Summer Camp FAQs

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Jacobs camp summer faqs

 

We are excited to be planning for Summer 2023! We will update these FAQs with Summer 2023-specific information as we have more information. 

Registration and Payment FAQs

WHAT WILL THE DATES BE FOR CAMP SESSIONS THIS SUMMER?

You can find our session dates here.  

WILL PRIORITY AND EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION BE AVAILABLE FOR THIS SUMMER?

Yes! We encourage you to register as soon as you can to ensure that your child will have a spot in their desired session. Here are the important registration dates you need to know:

  •         October 3, 2023 – October 17, 2023 Priority Registration will be open exclusively for returning campers (those who were registered for Summer 2022),  and their siblings.
  •         October 18, 2023  Early Bird Registration will be open to ALL campers, new and returning.
  •         October 31, 2023 Early Bird Registration ends. Register before this date to receive an exclusive Jacobs Camp sweatshirt.

 

WHAT IS THE DEPOSIT FOR CAMP TUITION?

All families will be charged a $500 non-refundable deposit upon registration.

 

WILL THERE BE SCHOLARSHIP MONEY AVAILABLE?

Yes! We strive to make camp affordable for all families. Please be in touch with Anna (aherman@urj.org) for more information about our camp scholarship program and also check our website’s financial assistance page for more resources. We know the financial realities of COVID-19 have changed the financial picture for many families and we have been actively fundraising to support this. We are here for you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.

 

WHEN WILL TUITION BE DUE?

All the URJ camps, including Jacobs, now have standardized payment and cancellation policies and  schedules. that have been created to ensure that families feel confident registering for camp.

The payment schedule is as follows:

  •         150 days prior to Camp’s first session start date   (January 12, 2023)– 25% of tuition payment is due;
  •         90 days prior to Camp’s first session start date (March 13, 2023)– an additional 50% of the remaining tuition payment is due (75% of tuition paid);
  •         45 days prior to Camp’s first session start date (April 27, 2023) – final payment is due.

If you have any challenges with this schedule please be in touch with Tamisa at thuell@urj.org.

 

WHAT WILL THE CANCELLATION POLICY BE FOR 2023?

We are following the URJ cancellation policy, which is standard across all URJ camps and has been modified to ensure that families feel confident registering for camp:

  •       Cancellation by 90 days or more prior to the first session start date (before March 13, 2023) – 100% of tuition is refundable, except for the non-refundable deposit. 
  •       Cancellation between 90 days and 45 days prior to the first session start date (Between March 13, 2023 and April 27,2023) – 75% of tuition is refundable.
  •       Cancellation by 45 days or less prior to the first session start date (After April 27, 2023) – no refunds will be given unless stated below.

Camp reserves the right to refund any eligible refund in multiple installments as determined by Camp. 

Refunds Given:

Refunds will be given without penalty (including Non-Refundable Deposit):

  • for campers on a “Waiting List” (those not able to be placed in their desired session at Camp) upon request if at any time they choose to be removed from the list, or if they are ultimately unable to be placed;
  • if Camp is unable or elects not to open because of government regulations, orders or guidelines;
  • if Camp is required to cancel the session of a Camper with a pre-existing health condition;
  • If Camp is unable to secure a rental facility for a rented Camp property;
  • if Camp is unable or chooses not to open, in its sole discretion.

 

Refunds not given:

Refunds will not be made if Camper has attended any portion of the session at Camp. This covers all circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  • Camper’s homesickness
  • Camper’s refusal or inability to participate in the normal activities at Camp
  • Camper’s violation of any rules, regulations, or policies at Camp for which Camper has been provided notice, and as described below in “Camper’s Participation and Camp Program Expectations” section
  • Parent/Guardian’s decision to remove Camper from Camp for any reason

 

Change of Session

If Camp is required to make a change to Camper session prior to summer, You will be notified by Camp in writing. Camp will provide an opportunity at that time for You to cancel Camper’s session without penalty (including return of any deposit). You will also be eligible for this change of session refund for all children in Your household who are registered at Camp regardless if the sessions of the sibling(s) were not changed.

A change to the Camper session is defined as one or more of the following: a change of session dates, session cost, or, for regional camps, a camp geographic location change.

 

 

General FAQs

Trying to decide whether Jacobs Camp is right for your child? According to the American Camp Association, the best way to proceed with choosing a camp is: 

  • Involve your child in the selection process. Review your child’s preferences and let your child ask questions. 
  • Review brochures, videos & websites with your child. (And, if you’ve found this page, you’ve already begun that process!) 
  • Get answers to some key questions – which we’ve taken the liberty of giving you our answers below! 
  • Speak to the Director or a camp representative – by phone, online, or when they come to your community. 
  • Ask for references of families who have had their child attend the camp. Speaking with these families can give you valuable insight about the camp and the families that send their children there. 

