If you have any questions that aren’t answered below, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our directors who will be more than happy to chat. See you at camp!
Why are we changing locations?
We had been planning to hold camp at Scripps College this summer, but very recently we were informed that Scripps will not allow us to operate a summer camp for children under the age of 16 due to their COVID-19 protocols. While we are disappointed that Scripps made this last-minute decision, we are very excited that we have found another fantastic location: Buckhorn Camp!
How will camp handle COVID-19? Will the location change affect camp's COVID-19 policies?
We are confident that we will be able to run an in-person program this summer that is safe, fun, and meaningful. Throughout the year we have been consulting with health professionals and learning from our colleagues in other states who ran camp in 2020, and we are prepared to take care of your camper and the entire camp community during this challenging time. If it is deemed unsafe to run camp, then we will be transparent and communicate that to you, but at this point we expect that we will all get to be together for Summer 2021 (aka Summer 20-TwentyFUN!).
While some finer details of our protocols may change to adjust to the new site, the core of our plan will remain the same—we will employ layers of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) like pods, masks, testing, handwashing, cleaning and sanitizing, being outside, and minimizing people entering and exiting our camp community. We will be sharing our COVID-19 protocols with you when we get official guidelines from the state.
What is camp's refund policy?
If we have to cancel camp for COVID-related reasons, you can expect a full refund of your camp fees.
If the change in location has changed your camper’s ability or interest in coming to camp, we will refund your camp tuition.
If you have any concerns, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where is Buckhorn Camp?
Buckhorn Camp is in Idyllwild, California in the beautiful San Jacinto Mountains (near AstroCamp!).
How will the site be secured?
We have already begun working with our Director of safety and security for Wilshire Boulevard Temple to ensure that we have appropriate security for the site.
What will the cabins look like? What about bunk requests?
Buckhorn Camp has more traditional cabins, as opposed to the dorms at Scripps. The actual capacity of the cabins will depend on official COVID-19 guidelines, but the cabins at Buckhorn generally house 8-12 campers. You should make your bunk requests as you normally would and we will do our best to place your camper with the people they requested, though no bunk requests are guaranteed.
Will the two camps run separately as they have in the past, or will they run as one camp?
The cabins will be separated by camp: Kramer cabins and Hilltop cabins. Because we’re running our same sessions, the camps will operate on separate schedules, retaining both camps’ individual identities. However, operating our two camps on the same campus gives us a beautiful opportunity to have both communities interact with one another more frequently than we have in the past.
How will my camper get to camp?
Currently, we are anticipating that campers will be dropped off at camp by parents/guardians. We are still exploring whether or not bus travel is an option, given that we are waiting for COVID-19 guidelines from the state. We will let you know as soon as we have made a final decision about transportation to and from camp.
What about campers coming from out-of-state?
We are still waiting for guidelines from the state about policies regarding campers coming from out-of-state to attend camp. We will share this information with you as soon as it is available to us.
Will there be an opportunity to see the campus?
We are working on setting up virtual opportunities for you and your campers to see Buckhorn Camp and ask the camp team any questions you may have.
How will this summer be different than previous summers?
The truth is - being in a new location and COVID-19 safety measures won’t change how we take care of kids, create fun, meaningful activities, and develop lifelong friendships. We’ll be offering most of the same programs (and some awesome new ones, too!). Our counselor-to-camper ratio will be the same. We’ll celebrate Shabbat. The food will be delicious.
What are the food and dining hall facilities like?
Because of the changing nature of the pandemic, we are still determining the safest and most efficient way to conduct food service. Making sure everyone at camp eats delicious food is of the utmost importance to us!
We will still offer lots of options to accommodate dietary restrictions and we’ll still work with you on an individual basis to make sure any of your child’s dietary needs are taken care of - everybody at camp will be well fed!
What activities will you be offering?
Basketball, Mountain Biking (on a mountain!), Archery, Gardening, Hiking, Swimming, Cooking, Dance, Improv/Drama, Podcast, Video, Newspaper, Songleading, Rock Band, Ultimate Frisbee, Frisbee Golf, Yoga, Volleyball, Soccer, Gaga, 9-Square, and more to come!
Will there be Maccabbiah/Pioneer Days (color wars) and last night Banquet?
No - those are canceled (*wink!*).
How can I get more information?
- Which camp is right for my child?
- If my child doesn't attend any "formal" Jewish educational programs, will they be comfortable at Camp?
- Where do campers come from?
- What happens if my child is homesick?
- Can I speak to my child on the phone during the summer?
- What kind of food is served at Camp?
- Are scholarships available? How can we qualify?
- Can we see Camp before we sign up or before our children attend in the summer?
- What if my child has medications?
- Is Camp fun?
- How do we get in touch with you?
At both camps, the ratio of campers to staff is the same, the food is the same, the activities are the same, and both staffs are trained under the same administration.
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 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.
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.
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. In fact, 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.
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!
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."
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. Read more about our food here >
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.
Camp has two nurses and a doctor or nurse practitioner 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. WellspringRX provides an easy service that dispenses, packages, and ships medications directly to camp. This pre-packaging program is in compliance with all regulations regarding medication for camps. To Register your medication with camp. Go to WellspringRX.com
If your doctor is NOT licensed in the state of California, please log into your camp minder account to fill out the Medication Administration form to insure our nurses can properly medicate your camper.