You did it!
You’ve done the most important thing to get your camper ready for camp this summer, which is submitting your application. Now, the fun begins and you and your camper can start thinking about what to pack, who to write letters to, and which chugim (electives) to sign up for!
Below, you will find important information you will need to get you and your camper ready for an incredible summer! We have also compiled tips from camper parents with advice on packing, sending mail, and other topics. You can also find some tips for including your camper in the camp preparation process.
You are always welcome to reach out to me or anyone on our team with questions.
See you in Oconomowoc!
Meet the staff
Our summer staff members are carefully selected from among applicants from all over the United States, Canada and Israel. More than two thirds of our counselors have grown up as OSRUI campers and can’t wait to be back in Oconomowoc with you this summer! This provides us with the opportunity to know them well and continue past traditions. Before campers arrive, all staff members participate in an intensive training program. This on-site training includes workshops led by our camp directors, outside professionals, and industry experts in order to ensure we are ready to have a fun, safe, and healthy summer.
Bunk staff are Jewish college-aged young adults who bring abundant warmth and energy to our camp community. Many of them are former OSRUI campers, comfortable at camp, familiar with camp routines and traditions, and eager to share their love for OSRUI and Reform Judaism with this next generation of campers.
Click here to get to know our Director Team. And check back in early spring as summer staff is hired and we will post their information.
Throughout the summer, more than 50 rabbis, cantors, and educators from Reform congregations volunteer to spend two weeks at camp. Our faculty works in partnership with our staff throughout all of the areas of camp, shaping the learning activities, guiding worship experiences, lending a knowledgeable helping hand in bar/bat mitzvah preparation, and having fun with our campers. It is always great to see familiar faces from your congregation at camp!
Getting Ready for the summer
2021 FORMS CHECKLIST: THE FINE PRINT
In order for us to be prepared to welcome you to camp, we need to collect some important information from each camper. It ensures we are prepared to properly welcome you and set up for an amazing summer together. We made a list below to help you track the forms and tasks that need to be submitted by May 1! All of these forms can be found online in your CampInTouch forms dashboard account. Most forms will be available starting in February.
- Camper Information Form
- Health History Form
- Camper’s Medical Examination Form and Immunization Form
- URJ Vaccine Statement
- Transportation Form
- Current photo uploaded
- Code of Conduct
- Anti-Bullying Pledge
- Bunk Request Form
- Waterskiing Form (if your child is registered for waterskiing)
- Bar/Bat Mitzvah Tutoring Form (if you requested tutoring for campers who will celebrate a bar/bat mitzvah in August, September, or October 2021)
- Late Arrival/Early Departure/Travel During Session Form (should your camper need to miss camp for a family event, sports activity, or school orientation)
SAMPLE PACKING LIST
One of the questions we are asked the most is: What should I pack for camp? Here are a few general guidelines:
- We suggest packing two weeks’ worth of clothing. For sessions longer than two weeks, we offer laundry services! If you are attending Atid, you can plan to bring 1-2 less of each item below.
- Dress at camp is very casual, with the exception of Shabbat. We ask that people don’t wear jeans or printed Tshirts on Friday nights.
- There is no need to buy new clothes for camp – our days are long and busy and clothes may come home messy!
- Please label all items with your camper’s name! Many parents make an inventory of all the camper’s belongings and leave it inside their luggage so they can check off items while packing up at the end of their session.
- Click here to read tips from camp parents about packing
- 4 pairs pants/jeans/sweats
- 6 pairs shorts
- Undergarments & socks for 2 weeks
- 10 t-shirts, including 1 plain white t-shirt to be tie-dyed
- 2 long sleeve shirts
- 3 sweatshirts
- 1 jacket
- At least 2 pairs of shoes (closed-toed shoes for sports and other activities, and sandals)
- 3 pairs of pajamas
- 3 swimsuits (4 if you are registered for water skiing)
- Water shoes/Shower shoes
- 2 hats
- For Shabbat – 2 outfits: skirts, dresses, slacks, shorts & nice top
- Rain Gear – Your child should be prepared for the possibility of a wet summer:
- Rain pants
- 2 linen sets: fitted sheet, pillow case/pillow, blanket or sleeping bag (Tzofim, Moshavah, Gesher, and Chalutzim campers go on overnight trips and should bring a sleeping bag)
- 2 face towels
- 2 wash cloths
- 4 towels (bath and/or beach)
- 1 laundry bag
SPECIFIC UNIT REQUIREMENTS
- Large backpack
- Sturdy water shoes (for canoe trip)
- plastic/Rubbermaid-type box or Ziploc bags to keep stationery & books dry
- colorful knee-high socks (a Tzofim tradition on Thursdays!)