We’ve tried to respond many of the questions we are asked most frequently. If you have a question that is not covered below, please email us and we’ll get back to you with a response. (And, who knows, maybe your question will make the “frequent questions” page!) 

 

TELL ME ABOUT THE CAMP DIRECTOR.
Anna is so excited to be the Director of the URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp. Anna grew up in Dothan, AL, and began attending the Henry S. Jacobs Camp at age 11. In addition to being a camper, Anna also was a counselor and unit head. Following graduation from the University of Alabama, she became the Assistant Director at Jacobs, after which she served as a congregational youth director and as the Assistant Director of the URJ Meetings and Conventions Department. Anna then transitioned to the Assistant Director of business operations for the URJ’s camping system. In this role, in which she partnered with our 14 URJ camps across North America, she gained a wealth of camping knowledge. 

Throughout, she remained connected to Jacobs Camp as a lay leader, serving as the Camp Committee – Development Committee Chair. She also met her husband Nadav at Jacobs Camp, and surrounded by family and many friends from Jacobs and the URJ, they were married at the chapel on Lake Gary. 

Anna is thrilled to be returning home to lead the Jacobs community, and to inspire generations of future campers to create Jacobs Magic every summer. 

 

WHAT ARE THE CAMP’S GOALS AND PHILOSOPHY?
The URJ Henry S. Jacobs Camp, the Reform Jewish Movement’s summer camp serving the Deep South: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Western Tennessee & the Florida Panhandle. Since 1970, Jacobs Camp has provided a caring Jewish community that builds young people! A summer at Jacobs is an unforgettable religious, cultural, recreational and emotional experience. 

The Jacobs Camp is one of thirteen Union for Reform Judaism Camps located throughout North America. It is the Mission of the URJ Camping System to provide high quality and wide ranging Jewish Experiences in a Reform context to North American Jewish youngsters through a network of Camps and Israel Experiences. These experiences take place in a safe and healthy environment in which all qualified children have access to the most outstanding camping facilities and equipment. 

Our Responsibility. When it comes to taking care of your children, we take our responsibility very seriously. As you know, raising a child requires a great deal of energy & effort and the willingness to send your child away for the summer takes a great deal of trust & confidence. We consider ourselves to be your partner in raising your child. When your children are at Camp, you can be assured they will be safe and secure, and we will do what it takes to meet their social, emotional, spiritual & developmental needs. We also hope to develop in them a range of skills & abilities, and instill in them a greater level of personal independence & self-sufficiency. When your children return home, we hope you will find them to be more self-aware & self-confident, and better able to make their way in the world. 

Our Counselors are the Key. We believe that every moment at camp has the potential to be a Jewish teachable moment. Counselors who are positive Jewish role models are central to our mission. 

The feeling that is created in cabins and the values of that community contribute significantly to the success of the camp experience. We train our counselors to use cabin time in a meaningful way to reflect on what it means to be part of a Jewish community, especially with regard to how campers relate to one another. Rest hour discussions, late night “cabin prayers,” Shabbat cabin programming, the use of Hebrew and camper conflict resolution are all important elements of our Jewish message. We are committed to fully engaging and empowering our cabin counselors and our entire staff as modelers of Jewish behaviors and values. This deep commitment emanates from the recognition that from our camps will emerge the next generation of leaders for our congregations and our Movement for whom the joys of Jewish living and learning and community are defining elements of their lives. 

 

WHAT IS THE FACILITY LIKE?
Situated on 267 acres of rolling hills and woodlands, with a picturesque lake as its centerpiece, the Jacobs Camp’s grounds provide a relaxing, natural setting to experience the summer. And our modern facility, including more than 35 buildings (almost all of which are air-conditioned) and a diverse range of recreational spaces, ensures we have a place for everyone to have a great time! 

All of our facilities are within easy walking distance of each other, and campers are often seen interacting with friends of all ages as they transition between activities during the day. Our residential facilities encircle Lake Gary. Our primary community gathering places – the Dining Hall, the Breezeway, the Cultural Center, and the Chapel – are all clustered in the center of camp. And our main recreational facilities line the road from the “main camp” on back. Visitors are often astounded by the beauty & condition of the facility – it really is a “jewel” in the backwoods of Mississippi. 

