Questions and Answers
Camp Young Judaea Midwest (CYJ) (www.cyjmid.org) is a residential co-ed summer camp for Jewish children aged eight to fourteen. It is set on a beautiful 80 + acre lakefront site in Waupaca, Wisconsin and is affiliated with Hadassah.
WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY BENEFITS OF ATTENDING CYJ?
Your child will have fun, make great friends, develop valuable leadership skills and strengthen his/her Jewish identity. Leaders in the Jewish Community have recognized that a summer camp is the best investment in Jewish continuity. Young Judaea Camps are perfectly positioned to offer summer programs with the broadest appeal across the Jewish Community.
WHERE IS CYJ LOCATED?
CYJ is located in Waupaca, Wisconsin, 3 hours from Chicago. Some campers travel from Lexington to Waupaca by car, others ride to Skokie, IL., then take a camp bus from there, and others fly to nearby Appleton, WI.
WILL MY GRANDCHILDREN BE JEWISH?
There is a realization that Jewish camping offers a wonderful setting for children to experience a 24/7 Jewish environment where they can live Judaism as fun. Camp is rated highly as a contributor to lifelong involvement in the Jewish community. Jewish campers are twice as likely to be involved in the Jewish community and half as likely to intermarry, according to the Foundation for Jewish Camping (FJC). In other Jewish programs you learn about Judaism. At camp you experience a real Jewish community.
HOW LONG IS A CAMP SESSION?
There are two camp sessions, each lasting 3 weeks. First time campers entering third and fourth grade also have the option of attending a two week mini-session. Children attending the mini-session may opt to stay the remaining two weeks of the full session if they desire.
WHAT FACILITIES ARE AT THE CAMP?
The campsite includes a spacious dining hall & kosher kitchen, a modern air conditioned large recreation hall and an indoor site for arts and crafts. The 20 acre lake and waterfront includes waterskiing & tubing, kayaking, sailing, canoeing and swimming. Every cabin has connecting washrooms and showers. The sports facilities include 2 basketball courts, a ropes course including a 40 foot climbing tower, softball diamonds, soccer fields, tennis courts and an archery range.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SPECIAL ACTIVITIES?
Special activities include Maccabiah (color war), 4th of July celebrations, Yom Yisrael (Israel Day) and many evening programs. Also, everyone goes on a camp out. Each group spends one to two nights camping out and participating in great activities, including biking, canoeing and tubing.
WHAT OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES ARE AVAILABLE?
An exciting variety of outdoor activities and sports are offered at camp. Thanks, in part to a grant from the Foundation for Jewish Camp, this past summer’s activities included biking, photography and sailing. Other outdoor activities include:
- A 40 foot climbing tower, zip line and five new elements, such as a ropes course
- Waterskiing and tubing
- Horseback riding
- Sports: basketball, soccer, softball, archery, gaga, volleyball, Archery, Field hockey, Tennis, kickball etc.
- Nature – high value placed on outdoor learning
- River rafting for older campers
Last summer, the 8th graders went on a 12 mile and a 30 mile bike ride. When one of the campers told her peers that she couldn’t ride a bike, they worked together to help her learn.
WHAT HEALTH AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS ARE TAKEN?
Every effort is made to ensure the health and safety of each camper. All of the activity areas are staffed by trained and certified professionals using the most up to date safety equipment.
Under the skilled supervision of an on-premises registered nurse or doctor, a well equipped infirmary offers full protection and care. Particular attention is given to those campers who require special care or medication while away from home. A full service hospital is located minutes from the Camp Young Judaea Midwest site.
WHAT MAKES CYJ UNIQUE?
At Young Judaea camps, young people can count on having an experience that develops independence, strong connections with Israel, and lifelong Jewish identity. Young Judaea camps provide an environment of informal Jewish education where both learning and having fun are high on the agenda.
- Jewish Identity: Young Judaea seeks to instill a sense of pride in the Jewish people and in being Jewish. Campers are encouraged to see themselves as vital links in the chain of Jewish history.
- Peer Leadership: Campers are empowered to take on leadership roles – even the youngest are inspired to engage their peers to take action and grow as leaders themselves. These campers will become positive Jewish role models for the next generation.
- Pluralism: Young Judaea campers come from all branches of Judaism. The environment is welcoming to all children no matter what their level of religious observance, thus bringing children from across the Jewish Community together! In all of its programs, CYJ promotes mutual respect and understanding between the diverse groups of American Jews.