Moshavah and Tour La’Agam
- A supplementary packing list will be given to campers in spring
- 2 toothbrushes, holder, toothpaste
- body wash
- Feminine hygiene products
- contact lens cases/solution
- extra pair of eyeglasses (can be stored in the Health Center)
- Caddy to carry toiletries (pail w/ drain holes for toiletries)
- small backpack/bag
- 2 reusable water bottles (16+ ounces)
- flashlight w/ extra batteries
- facial tissues (Kleenex)
- pencils, pens stationary, envelopes), stamps, eLetter replies
- Family addresses, printed labels, pre-addressed envelopes
- insect repellant & After Bite
- orthodontic appliances (wax, etc.)
- nail clippers/nail file
- digital or disposable camera
- tennis racket, baseball glove, etc.
- MP3 player w/ extra batteries or charger
- playing cards, etc.
- Books, comic books, magazines
- battery operated fan
- small plastic mirror
- Watch, travel clock
OTHER PACKING TIPS
While OSRUI does not have a dress code, we ask each camper to dress in a way that reflects respect for camp, our values, ourselves, other members of our community, and that is safe and appropriate for camp activity. We suggest parents and campers discuss and use their best judgment to pack clothing that is a fit for the camp setting. To separate Shabbat from the rest of the week, our camp custom is to not wear jeans, sweatpants, or t-shirts with words or graphics.
Laundry service is available for campers staying for 3 weeks or more. Laundry is included in your camp registration and is sent out to a service approximately once a week.
Labeling Clothing and Belongings
Please clearly mark all clothing and personal belongings with your camper’s full name so we can ensure it is returned if misplaced. Use indelible ink, laundry marking pens, or name tapes. We offer an opportunity to purchase labels through your CampInTouch account.
We recommend limiting packing for camp into two suitcases or duffel bags. You will receive luggage tags with your camper’s information either at the bus stop or as you arrive to camp. If your camper is flying to Milwaukee airport, the staff who greet them at the airport will ensure they receive camp’s luggage identification tags.
Campers will have an opportunity to deposit valuable items in camp’s safe storage on opening day. We recommend that any passports, cell phones, or large sums of cash for travel be stored in the safe and returned at the end of the session. Campers are asked to leave all other articles of value at home including valuable/meaningful jewelry or expensive electronics at camp.
Lost and Found
If items are left at camp, OSRUI will make every attempt to return them. Items marked with full camper names are easiest to identify and return. Campers have the option of picking up lost items in our Deerfield office or having us ship the items at your cost. Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to the clothing, equipment, or personal effects of our campers.
WHAT NOT TO PACK
In keeping with our code of conduct, we do request that your camper refrains from bringing the following items to camp.
- shirts with inappropriate language or that advertise beer/liquor
- expensive clothing requiring special washing
- chewing gum, candy, food of any kind
- bottled water
- cell phones
- iPod/MP3 player with screen
- shoes or sandals with heels higher than two inches
- valuable jewelry or a smart watch
- super soakers/water guns
- expensive digital cameras
- hoverboards, skateboards, scooters, “Heelies”
- e-cigaretters, vapes, Juuls, portable essential oil diffusers
- laptop computers, iPads/tablets, portable DVD payers
- hand-held video game devices
GETTING TO AND FROM CAMP
In light of Covid-19, and a desire to minimize the number of people on our campgrounds on opening and closing days, we anticipate that all campers will need to take the bus or fly to camp for Summer 2021. If drop-off and pick-up at camp become an option in the spring, we will make that option available to anybody who wants to arrive or depart camp by car.
Bus is a great option to arrive and depart from camp for those that live in the Chicago area, Southeastern Wisconsin, and the Twin Cities. OSRUI staff ride the bus with the campers and the magic of the summer begins as soon as they board the bus! There are bus stops throughout the Chicago suburbs, Madison and Milwaukee. In the Twin Cities the bus stops in both the Minneapolis suburbs and in St. Paul.
