health Center frequently with the same complaint
-is ill and will need to spend the night in the Health Center
-has an ingrown toenail (a common camp affliction)
-has lice or nits
-needs to receive outside medical attention
and if they have any concerns regarding your child’s health or medication.
Our nurses will not call you if your camper comes to the Health Center with a stomachache, headache, splinter, to get ice for a bump or any other common ailment.
If you have any concerns about your camper’s health or medication, you can reach the Health Center directly at 413-528-8683. Please be patient with our Health Center staff who may not be able to answer the phone since they are busy with our campers — they will call you back as soon as possible.
Ill at Camp
When a camper has fever and must spend the night in the Health Center, one of our nurses will call you. We will make sure your camper is as comfortable as possible and we will update you late the next morning to let you know how they’re doing. One of our nurses sleeps overnight in the Health Center and is always available to those campers spending the night.
When a camper is febrile for 72 hours, with no break in fever, if often makes sense for them to go home to see a specialist or their own physician. Our camp doctor will ask you to partner with them to make the best decision and plan for your child.
OTHER HEALTH NEEDS
Crutches, Casts and Orthopedic Boots
Campers need to be able to move independently around camp’s hilly and uneven terrain. Since campers on crutches cannot safely navigate camp, nor is camp able to help them get around camp on a regular basis, campers on crutches cannot come to camp. If an injury sustained at camp requires the use of crutches, the camper will need to go home.
If a camper requires an orthopedic boot, and it can easily come off and on for daily bathing and swimming, they can attend/remain at camp.
Casts on the wrist or arms must be waterproof so that campers can independently shower on a daily basis. Because of hygiene concerns, plaster casts will not be allowed at camp.
Dozens and dozens of campers will come to camp this summer with braces, retainers and other orthodontic devices. Please discuss proper care of all orthodontics with your camper prior to their time at camp.
Sometimes a wire or bracket on a camper’s braces breaks or loosens and causes discomfort. We can take the camper to our local orthodontist so that he can make adjustments to stop the discomfort. We will always call you before we make an appointment for your camper.
If your camper’s glasses break while at camp, we will send the glasses to our local optician for repair. If the glasses cannot be fixed, we will ask you to send another pair. It’s a good idea to send your camper with the last pair of glasses they wore prior to the ones they are currently wearing. It’s always good to have a back-up pair on hand.
Yes, the tooth fairy visits Eisner Camp. Well, sort of. Campers who lose teeth while at camp will be given a container to store the tooth until they get home and can place it under their pillow. Our Community Care Team will also give the toothless camper a sweet treat.
Clean and Healthy Campers
Our campers are responsible for their own personal hygiene. We expect them to shower everyday with soap, wash their hair with shampoo, change their underwear, socks and clothes, brush their teeth and wash their hands after they use the toilet. We expect that they will apply bug spray and sunscreen daily and that they will drink plenty of water. However, they are children and we know many of them will need lots of cueing by our counselors and nurses to take proper care of themselves. Although we will gently remind our campers to complete all these tasks, you can help us by discussing these expectations with your camper and practice, practice, practice doing these things without you while they are still at home!
Your camper’s safety and security are a top priorities at Eisner Camp. Our professional security staff is on duty 24 hours a day to insure the safety of the entire Eisner community. The front gate remains locked at all times and can only be opened by our security staff who also make periodic checks throughout the entire campgrounds.
Working in partnership with the other URJ Camps across North America and our Israeli security consulting firm, we have created, over the last two decades, thoughtful and sophisticated safety and security protocols and procedures that address a wide range of concerns. These protocols are updated annually, and we train our camp supervisors and camp staff prior to every summer so they are prepared to work as a team to insure a secure camp environment. We have a close relationship with the Great Barrington Police and Fire Departments, so we can work collaboratively if need be. The confidence of our camp community in our professionalism is essential to our success.
If you’ll be coming to camp during either session, with the director’s advance permission, park your car in the Visitor’s Lot. Call security from the call box by the gate. Please be patient as our security staff radios one of the directors to let them know of your arrival in camp and receives further direction.
Policies + Resources
Cabin assignments are made by the Camp Directors after careful consideration of appropriate placement. The Directors must consider:
- the balance of new and returning campers
- the numbers of one session and full summer campers
- how many bunk beds fit in each cabin
- the recommendations of Unit Heads and counselors from previous summers
- camper requests
Juggling all this information and making everybody happy is quite a challenge! When you registered your child, we asked you for the names of two campers with whom your child would like to share a cabin. Although we are interested in knowing the wishes of parents and campers regarding cabin placement, our experience has shown us that part of the fun of camp is to experience meeting new people and learning to live in a group situation. A successful new friendship can be the most rewarding aspect of the camp season. At camp, friendships come quickly.
