We can’t wait to tell you more about A URJ Camp Eisner summer experience.   We’ve gathered our most commonly asked questions. As always, please call or email us to discuss further.

Campers range from ages of 7 to 17 and are entering grades 2-12. Most of our campers and staff members are from the greater New York and Boston areas, with representation from all over the Northeast as well as from across the United States and overseas. Most of our overnight camper families belong to Reform Jewish synagogues.

Eisner Camp strives to embody the “audacious hospitality” of the Reform Movement. We welcome campers and staff members from families of all kinds--including those with interfaith, same-sex or single parents--or those who themselves identify as LGBTQ.

Eisner and Crane Lake Camps are proud of our open, supportive and inclusive environments. The make-up of the URJ and our programs is 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 of our campers through the supportive nature of our people, staff, and programs.

What is the food like?

It’s pretty simple…our campers and staff love our food! Even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy our meals because of the variety we offer. We strive to serve all of our campers' dietary needs by offering a wide variety of meal options that are kid friendly and healthy. Vegetarian, gluten-free, and lactose-free alternatives are always available. Camp Eisner offers safe environment for campers with food allergies and always have a complete list of ingredients of our meals on hand. See more about our offering here (link). Please call our office to discuss any specific food questions.

Kosher Style?  What does that mean?

Meals are served kosher style, which means we do not serve milk and meat together. We are not a kosher facility, yet we do not serve pork or shellfish (or products containing them,) and they are not permitted on campgrounds. When meat is served, kosher and vegetarian options are offered, and a non-dairy dessert is served.

Our staff has been carefully selected by our camp directors. All staff members participate in an intensive training program before our campers arrive. This on-site training includes workshops led by our camp directors, outside professionals, and industry experts. Our bunk counselors are Jewish college and university students who bring abundant warmth and energy to our camp community - nearly 80% are alumni. Our various sports, aquatics, arts, adventure and nature specialists are both college and graduate students from all over the world who share their particular areas of expertise with our campers. A rotating group of dynamic rabbis, cantors and educators from our URJ congregations comes to camp to teach, worship and have fun with our campers. These faculty members join our community for one or two weeks at a time. Our education faculty is an essential part of the Reform Jewish community at camp. Approximately 35 energetic Israelis join our staff each summer as well to bring the Israeli culture to camp. They work as sports and nature specialists, bunk counselors, art specialists and more. They organize our annual Israel Day program, teach us Hebrew, and add an Israeli “flavor” to everything we do at camp.

Generally, we have at least one counselor for every five campers in each cabin. We position counselors to sleep in each of the corners of the cabin to ensure that campers can easily locate a counselor at night. We take great pride in our quality camper supervision; whenever campers are in their cabins, a counselor is there too. At night, when campers return to their bunks to go to sleep after their evening program, a counselor remains in the bunk to supervise the campers. All general counselors sleep in the cabin with the campers.

Our goal at camp is to maintain your child's health. Our wonderful 24-hour Health Center is staffed by registered nurses and a physician, all of whom live on camp property. Our Health Center is equipped with supplies to deal with minor injuries and illnesses. Our medical staff coordinates and monitors all daily medication distribution along with any as-needed medications directed to campers. All over-the-counter or prescription medication (except in certain instances like asthma inhalers, nose sprays and creams) are locked in our infirmary and only available to campers as distributed by our medical staff. We have a great relationship with our local emergency service departments. If necessary, the local hospital is a five-minute drive from camp, and emergency services are available immediately.

Laundry is sent out once each week at camp (no additional fee). On the first day of the session, each camper receives an individual laundry bag. Each week, all laundry bags are picked up and returned within 24 hours filled with clean, folded clothes.

We take safety and security at camp very seriously. All of the camp directors participate in extensive professional training to handle minor and major safety and security situations. In addition, all of our summer staff are trained to manage and handle safety and security situations during our pre-camp orientation. During the summer, we have 24-hour, on-site security staff that monitors and keeps camp safe. Access to camp is restricted and available only through a security gate. All visitors must sign in before entering the site.

Eisner Camp does not accept packages. This includes boxes or large mailing envelopes of any size. Camp will only accept up to a standard #10 business envelope (4-1/8"x9-1/2"). Click below to learn more about this policy. Please email eisnerpackages@urj.org BEFORE sending any package to camp and await a reply. Please note that this will be done on an exception-only basis. Unless we know a package is coming, we will refuse to accept it at camp.

After much conversation with our staff, the Eisner Crane Lake Board of Directors, and other summer camp directors, we’ve decided to make a significant change to our existing package policy. Starting this summer, our camps will no longer accept 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").

Our experience through the years has shown us that our current system of accepting packages from families cannot be sustained. We believe this decision is truly in the best interests of our campers. Here’s why:

  • The volume of packages that arrives in camp each day creates a community of “have and have-nots” and undermines our efforts to create a Jewish community in which each camper feels that he or she is valued and treated equally.
  • Some campers don’t receive any packages, which leads to feelings of sadness and jealousy; others receive so many packages they literally cannot manage all of the “stuff” in their cabins.
  • Our staff spends hours organizing and sorting hundreds of packages daily, giving them less time to spend with campers.
  • Empty packages produce a tremendous amount of waste.
  • Campers sacrifice much of their free time in the afternoon retrieving packages from the mailroom.
  • With the current load of packages, UPS and Fed Ex trucks drive in and out of camp several times a day, forcing campers from the roads.
  • Sadly, many parents do not respect our no-food policy, and others forget to share that policy with extended family members. The food, candy and gum that arrives in these packages (hidden or otherwise) must be taken away, disappointing the camper.
  • Parents have told us that it is expensive and burdensome to fill and mail packages, and that they often feel pressure to do so.
  • Other Jewish overnight camps which have instituted similar no-package policies report that the burden it lifted from parents, campers, and camp staff has been positively received.

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., running shoes), you will be able to send those types of items. Please email eisnerpackages@urj.org BEFORE sending any package to camp and await a reply. Please note that this will be done on an exception-only basis. Unless we know a package is coming, we will refuse to accept it at camp. Full-summer and second session Olim campers should come to camp with all of their Maccabiah color garb and gear. More information on our new process will be included in the parent materials sent later this spring.

This new policy puts us in line with the policies of many other camps.  We hope you agree that this is a positive change, and we are grateful for your cooperation. Thank you in advance for doing your part to ensure that Eisner and Crane Lake Camps live according to their values and principles.

Eisner Camp is located in Great Barrington, a small town in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts.

All cabins have indoor plumbing with toilets, showers and sinks. Campers and staff sleep on bunk beds (all top bunks have bed rails). Storage units (cubbies) are provided in every cabin for campers to store their belongings. Campers participate in keeping their bunks clean each day, and camp’s housekeeping staff clean all of the bathrooms on a regular basis.

Yes, the Union for Reform Judaism requires that all camp and travel program participants, staff and faculty must be immunized. For more information, read the URJ Policy Statement on Vaccine Status.

 

Eisner Camp is accredited by the American Camp Association and must comply with regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and be licensed by the local Board of Health.