What is your philosophy for camping?
Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps are designed to help Jewish youth develop personal identity and self-esteem, build relationships, learn about Judaism, have fun and increase their long-term commitment to their families, synagogues and communities. At camp, Judaism is not merely a programming device–it is our essence. The pattern of our day is uniquely Jewish. Prayer is a component. Meals are blessed. Many of the songs we sing are in Hebrew or have Jewish content. Our creative arts reflect our culture. Programming focuses on a theme with which campers become familiar. While knowledge acquisition is valued, the deepening of identity and commitment is our primary goal.
If my child doesn't attend any "formal" Jewish educational programs will they be comfortable at Camp?
Our campers come from a wide variety of Jewish backgrounds. Some come from Jewish day schools, some from two-night-a-week religious school, and some have no “formal” Jewish education. The beauty of camp is that everyone feels comfortable. By living in a Jewish environment for a period of time, any and all Jewish practice “feels” natural and it is not awkward at all. We are very aware of our campers' diverse backgrounds and ensure that all of our practice and education is appropriate and accessible to everyone in our community.
Which camp is right for my child?
The main difference between Gindling Hilltop Camp (GHC) and Camp Hess Kramer (CHK) is the size and location of the two camps. Both of these elements impact the camp culture and community. However, at both camps, the ratio of campers to staff is the same, the food is the same, the activities are the same (except that CHK has tennis while GHC does not), and both staffs are trained under the same administration.
Camp Hess Kramer is set in a valley and right off the beach. CHK is home to 280 campers plus staff per session. If your child wants to be in a bigger group setting where there are three units for different ages, you should sign them up for Camp Hess Kramer. At CHK, campers sit with their cabins at every meal, and evening programs are done with their unit or age group exclusively.
Gindling Hilltop Camp is at the top of the mountain overlooking the entire Pacific Ocean, and has around 120 campers plus staff per session. If you are looking for an intimate setting for your child where they know every other camper at camp, then GHC is for you. At Gindling Hilltop Camp, all evening programs are done as an entire camp community, and because of the size, meals are “open seating” where campers can sit with different (or the same) friends at every meal.
Many campers in the past have gone to both camps over the course of their time at Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps, and for some families the decision of which camp to attend may come down to something as simple as scheduling their camper's session during the summer.
Where do the campers come from?
The majority of our campers come from the greater Los Angeles area, with significant numbers attending camp from San Diego, Orange County, Arizona, Las Vegas and Northern California. Campers come from more than 65 different congregations from all over North America. Camp Hess Kramer and Gindling Hilltop Camp are a community service of Wilshire Boulevard Temple.
What happens if my child is homesick?
One of the main focuses of staff training is understanding the child’s feelings in their first 24 hours of a session, and how that time parlays into the rest of the camper’s time at camp. We know that by ensuring the child feels comfortable with where he is sleeping and eating, only then can he get comfortable with camp as a whole. When dealing with homesickness, our counselors know how important it is to listen to campers' concerns while at the same time encouraging them to continue to participate fully in camp. The more time the camper spends at camp doing those things they cannot do at home and things they have never done before, the less time they have to think about home. But don’t worry, they will not forget about their parents!
Can I speak to my child on the phone during the summer?
Camp was created to be an oasis from the everyday world. We strive to create a community where everyone grows and matures while at camp. One of the ways that campers do this is fully investing themselves in their community, and relying on themselves—with the guidance of our staff—to make their own decisions, find their way with their friends and become confident in themselves. By not allowing campers to speak with their parents, we believe that campers find a sense of independence, maturity and self-confidence. We do encourage parents to be in touch with our staff whenever they wish to talk about their child’s progress or just to “check in."
What kind of food is served at camp?
Our campers love the food at camp. We are proud and happy to boast that our food service is run by a graduate of the Culinary School of America who has earned the title of Certified Executive Chef. Our meals are healthy, plentiful and full of options. We serve all our meals “Kosher style,” which means that we will not serve pork or shellfish, nor will we mix milk and meat. We do not serve Kosher meat, and we maintain only one set of dishes and cookware. If your child is a vegetarian or lactose intolerant we always have these options available. We are constantly updating our menu, but we have everything from pizza to BBQ to Hawaiian chicken to grilled cheese and tomato soup.
What about scholarships? How can we qualify?
Scholarship is available on a need-basis through a separate application. As part of the scholarship program we strive to partner with the parents, other temples, federations and organizations to ensure participation. As much as we have campers that can go to camp without scholarship, we have campers that need assistance. Campers and staff do not know or care who attends on scholarship and who does not. To receive a scholarship application, please indicate your desire on the camper registration form.
What if we want to see camp before we sign up or before our children go in the summer?
Next spring, we will hold three open house dates, where our staff members will be happy to take you around the facilities and answer any questions you may have. Watch our Camp Video >>
What if my child has medications?
At all times, Camp has at least one doctor and two nurses who have specific hours for health calls for campers and staff. The health center at camp carries most over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl, etc. For prescribed medications, we have found that pre-packaging medications is the best possible solution. CampMeds Inc. provides an easy service that dispenses, packages and ships medications directly to camps in the U.S. This pre-packaging program is in compliance with all regulations regarding medication for camps. Go to CampMeds.com >>
Is Camp fun?
Absolutely!!!! Camp is the best experience you can give your child. They get to experience all sorts of sports, adventure programming, arts, and they will make the best friends of their lives.
We’re always here to answer your questions! Please feel free to be in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (213) 388-2401. We’re looking forward to serving you this summer.