If you decide not to make a cabin request for your child, we will surely place them in a cabin that we feel is best.
We do not accept negative cabin requests (“Please do not place my child with…”). This is counter to the values of inclusion and tolerance that we teach at Eisner. V’ahavta L’rayacha Kamocha, Love Your Neighbor as Yourself, is a Jewish value that we embrace. At camp, as in life, we do not all have to be best friends, but we must get along and treat one another with kindness and respect. Living these values is part of our Mission Statement and paramount to the community we create at Eisner. We teach campers the importance of getting along with EVERYBODY in their cabin and continuously teach and model the social skills to help them do so.
We also cannot accept requests for particular bed placement (bottom bed, top bed, must be away from the bathroom, not near the corner of the cabin…). These requests, if accepted, would make it impossible for us to effectively place campers in cabins. If, for medical reasons, your child needs a top or a bottom bed, you may make a bed placement request.
There are times when, in the best interest of the child and other children, cabin requests cannot be honored. In these few cases, we hope that you will trust our professional judgment.
We will not accept any cabin requests after June 1, 2019. Cabin assignments are given out on Opening Day when you check your child into camp. Absolutely no cabin changes will be made at that time.
Parents often ask if they can tip their camper’s counselors. It is the policy of all URJ camps that staff members may not accept gratuities. If they do, they jeopardize their position at camp. Instead, we encourage you to make a contribution to Eisner Camp in honor of your camper’s counselors and the good work they have done. Your contributions are tax-deductible, and can be made online (the website will be shared at the end of the session) or by contacting our Development Associate, Marisa Bergman. The counselors being honored will be notified of your generosity.
It is our policy that no pets are allowed on camp grounds at any time. Please be sure to leave your pets at home on Opening Day, Visiting Day, and Closing Day.
Parents cannot attend Shabbat T’filah or unit plays while their camper is in camp. This policy was created in the best interest of our campers. We want to avoid campers becoming distraught when their parents leave, other campers being sad that their parents couldn’t attend, and parents becoming angry when asked to leave camp after T’filah or the play. (We’ll be live streaming all our plays again this summer.)
Please respect this policy and do not come to camp while your camper is there. Parents who ignore this policy and come to camp will be asked to leave. We also ask that you do not attend Shabbat T’filah during second session with your first session camper, or vice-a-versa. The presence of any camper who is not enrolled for the session is very distracting and disruptive to those campers in attendance.
BAR/BAT MITZVAH PREPARATION
Campers who will become Bar or Bat Mitzvah in August, September, October, November or December 2020 will meet bi-weekly with our Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor and faculty members. Each student will meet with our tutor for individual lessons each week and with our faculty for a group lesson each week as well. Please make sure you complete the Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation form (found on the “Forms & Documents” page of your CampInTouch account) and that you send two copies of all study and preparation materials. Our goal is to help your camper maintain what they have already learned prior to coming to camp, not to teach new material.
EVALUATIONS AND SURVEYS
Halfway through each session we ask our campers to complete a “How Ya’ Doing” evaluation so that we can make sure that each of our campers is having an amazing time at camp. This survey, completed by the campers with no staff present and read only by the Directors and Community Care Team, allows campers to be completely honest. Some of our campers will share information in writing that they might not be comfortable expressing to a staff member. Getting this information from our campers mid-way through the session allows us to make changes and improvements while the campers are still at camp.
In order to create and maintain an inclusive Jewish Community at camp, one in which the Jewish values of Derech Eretz (civility) and Chesed (kindness) are always present, we encourage our campers to leave all Body Talk outside the gates of camp. By Body Talk we mean any mention of another’s clothes, hair, weight or height, positive or negative. Avoiding such language creates an environment of comfort and acceptance by all and for all. When campers feel they are not being judged by their peers, they can relax and be themselves. This is when real personal growth takes place and campers’ self-esteems flourish. As we eliminate Body Talk in our cabins, it is remarkable to see how easily our campers spread the message of simple self-acceptance.
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present. Mindfulness means slowing down, paying attention, being grateful, taking pauses to appreciate where you are, who you are, and whom you are with. It’s also about forgiveness and compassion and evaluating what’s important. It’s about acting as individuals while maintaining the perspective that we are all in this together. Judaism, at its very core, is all about mindfulness. And so is Eisner Camp! We’ll teach our campers some of the ancient wisdom of Jewish mindfulness and how they might include these lessons in their daily lives. In a variety of age-appropriate and engaging ways, we’ll talk about mindfulness while we eat our meals, enjoy the natural surroundings of camp, celebrate Shabbat and embrace the Jewish value of Hodayah, gratefulness.