For campers who fly to Wisconsin for the summer, OSRUI staff will meet campers at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee (MKE). Our staff will meet campers at the gate when they arrive and will walk campers to the gate on departure day. If you are flying to camp, please do your best to have flights arrive and depart in the following parameters:
Opening Day: Flights arrive at MKE between 9:00 a.m. and 12 noon
Closing Day: Flights depart MKE between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Please contact us to discuss flight times if your options are outside the times outlined above.
staying in touch
HOW TO REACH US
1121 Lake Cook Road, Suite D
Deerfield, IL 60015
600 Lac La Belle Drive
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
Summer Office Hours:
Sunday – Thursday 8:30am – 7:00pm
Friday – 8:30am – 4:30pm
If you need to reach someone urgently outside of regularly scheduled hours, please call the office and the voicemail will direct you to one of our professional staff.
HOW TO REACH YOUR CAMPER
We know how eager campers and families are to hear from each other throughout the summer. We work to ensure timely delivery of incoming mail to campers – and outgoing mail to the post office. Campers generally are required to write home once or twice a week, though many choose to write more frequently.
What Should I Send to My Camper?
Write your child regularly! Some parents send a letter a few days before camp starts so there is mail the first couple of days of the session. OSRUI is a package-free community so we ask that parents limit mail to post cards, letters, and other flat envelopes. We encourage you to use creative ways of interacting with your camper through letters, which can include word puzzles, pictures, magazines, or a comic clip from the newspaper. We also offer e-letters through CampMinder. Your letter or postcard is more than enough to encourage, uplift, and connect your child to home while leaving them free to “get away from it all,” — including from toys, gifts, and other “stuff.”
You may send and receive email from your campers via CampInTouch. More information about emailing your camper will be available around June 1st. If you have questions after that, feel free to contact CampMinder (the third party that owns CampinTouch) before your camper arrives to OSRUI to make sure your account is set up correctly. Parent emails are printed daily (except Shabbat) to be delivered and read during the rest hour. Camper responses are scanned once daily.
COMMUICATION WITH FAMILIES
Throughout the summer we will be communicating in several different ways:
- We post pictures daily on CampInTouch – you can see first hand all of the fun happening around camp and even download pictures of your child as you see them.
- Blogs written by our staff and faculty will be posted daily to share some of the great stories happening around the units!
- You will also find ongoing content across our social media channels. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
- Parents can join the OSRUI Parents Facebook Group for more information and to connect with other parents
If you would like to speak with someone at camp about your camper, please call the office and our camp care team or member of our directors team is happy to answer your questions. We are not able to bring campers to the office to speak to parents on the phone.
health and wellness
We have a dedicated staff in place to make sure campers are getting the care they need. The OSRUI Health Center is staffed 24 hours a day by a team of nurses and a physician.
Medical Staff — Campers who feel ill during camp will be seen at the Health Center. Our staff will respond based on the symptoms and will be in touch with you if the camper needs to stay overnight in the health center, go off camp for treatment, or receive a new prescription medication.
Please ensure your contact information is up to date as well as emergency contacts and please note on your camper’s forms if you will be unreachable at any time during camp.
Campers who take prescriptions, supplements, and over-the-counter medications on a regular or as needed basis will store their medications in the Health Center to be supervised and dispensed by our nursing staff. In order to ensure the safety and integrity of the medication dispensing, all medications need to be ordered from the camp pharmacy, JDrug. Parents will be emailed with more information about ordering medication after March 1st.
We are committed to providing a safe camp community where our campers can develop self-esteem, a sense of independence, and comfort in expressing their inner-most selves.
Camp Care Staff — In addition to the health center staff, who focus on the physical health of campers and the camp community, we have a team of social workers and psychologists who focus on the mental and social emotional health of our campers and staff. The Camp Care team’s goal is to ensure each camper and staff have the tools and support they need to be successful at camp.
Due to the nature of communal living at camp, we place a high value on ensuring that all who enter our community are healthy. Upon arrival to OSRUI, each camper will undergo a short health screening to ensure our sessions begin successfully.
- Temperature: We will ensure every camper arrives with no sign of fever and will answer questions about their health.
- Lice: Each camper will be checked for lice by an agency that specializes in this. Should a camper be found to have lice or nits (lice eggs), we will contact parents to offer a treatment onsite or for the camper to return home for treatment.
