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 Difference
At first glance, sending your child to camp might look like just sending them away to have a lot of fun with a bunch of other kids. Kind of like the world’s best extended sleepover. But for those who have been to camp before, the outcome is actually much greater than that. Camp is so much more than the activities and fun. What makes camp so transformative? How is Camp JCA Shalom different from other camps?
Every year when kids come home from camp, we receive numerous emails and phone calls from parents who are ecstatic about how their kids have grown. They are more independent, empathetic, self-aware, more responsible, and even like new foods! While we know that camp is fun for kids, the growth that happens at camp is what we’re really excited about.
The healthy separation of kids and their parents
Part of the reason kids grow so much at camp is that it’s a parent-free zone. This is great for kids, but also great for parents, too. Us parents get a little freedom (especially when all of the kids are at camp). This separation is healthy for child-development, too. Campers grow in all sorts of ways when their parents are not around. 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 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.
What makes us different?
Since the 1950’s Camp JCA Shalom has practiced cabin centered camping. At camp, 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 lifelong friendships. Camps on the East Coast sometimes last 7 or 8 weeks. Maybe some of you went to those camps! For others, it might sound crazy to say goodbye to your kids for 2 months. Regardless, at those camps, even if the kids only do a few activities together as a cabin group each day, they can still form those friendships (they’re at camp for 2 months!). 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. They’ve had successes and challenges as a cabin. They’ve shared fun and hilarious moments. They will have extremely meaningful and inspirational moments too! By the end of their time here they’ll have been through alot together. It’s the reason so many of them will find it hard to leave at the end of the session. It’s the power of camp at its best!
Camp friendships truly last a lifetime. It’s one of the great things we all get out of camp every summer.