 

WHAT IS THE PROGRAM LIKE? IS IT A STRUCTURED PROGRAM OR ONE THAT EMPHASIZES A LOT OF FREE CHOICE?
The most important aspect of Camp is its program. In our activities we offer a wide range of experiences; we want each child to grow while at Jacobs, not only sharpening skills brought to Camp, but introducing new areas to learn and master. The Camp schedule is set up to require a certain amount of exercise-time and outdoor-time each day. The daily schedule reflects this attempt at balanced programming. 

We pride ourselves on our high level of staff supervision, and on the high quality of our recreational and educational offerings. Within the limits of the daily schedule, though, campers are given many opportunities to pick-and-choose their activities – whether it’s Chugim (one-hour week-long specialty activities), Specialty Camps, or Shabbat afternoon free time. While we want to provide a safe, secure environment in which to experience camp, we know our campers like to have choices, and we look to provide them whenever we can. 

 

HOW WILL I STAY IN TOUCH WITH MY CHILD?
Camp offers kids and parents the chance to develop a rarely practiced skill – letter writing. We strongly recommended that parents write to their campers at least every-other-day. A card, letter or e-mail, arriving regularly, does more for camper morale than anything else. If a camper receives no mail from a parent for five days, we will call home. The camp tries to ensure that campers write letters or postcards to their parents at least twice each week. It is a required activity. Your letters or cards from Camp may be short, but they will be regular. 

 

WHAT IS THE CAMP’S POSITION ON ELECTRONICS?
Camp provides our children with a break from “the real world” in favor of the natural world. That is why we forbid campers to have mobile phones, pagers, portable televisions, etc. – these items may be part of the day-to-day life of your child, but they have no place at Camp. 

That does not mean camp is technology-free. We sometimes use videos and PowerPoint presentations to complement our programs, and we believe that music can provide a great soundtrack to camp life. 

Please see our electronics policy for more information on the types of devices we allow and don’t allow at camp. 

 

DO CAMPERS TAKE FIELD TRIPS?
In 2022 only our oldest campers, Chalutzim, will take a field trip. All other age groups with experience in camp trip nights where they go on special adventure. 

 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE WEATHER IS BAD?
We don’t let a little bad weather get in the way of the fun at camp! Because we have such a wide-range of indoor facilities, we are able to keep our recreational activity program going rain or shine. And, for those activities that can only happen outside (like swimming), our counselors & specialists always have a “rain plan” – fun activities that can take the place of what campers are missing. 

If the weather gets extreme, we have detailed protocols in place to make sure all campers are kept safe until the weather passes. 

 

WHERE WILL MY CHILD LIVE? HOW ARE CABIN ASSIGNMENTS MADE?
Each of our air-conditioned camper cabin sleeps twelve to fourteen campers and two staff members in bunk beds. Every camper is assigned a set of cubbies for storing personal items. Two cabins share a bathroom – all newly-renovated. Each bathroom has 7 sinks, 7 showers, and 7 toilets. All top bunks are equipped with bed rails. Each cabin is equipped with a smoke detector. Bunk assignments are made on the basis of religious school grade and/or chronological age, geographic distribution, and social and emotional maturity. 

 

HOW DO YOU SELECT, TRAIN AND SUPERVISE YOUR STAFF? WHAT IS THE STAFF-TO-CAMPER RATIO?
At Jacobs Camp, a great deal of pride is taken in the members of its staff, who provide a stable and caring home for campers all summer long. The staff is comprised of college students, graduate students, and professionals in various fields. Each year, we look for competent and energetic young adults to fill our staff positions. While many have grown up at Jacobs Camp, others join us from across the country and around the world – all bringing their own special gifts to share. 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. Jacobs maintains a 1:5 staff-to-camper ratio. 

 

WILL MY CHILD BE SAFE WHILE AT CAMP?
All of the URJ Camps are dedicated to providing safe and secure environments for our campers and staff. Jacobs conducts regular safety and security reviews and evaluation, and works closely with local law enforcement officials to make sure our safety standards and practices are the best they can be. During the summer season, a safety officer is on duty 24-hours a day. The health and welfare of our community will always be our top concern. 

 

WHAT KIND OF CLOTHING SHOULD MY CHILD BRING TO CAMP?
We dress informally at Camp, and it is not necessary to buy new clothing for your child. Camp is primarily an outdoor setting and simple and modest clothing is the most appropriate. Girls usually wear T-shirts or blouses with casual shorts, pants or skirts, or sundresses. Boys usually wear T-shirts with shorts or pants. High-heeled shoes, designer clothes and expensive jewelry are neither necessary nor encouraged. We strongly discourage campers from wearing “inappropriate attire”: Clothes that are intentionally tight or revealing should be left at home. All clothing and personal belongings should be clearly marked with the camper’s full name. One of the most distinctive times at camp is our observance of Shabbat. In keeping with our tradition, we ask that our camp community dress in white tops, and either white or khaki bottoms for Friday evenings. 

