Say hello to overnight Jewish camping

Overnight Jewish camp registrations are happening now, and Jewish Cincinnati is trying to make the experience as accessible as possible to new campers. Parents whose children have never experienced overnight Jewish camp have access to grants funded by The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati and administered by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. In addition, many synagogues and camps provide additional grants, need-based scholarship funding and payment plan options.

A first-year grant of up to $1,800 and a second-year grant of up to $1,000 are available to all Cincinnati Jewish youth attending an approved nonprofit overnight Jewish camp.  

With over 100 camps nationally, there’s an overnight Jewish camp that’s perfect for your children! Camps offer programs for children, pre-teens, and teenagers, with specific programming geared toward the interests and experiences of every age. Newly established Jewish specialty camps enable children to hone a specific skill or interest within the context of Jewish values, including teamwork, fair play, and ruach (spirit). Whether your children are interested in perfecting a jump shot, sharpening acting skills, improving a tennis stroke, directing a film, or learning how to farm organically, there is a specialty camp that fits their needs.

"Overnight Jewish camping is the single most important tool for Jewish identity building in our congregation,” said Rabbi Sandford Kopnick of The Valley Temple.

When choosing an overnight Jewish camp, investigate as much as you can in advance of enrolling your child by visiting the camp’s website to learn about features, programs, facilities, and daily schedules. While websites provide plenty of useful information, the best way to get a sense of the environment is to visit while the camp is in session. Look for drive-up appeal—not whether it is rustic or modern but how well it is maintained, cleanliness, how the staff greets visitors, and if they know the campers by name when walking through the grounds. If you have missed the summer tours, try to gauge camp culture through conversations with the camp director, veteran families, or your child's friends who have attended the camp. Narrow down your options to about four or five camps, taking into account size, activity offerings, atmosphere, security, cost, and location. Look for a camp that best accommodates both your and your child's interests. It may be helpful to involve your child in the search to ensure that his or her needs and expectations are met.

Camp is a transformative experience in the life of a child. It’s a safe, supportive, nurturing environment, where kids are encouraged to try new things. Jewish camp fosters Jewish values, culture, and traditions into adulthood. Research consistently shows that children who have a Jewish camp experience are more likely to become adults who value their Jewish heritage, support Jewish causes, and take on leadership roles.

“If your child has talked about overnight Jewish camping, or if you just want to find out what amazing options and opportunities are available, act today and your child could be looking forward to a truly unique and magical summer!” said Overnight Jewish Camping Grant Administrator Karyn Zimerman.


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