Mission, Vision & Values

At Camp JCA Shalom, our mission is to provide a positive, safe, and fun Jewish camping experience that fosters personal and social growth, skills development, and an appreciation for nature. We are committed to promoting strong Jewish values of community, tradition, and service. Most importantly, we strive to create an environment that is not only fun for our campers and staff, but also full of spirit and life.

The JCA Way

At first glance, sending your child to camp might look like sending them away to have a lot of fun with a bunch of other kids – the world’s best extended sleepover. For those who have been to camp before, know the outcome is actually much greater than that.  Camp is so much more than the activities and fun. What makes overnight camp so transformative?  How is Camp JCA Shalom different from other camps?

At the end of every session, we receive numerous emails and phone calls from parents who are ecstatic about how their kids have grown and developed in myriad ways. They are more independent, empathetic, self-aware, more responsible, and even enjoy new foods! Camp is a blast for kids; it’s the growth that happens that makes it transformative.

The healthy separation of kids and their parents

An important contributing factor to kids’ growth at camp is that it’s a parent-free zone. This separation is healthy for child development in multiple ways. The cabin dynamic allows kids to grow socially, learning to self advocate, and take responsibility for their actions. Our excellent staff are there to guide campers on their path. The safe camp environment allows campers (and staff) to “stretch” beyond their comfort zone. It’s why campers try so many new things while they are at camp.

Cabin-Centered Camping

At Camp JCA Shalom, your cabin is like your family. With the exception of a couple hours of the day, each cabin group is doing all of their activities together. This cabin-centered approach is important because we believe that one of the best parts of camp is building life-long friendships. Camps on the East Coast sometimes last 7 or 8 weeks. So, even if the campers only do a few activities together as a cabin group each day, they can still form those friendships over the course of the session. At JCA, we are able to accomplish the same result in considerably less time because the campers in a cabin do almost everything together. They eat all their meals together and they’ve had successes and challenges as a cabin. They’ve shared fun and hilarious times and will share extremely meaningful and inspirational moments too!  By the end of their session, the cabin will have been through a lot together. It’s the reason so many campers find it hard to leave at the end of the session. This is the power of camp at its best! Camp friendships truly last a lifetime and are a major part of defining camp magic!

Challenge by Choice

One of our cornerstone philosophies is “challenge by choice.” We recognize every camper is unique and enters camp at a different place. Our goal is to challenge them in ways that make sense for them individually. Camp is set up to do this from the beginning. For some campers, just being away from their families and experiencing things on their own is a challenge. We also incorporate these moments into our day-to-day with several of our speciality activities. One of the most obvious areas this occurs is on our ropes course. However, it also happens during less obvious times, from holding a snake, to helping prepare a meal for the first time, to using a hammer, to expanding their creativity at an arts rotation, to meeting new people… the opportunities to push oneself and grow are endless.

teens sitting in folding chairs outside watching a performance on a basketball court.

a positive Jewish living experience

Build lifelong meaningful relationships