How can I prepare as a parent/guardian to send my child to camp?
As exciting as it is to send your child to summer camp, the process can be overwhelming and lead to some degree of anxiety. We feel it is important to make sure our circle of support extends beyond the campers to the parents and guardians.
Prior to camp we will help guide you with packing lists questions and connecting you to other camp families. Our Wellness Team will be in contact with you to discuss any medical or special needs your camper may have.
Once your child arrives at camp our staff will make sure all their needs are met and they have a successful session. During the session you are more than welcome to reach out and check in with us. We will be happy to give you an update on how your camper is doing.
Our camp family is always available to help ensure that your entire family has a memorable summer experience.
Does OSRUI Provide financial assistance?
We are committed to ensuring that no child is denied a Jewish summer experience at OSRUI, regardless of a family’s financial need.
Need-based assistance is available through our campership fund for all of our programs. We also have partnered with the One Happy Camper program to provide first-time incentives to encourage parents to choose Jewish camp. Our partner URJ congregations are also deeply invested in working with us to help all campers get to camp.
Life at camp
What is a typical day at camp like?
Each day at camp is full of fun, exciting activities. Campers primarily rotate through the schedule with other campers from their bunk and unit. Every day, campers get to do swimming or boating, sports (including basketball, tennis, archery, volleyball, soccer, etc.), a Judaic activity with clergy and/or educators, electives (such as horseback riding, waterskiing, drama, sailing, cooking, art, sports, nature, etc.), learn Hebrew, and sing in song sessions and worship services. Campers also have the opportunity to try the Challenge Course (including a zip line, high ropes course, and 55-foot climbing tower), play games, participate in the creative arts, build campfires, relax, celebrate Shabbat, and make lifelong friendships. For a typical camp schedule, click here.
What is the main difference between Kallah and Tzofim?
Kallah and Tzofim are our programs for grade school-age campers. Kallah campers live in cabins (with a washhouse attached) and eat meals inside our dining hall. Tzofim campers live in large tents (with a cement floor and bunk beds), use port-o-potties and sinks with a stop at a washhouse each day for showers. They eat their meals outside on picnic tables. Both programs offer the same access to all of the great camp activities including waterfront, sports, Hebrew, etc. As a general rule, campers who do better with more structure and routine tend to do better in Kallah; campers who are comfortable with flexible schedules and being outside prefer Tzofim.
Can my camper request to be with a friend?
If they’re the same age and identify as the same gender – and they both request to be together – we’ll do our best. In general, we work hard to place campers in cabins with other campers and staff members with whom we think they will thrive.
How Jewish is OSRUI?
We create an environment that embraces diverse experiences and beliefs while remaining distinctly—and strongly—Jewish. At OSRUI Judaism comes alive in a special way for kids. Campers come home from camp signing songs from services, sharing new Hebrew words, and with a sense of what it means to be a part of the Jewish community. We have services twice a day, usually in one of our outdoor chapels at camp; services are musical, and campers have a chance to participate in the leading of services during their session. Our campers approach Jewish life on their own terms and, because it’s personal, the connection they make to Judaism is lasting.
What if I am not a member of a URJ congregation?
URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute is operated under the auspices of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). About 15% of our campers are not affiliated with the Reform Movement and love their summers at OSRUI too.
Campers who are not members of congregations affiliated with the URJ pay pay full tuition, which will not exceed $75 per week per camper, with a maximum of $500 per family per season beyond the discounted URJ tuition.
Who are the counselors and staff at camp?
More than two-thirds of our counselors have grown up at OSRUI as campers and staff. All counselors are college age or older and are required to submit recommendations, undergo a comprehensive background check, and have a personal interview before they are hired. Specialists and unit heads are highly skilled professionals who in most cases have already graduated college. An extensive training program is provided at the start of the summer season and is ongoing throughout the summer. During the summer, staff are supervised and evaluated by members of our camp leadership team, all of whom have proven experience overseeing the work of staff members.
Health, Wellness and Food
Will my child be safe while at camp?
The safety and wellbeing of our camp community is our highest priority. We have 24/7 security at camp. Our professional staff has all gone through a week-long training led by an Israeli security consulting firm and everyone on our staff has security training as part of the staff training week. OSRUI conducts regular safety and security reviews and evaluation, and we work closely with local law enforcement officials.
Does OSRUI treat the grounds for mosquitoes and ticks?
OSRUI is a certified camp with Ivy Oaks Analytics for mosquito, tick and poison ivy control, implementing their most advanced program. Ivy Oaks Analytics specializes in tick, mosquito and poison ivy control in large commercial recreation areas. They work with more than 100 premier summer camps. All products used are EPA Approved for summer camps; the company prefers using natural products. Their program also includes staff education for counselors.
What about food and food allergies?
OSRUI’s camp-friendly menu offers campers plenty to eat. A salad bar and a pasta bar are available at lunch and dinner and if meat is served, there is always a vegetarian option. See the Meals and Nutrition page for more information.
In terms of food allergies, we do not serve peanut butter at camp and we do not cook with nuts or peanuts. Peanut butter alternatives are available. (Note: we do have products in our kitchen at camp that are manufactured at facilities that process nuts and peanuts.) For campers with celiac disease or who are sensitive to gluten products, we provide a range of gluten free food (including bread, pasta, cereal and desserts) and parents are welcome to send other foods as necessary to be stored in the kitchen. We can accommodate other food allergies as well. When registering for camp, please indicate that your child has a severe food allergy and a member of our Camp Care Team will contact you.
Is Camp kosher?
At OSRUI, we do not mix dairy and meat at meals nor do we serve pork or shellfish. All meat that we serve at camp is certified kosher. We do not have separate kosher plates and utensils for meat and dairy and our kitchen is not under supervision from a mashgiach (kosher supervisor).
What if my child is homesick?
It’s not unusual, at any age, for new and even returning campers to miss home. Our counselors are sensitive to campers who miss home and work hard to keep kids as busy as possible. Unit heads, faculty, and our Camp Care Team can offer support and some extra TLC as well. In most case homesickness resolves quickly. If homesickness becomes severe and interferes with the child’s overall camp experience, we will be in touch with parents to talk about strategies.
What if my child wakes up in the middle of the night?
Counselors live in the cabins and tents with campers and are always there to offer comfort and support if a camper wakes up in the middle of the night. At least one counselor remains in the bunk from the time campers go to sleep until the staff curfew so the campers are not left alone.
Does my child need to be immunized?
Yes, the Union for Reform Judaism requires that all camp and travel program participants, staff and faculty must be immunized. For more information, read the URJ Vaccine Statement.
How do you celebrate birthdays at camp?
Birthdays at OSRUI are very special! There will be a cake and celebration for your child with their bunk. You are welcome to send letters, cards, and one care package. Packages are only accepted for camper birthdays – and, in order to respect dietary restrictions and general bunk hygiene, we ask that they do not include food. All birthdays at OSRUI are celebrated the same, special way. Our counselors and staff are committed to making a camp birthday celebration special and unique! You should reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about birthday packages.