OSRUI is a break from technology!
As we prepare to welcome your children to OSRUI, we want to provide some guidance regarding our policy on electronics at camp.
In these days of instant communication and constant technology, we see camp as a great opportunity to power down and take what we’re certain is a well-needed break from the world of electronics. The only electronics allowed at OSRUI are:
- Screen-less music players. Our goal is to have devices that only have music on them, without games, videos, or internet access. This way, campers aren’t missing out on programming and time with the OSRUI community while playing on their devices. If there is a small screen on the music player to see the song information without any additional functionality, that is ok. There is no need to purchase expensive music players. If you do want to get a cheap option, we recommend the Sandisk Clip Jam Player (on Amazon). Please make sure the music your child has downloaded is appropriate for a camp setting: e.g., no references to drugs, alcohol or sex, and no swear words. Campers must bring headphones as to not disturb others while listening to music.
- Digital or disposable cameras Campers who would like to take photos at camp may bring an inexpensive digital camera, instant camera, or disposable cameras. Make sure to pack enough memory cards and batteries or chargers (for campers in cabins). If there is a small screen on the camera to view photos that is ok. Please discuss proper handling of the camera and how pictures should be taken of other campers and staff only with their permission.
- E-readers Campers are allowed to bring e-readers to camp as long as their only functionality is to read books and they do not have any cellular data access.
Other music players, tablets, portable game devices, and video players should remain at home. We hope your camper will bring a deck of cards, a favorite board game, a baseball glove, coloring book or mad libs, and other non-electronic games to be enjoyed with friends!
We believe being at camp is an opportunity for your child to experience a world beyond home without being constantly connected through a cell phone. Camp is a place for children to make new friends, take responsibility for themselves and their bunkmates, problem solve and mature a bit. This is harder to achieve when parents are only a phone call or text away. We ask for your help with this policy. Please do not send your child(ren) to camp with a phone, even with the SIM card removed. Please make sure you put away your child’s cell phone before they leave for camp. All cell phones brought to camp will be collected, kept in the camp’s safe, and returned
to campers on closing day.
If your camper is traveling by air and bringing a cell phone for the trip, it will be put in the camp’s safe with any other valuables (cash for their trip, passport or identification, etc.) and returned on closing day.
Camp is one of the few places throughout the year where kids can truly unplug, and we have made this decision to both honor and recognize this space as a result of direct parent feedback. We request parents fully support our mission to keep these electronics out of camp to ensure OSRUI remains a wholesome, outdoorsy and safe place for all kids.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Our campers’ safety and security is a top priority at OSRUI. We have security staff on duty 24 hours a day to ensure the safety of the entire OSRUI community. Our grounds are constantly patrolled – and the access gates at Lac La Belle Drive and Ski Slide Road always remain closed.
If (with prior written permission) you must pick up your child from a session not on an opening or closing day, please use the Lac La Belle Drive gate. Approach the call box at the locked gate and press the buzzer to identify yourself to the security team. You will be directed to the office to meet your child. Your child will be brought to the office to meet you; please do not walk around camp searching for your child. You will need to sign your child out and will be asked to show ID.
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 email@example.com if you have questions about birthday packages.
Camp will provide toiletries and other essentials at no charge if campers lose or misplace them. If your camper forgets something essential that you need to send to them, please be in touch with the camp office at firstname.lastname@example.org so we discuss the best way to get it to them.
Meals are an important part of camp life at OSRUI. We say Hamotzi (blessing over the meal) before we eat and join together in Birkat Hamazon (grace after meals) after we eat. We strive to have options at meals so that everyone can find something they are excited about and our staff help ensure that all campers are well-fed and dietary needs are met. In addition to meals, we generally have snacks twice a day to help keep us going in the midst of a busy day at camp!
We gather together by unit in the Chadar Ochel (dining hall), or in our outdoor picnic eating areas (for Tzofim and Moshavah) for meals. Most meals are served buffet-style. Our youngest campers eat by bunk and older campers have the chance to eat with peers in their unit.
For more information on our Nutrition and Menu, visit this page.
Nuts and Peanuts
We do not serve peanut butter or nuts at camp. SunButter and Wowbutter are available at meals. Although we do not have peanuts or nuts in our kitchen or in the products we use in the kitchen, we do still have items in our kitchen that may have been packaged in a facility with peanuts or nuts present.