You don't have to live in the South to give your children a Southern Jewish Experience!
Why send your kids?
A growing number of alumni and others from beyond the south are sending their kids to Jacobs. These families are motivated to do so for a range of reasons:
- They have Southern roots, and want their children to feel a connection to the South.
- They have Jacobs roots, and want to have shared camp memories with their children.
- In a major metropolitan area, it's easy for kids to take their Judaism for granted. At Jacobs they spend the summer with kids who definitely don't. It makes their kids stronger Jews.
- At Jacobs they get to spend the summer with a completely different group of kids than at home - giving them the freedom to be themselves, and a break from those local social pressures.
- There are plenty of large Jewish camps out there - with 400, 500, or more campers - but few small ones like Jacobs. Small camps provide a different level of personal attention - for example, every staff member knows every camper, and vice versa - and a truly intergenerational experience - as we eat together, play together & pray together, our campers have access to many Jewish role models and friends.
- They recognize that Jacobs needs their support; there are plenty of Jewish kids to fill Jewish camps in the rest of the country, but with the limited Jewish population in the South, out-of-region campers are vital.
Plus, isn't dropping off or picking up your child from camp a great excuse to visit family and friends from down South?
Lisa (Jacobson) Cyzner, Charlotte, NC: For our son to have such a rich camping experience, deeply rooted in Southern Jewish values, while having access to all the quintessential activities that an overnight camp has to offer - and in rural Mississippi! - is hard to put into words. Knowing that everyone at Jacobs is enveloped by that "Magic" and feels the same way brings meaning to our child that cannot be paralled by other camps.
Arlene (Perlmutter) Mix, Atlanta, GA: At Jacobs my son gets a taste of his mom's real and treasured small-town Southern roots. The warmth, enthusiasm, positive energy, and love of Judaism bounce off the staff into the hearts of the campers! It's very special to see him thriving at "my camp!"
David Weintraub, Alpharetta, GA: Why do we send our kids to Mississippi when there are great camps in Georgia? Because at Jacobs they get to spend the summer experiencing new things with new & different people. Both of our sons go to school, synagogue, & play sports with the same kids all year long, and have with some of these same kids for years. When their friends go to camps with kids they already know, the same cliques and stereotypes emerge. But when our kids go to Jacobs, they meet and interact with different kids on a completely different level, and have the opportunity to take a vacation from the social pressures they deal with the other 11 months of the year. It's been great for them!
Eddie & Macy (Kalmanson) Widofsky, Manchester, CT: We thought about a Reform Camp in New England, since it's so close to us, but we couldn't break the Jacobs tradition. Our son has had an absolute blast! He & we both love that we can share our joint experiences there; and, it's so cool that he's getting to know J.C. and so many children of our old friends.
Stephanie (Sklar) Wolfson, Bell Canyon, CA: My summers at Jacobs were the most formative part of my childhood. I wanted my kids to feel the same way, now I share that unique & special feeling with them. I also wanted my boys who were growing up in Southern California, where it is to be Jewish, to spend their summers with kids who can't take their Judaism for granted. They have an even richer connection to the Jewish people because of it.
1. How do out-of-region families handle opening and closing days?
The vast majority of our families like to bring their children to Camp on Opening Day for their first summer - and, sometimes, for summers after that, too. They want to see camp (especially if they haven't been here in years), meet the counselors, and get a feel for how their child makes the transition.
Sometimes the parent(s) flies with the child, perhaps even coming in the night before, and brings them to camp in a rental just like those who are being driven. Sometimes the child travels down early, with or without a parent, and is brought to camp by a close relative. (Grandparents are great for opening day duty!)
Less out-of-region parents make the trip for closing day (unless they plan to take family time down south immediately following camp), instead either having their children picked up by a relative, or having them fly home from Camp.
2. Can my child fly to and from Camp?
We are more than happy to get your child to and from the airport to Camp.
Please make sure you use the Jackson-Evers International Airport (Airport Code: JAN) for flights to and from camp.
Our Family Information Packet lists our preferred arrival and departure times. We know that flight service to Jackson is limited, so we are more than happy to work outside of our preferred time parameters. If you would like to call the Camp while booking, we'll be happy to assist you.
If your child is of age that the airline requires s/he travel as an "unaccompanied minor", that's no problem. Prior to the start of your child's journey, we will provide you with all of the information you need about the Camp staff person who will be meeting them at the airport, so you can in turn pass that information on to the airline.
And, of course, make sure all of the information is complete and accurate on the Transportation Form, and send us a copy of the itinerary to have in our records as well.
We know most children are not equipped to get all of their possessions organized when they first get to Camp. That's why the counselors are there! They will help get your camper settled; they know who is arriving without a parent, and thus will need extra help to get the session off to a great start.
3. Can I ship my child's luggage to and from Camp?
Many families choose to have luggage shipped to and from Camp to make the trip down easier (especially if their child is flying).
When shipping luggage to camp, do your best to ensure that it will arrive in advance of your child. (An extra incentive to be organized in your packing!) We will make sure it is delivered to their cabin for opening day.
To have luggage shipped back to you, make sure that the baggage or packaging you send it in is sturdy enough to survive the trip, and being stored (poorly) in the camper cabin. We ask that you include clear written instructions for the counselors and your child of what needs to come back, and what doesn't.
Counselors will bring luggage for shipping to the office prior to closing day; we will in turn get it to UPS or FedEx within the next two business days. If you can provide us with shipping labels that are either pre-paid or on your account, that would be ideal; if not, we will pay for the shipping and then bill the charges to your camp account.
4. Can any of my child's stuff be stored at Camp during the off-season?
Many families store some items at Camp between summers; we have a store room designated for this purpose. Most of what we have stored are linens - bedding and towels.
We ask that you provide us with a sturdy container (e.g. a plastic bin) with your child's name prominently marked to use for storage of these items. Clear written instructions for the counselors and your child will insure the right items get left behind.
All linens left here will be laundered on-site before they go into storage.
5. I am so far away! What if something happens?
First and foremost, we take very seriously our responsibility for the care and well-being of your, and every, child at Camp. You can rest assured that our team will handle anything that arises with great professionalism, rooted in our years of experience. And, we will keep you in the loop if the situation warrants.
Many of our out-of-region alumni list in-region relatives as emergency contacts" on the Camp forms. If we cannot reach you, the parent, then we will be reaching out to someone close to you who lives close by.
If you think we're missing an important question from our FAQ, send us an email and we'll get it added: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to speak to someone about your questions or concerns, please contact the Camp Office and someone will help get you the answers you need.