 

WILL MY CHILD NEED LOTS OF SPECIAL EQUIPMENT FROM HOME?
During the course of the session, your child will have many opportunities to learn or develop new skills. In almost all cases, the camp supplies the necessary equipment and supplies to participate. In particular instances where your child is seeking mastery of an activity, he/she may desire his/her own special equipment; be selective, and remember that the Camp is not responsible for loss or damage of personal items. 

 

HOW CAN I GET A JACOBS CAMP T-SHIRT FOR MY CHILD?
A Jacobs Camp T-shirt will be provided to every camper. 

 

HOW WILL MY CHILD’S LAUNDRY GET DONE?
Campers should have enough clothing with them to last at least 10 days. At least once every 10 days (even sooner for Olim), cabins will have a scheduled laundry day. Our laundry staff will pickup laundry bags from the cabins, wash and dry the contents, and return the clean clothes and linens at the end of the day. 

 

HOW WILL MY CHILD GET TO AND FROM CAMP?
Parents are encouraged to bring their campers to camp on opening day, and pick them up on closing day. Bringing or picking up your camper provides an opportunity to see the Camp, meet the Director, the staff, and your camper’s bunk counselors. If there is enough interest, the Camp offers closing day charter bus service to Memphis, Baton Rouge/New Orleans, and Birmingham. We will also pickup campers who fly into Jackson, MS. 

 

HOW WILL I STAY IN TOUCH WITH MY CHILD?
Camp offers kids and parents the chance to develop a rarely practiced skill – letter writing. We strongly recommended that parents write to their campers at least every-other-day. A card, letter or e-mail, arriving regularly, does more for camper morale than anything else. If a camper receives no mail from a parent for five days, we will call home. The camp tries to ensure that campers write letters or postcards to their parents at least twice each week. It is a required activity. Your letters or cards from Camp may be short, but they will be regular. 

 

CAN PARENTS CALL THE CAMP TO CHECK ON THEIR CHILDREN?
Parents are welcome to call the Camp during the summer to find out how their campers are doing. After we receive your call, our Camper Care Director will call you back, usually the same day. 

 

CAN I VISIT MY CHILD WHILE THEY ARE AT CAMP?
While parents and other family members are welcome and encouraged to bring campers to camp and to pick them up at the end of the session, parents and other visitors are not allowed to come to camp during the Camp sessions. 

 

HOW’S THE FOOD?
Jacobs’ kid-friendly menu offers campers plenty to eat – and our campers have great things to say about the variety, the quality, and the taste! Almost all meals are served family-style in the dining hall, with bunks eating together at assigned tables. Breakfast includes a hot item and cereal. Lunch and dinner include a hot entrée, as well as the option to visit the salad bar. Whenever meat is served, a vegetarian option is offered. We make accommodations for campers on special allergy- or health-related diets. The Jacobs Camp is not a kosher facility, and we do not have a kosher kitchen or kosher plates and utensils. However, we do not serve pork or shellfish, or products containing them, and do not permit such products on camp grounds. At least one snack is served every day. 

 

WHEN WILL MY CHILD GET TO VISIT THE CANTEEN?
Each night, prior to bedtime, campers have the opportunity to visit the Camp Canteen to pick their own late-night snack. We offer a wide selection of delicious snacks – from granola & cereal bars, to low-calorie cookie & treats, to candy bars and more. 

 

ARE CARE PACKAGES ALLOWED?
Packages are not accepted for campers. This includes boxes or large mailing envelopes of any size. Camp will only accept up to a standard #10 size business envelope or standard greeting caard. Our package policy is shared and explained to all families before camp begins. 

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CHILD GETS SICK WHILE AT CAMP?
It is our hope that every camper will remain healthy and fully able to participate in all aspects of camp life all summer long. Just in case, though, Jacobs Camp has a range of systems in place to manage health care issues that may arise. The Camp’s modern, well-equipped infirmary is staffed by medical professionals all summer long – usually a doctor and a nurse. We supervise the dispensing of medication four times a day. A Medical Form with comprehensive information will be all we need to take great care of your child while at camp. 

 

WHAT IF MY CHILD’S BIRTHDAY OCCURS DURING CAMP?
Birthdays that occur during the Camp session will be celebrated. This observance is not only a treat for the camper, but a lot of fun for everyone. Ever had a birthday party with 300 friends in attendance? Please do not send food of any kind for your child’s birthday, as we will provide a delicious cake to celebrate his or her special day. 

 

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 Policy Statement on Vaccine Status.