- Education: CYJ instills a sense of pride in the Jewish people and in being Jewish by educating about Jewish heritage, history, and current affairs with fun, hands-on activities.
- Love for Israel: CYJ is the closest your child can get to Israel without a passport. Through educational activities, meeting with Israelis, and spending time in Israel, Young Judaeans have a unique opportunity to form an intimate and lifelong relationship with Israel. Each age group focuses on a particular Israeli theme. Israel and Israeli culture permeate every aspect of the day. Campers hear announcements in Hebrew and hear Israeli music. Maps of Israel, posters depicting Israeli sports teams and murals honoring Israel heroes cover the walls and doorways of cabins and gathering places.
WHAT RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES TAKE PLACE?
Camp is Kosher and Shomer Shabbat. The Campers and their counselors plan and lead services. As a result, campers are able to understand the meaning and importance of prayer in Jewish life. Shabbat takes on a whole new meaning as it is observed by the entire community. The celebration includes candle-lighting, services, a special Shabbat meal, singing and dancing.
WHAT CREATIVE ACTIVITIES ARE AVAILABLE?
CYJ offers arts & crafts, drama, Israeli folk dancing and Israeli song sessions.
WHAT DO CAMPERS MISS THE MOST AFTER THEY RETURN HOME?
The Camp Director, Noah Gallagher, asked former campers what they miss most about camp and Shabbat is the number one answer - probably because on Shabbat, camp feels like one big family.
WHAT IF THE TUITION IS TOO EXPENSIVE?
There are several opportunities to obtain financial assistance, and not all of them are needs based. Furthermore, an early bird discount is applicable until October 31, 2009 and a sibling discount is $100 for each additional camper.
The following financial opportunities are not needs based:
- Camp Young Judaea has $1,000 scholarships available to children ages 8-16 who wish to attend camping sessions with a three-week minimum duration, and who have not previously attended a Jewish overnight camp for two consecutive weeks or more. Multiple children from the same family are eligible to receive separate grants. To apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Noah Gallagher at 847-675-6790.
- Temple Adath Israel offers its members campership opportunities. The amount of the scholarship is determined on a case by case basis, but averages $400-$500. For more information, email email@example.com or contact John Mcdonald at 859-269-2979.
The following financial assistance opportunities are needs-based:
- CKJF has financial assistance available which you can apply for by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The scholarship amount is determined on a case-by-case basis in the spring. This opportunity is available to anyone in the Jewish Community.
- Hadassah offers financial assistance through the generosity of Hadassah donors which you can apply for when you register your child for camp. There is a question on the registration form regarding your interest in this type of assistance. The amount of the scholarship will be determined on a case by case basis.
- Ohavay Zion Synagogue offers financial assistance for camp. Please email email@example.com or contact Debbie Griswold at 859-266-8050.
WHAT IF MY CHILD ISN’T READY FOR CAMP?
Overnight camp is an excellent way to make your child more self-confident and independent. Your child may not feel ready to be away from home, but may realize, after being at camp for a day or two, that camp is much more fun than being at home. To address this concern, CYJ offers a two week mini-session option for first-time campers entering third and fourth grade and provides the option of staying for two additional weeks. You could prepare your child by planning a one-night sleepover with a friend or a weekend away with grandparents. Also, the registration form gives you an opportunity to tell the Director and counselors about your child in order to let them know your child has never been away from home. You can send emails to your child every day and could also send a letter by snail mail prior to camp, so your child will hear from you right away.
WHAT LEXINGTON FAMILIES HAVE RECENTLY ATTENDED CYJ?
Last summer, Merav Eres, Ben Grossman and Isaac and Felix Satin attended CYJ. Itai Eres was a counselor and will be attend the Israel year course next year.
WHAT IS THE BEST GIFT I CAN GIVE MY CHILD?
There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings. How can you give such a gift to your children? Send them to Young Judaea.
Much of Jewish ritual, such as keeping kosher or observing Shabbat, is experienced most meaningfully when done with a community of friends. Camp provides a unique setting for your child to have this powerful and life-changing experience.
HOW CAN I OBTAIN MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CAMP?
If you would like more information about Camp Young Judaea or if you would like to support CYJ with a donation, contact Noah Gallagher, firstname.lastname@example.org, 847-675-6790. You can register online at https://cyjmidwest.campintouch.com/v2/camper/application/app0.aspx