A Guide for Parents: 10 Ways to Prep for Your Child’s Summer at Camp

Hello, Muddah, hello, Faddah!

Do you remember the incredibly popular 1963 camp song by Allan Sherman? It speaks to how connections are quickly made at camp and to the importance of staying connected to life back home. It also reminds us of the joy of camp: that some of the best memories are made when things don’t go exactly as planned, and that spontaneity is one of the greatest gifts camp has to give.

Here we’ve compiled some of the most popular and useful resources to help your family get ready for camp, collected from veteran parents and staff of the Union for Reform Judaism’s 16 summer camps. We’d say it will be the summer of a lifetime, but we know from experience that one summer will lead to many, many more!

Tips, Tricks, and Checklists

  1. 10 Ways to Get Your Child Ready for Camp
    For first-time campers, emotions run the gamut from nervousness to excitement and everything in between. While you pack their duffel bags, keep these tips in mind to help your child prepare for a fantastic summer at camp.
  1. 10 Tips on Packing for Jewish Camp
    Veteran campers and parents from share their top tips on what – and how – to pack for a summer away.
  1. "Thanks for Sending Me to Alcatraz": Laying the Groundwork for Your Child's First Sleepaway Camp Experience
    The American Camp Association shares advice, preparation tips , and steps you can take to help prepare your child for their first summer at sleepaway camp.
  1. Getting to Know Camp: Hebrew Flashcards
    Download these printable flashcards to learn and practice 10 of the most common Hebrew terms your child will see, hear, and use in his or her daily life at Jewish camp.
  1. A Guide to Sending Your Child the Very Best Letters at Summer Camp
    Mail call is the highlight of any camper’s day. Check out this insider’s guide to sending camp mail that will keep them happy, informed, and focused on having a great summer – plus, some tips to ensure that you get mail in return!

Parent Talk

  1. Ask a Rabbi: "Is there a blessing I can say before my child goes to sleepaway camp?"
    The thought of a few weeks apart can make some parents and kids a bit anxious. This blessing, written by a veteran camp parent, speaks to those concerns and may even help get your child more excited for the summer camp experience.
  1. Jewish Sleepaway Camp Through a Mother’s Eyes: Before and After
    One mother’s reflections on why she chose Jewish camp for her son despite his reluctance, and how it has transformed him beyond the summer.
  1. Five Lessons Learned from Being a Counselor at Jewish Summer Camp
    The counselors and staff are the role models your camper will look up to. Hear from the staff themselves about why they come back to camp as adults, and learn what your child has to look forward to as they grow at camp.

Bonus Resources

  1. Cooking Like Camp: Our All-Time Favorite Recipes
    No standard cafeteria fare here! The menus at Reform Jewish summer camps are constantly evolving to please campers’ diverse taste buds and meet today’s health standards. While there’s no meal like a meal in the chadar ochel (dining hall) of your favorite camp, you and your family can get ready for the summer by making one of our delicious recipes, shared from camp chefs themselves.
  1. Get Pin-Spired
    Looking for some inspiration for the summer? Join the URJ Camps on Pinterest for camp-inspired recipes, holiday ideas, packing tips, and more. Find year-round inspiration to bring the fun and joy of Jewish camp into life at home.

To find a summer program for your child or teen, visit the Union for Reform Judaism’s network of Reform Jewish summer camps and travel programs at urjyouth.org.