Frequently Asked Questions
campers each session
campers per cabin
Staff per cabin (ratio of 1:3)
EKC is accredited by the American Camping Association.
What makes EKC different?
We have figured out the formula that makes EKC different than every other camp:
- Programming: We believe in keeping children busy from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep. Activities include waterskiing, tubing, “the blob”, “the rave”, and horseback riding, along with gymnastics, dance, cooking, and our state-of-the-art low and high ropes challenge course. We offer arts, ceramics, theater, sports and swimming. At EKC we believe in progressive programming, allowing campers to participate in new activities and learn new skills as they get older and return to camp each summer.
These activities include out-of-camp trips, our Big Brother Big Sister program, volunteer projects, end-of-summer
banquets, camping trips, scuba diving and robotics.
- The opportunity to make friends from other communities. One of the things that makes EKC so special is that campers come from many different communities. Making friends from other cities is a unique and lasting experience and the EKC “friendship network” extends across the country and overseas.
- Staff: We are committed to providing your child with the best counselors and specialists possible. To do this, we create a team atmosphere at camp, and the staff is dedicated to giving your child a wonderful summer experience. At the end of the summer, our staff can say that they learned, grew and most importantly created relationships and experiences that will last a lifetime.
- All inclusive pricing: What you see is what you get—there are no hidden fees.
Why Jewish Overnight Camp?
Jewish overnight camp prepares your child for life’s journeys.
Camp is a place removed from the stresses and distractions of school and home life, where children discover strengths, take personal responsibility, gain confidence in themselves, and develop into leaders. Children learn to live with each other as a part of a community.
They rise to the challenges of being independent—finding the courage to jump into the lake, channeling their inner organization skills to straighten up their bunk, braving the forest to ride the zipline. They learn that not all entertainment is based around screens and that not all activity is in school, scheduled by parents or structured to build resumes.
Camp is a place for kids to CONNECT with friends, traditions and community that will support them along the way.
Camp is a place for kids to learn VALUES that will guide them at every turn.
Camp is a place for kids to GROW in self identity and independence so they are confident to forge ahead.
Camp is a place to have FUN because kids (and adults too) just need to have fun.
I’m not sure my children want to go.
Children may be apprehensive about trying something new. We know you want what is best for your children and we partner with you to help them overcome their worries. We’re there every step of the way, especially with the first difficult separation. Michael Gerson, nationally syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, in his essay Off to Camp, and Beyond likened the separation between parent and child going to camp as “like teaching a child to float: Lie back, and somehow the water will hold you, even if I don’t. Lie back, and somehow the world will hold you.”
Or is it that I don’t want them to go?
In some ways, the separation can be even more difficult for parents. It’s a loss of control of your child’s everyday needs, activities and environment, and it foreshadows the time when children will grow into young adults and leave home for good.
Emma Kaufmann Camp provides a safe, nurturing community; parents can rest assured that the needs of their children are met and that each child is cared for while being encouraged to open up to new friendships, activities and experiences.
Your children will come home more mature, more independent and more interested in participating in Jewish life.
Michael Thompson, Ph.D., a preeminent child psychologist, in Should I be sending my children to camp? says, “I believe that children develop in profound ways when they leave their parents’ house and join a camp community.”
May I call my child during the session?
Campers may not receive telephone calls while at camp. However, if you would like an update on how your child is doing, please contact the camp office. We will have the appropriate staff member return your call.
How will I know what my child is doing each day?
Photos will be posted daily on WALDO, our photo application. You will be able to receive notifications on your smart phone every time your child appears in a photo. We provide regular updates on Facebook and Instagram. We also use video to help tell the story of camp during the summer and the off-season. You will hear from us on a regular basis—two weekly email messages, one from our director and one from another member of the EKC full-time staff.
Homesickness is a natural feeling. We carefully train our staff to have frequent conversations with homesick kids to help them get acclimated to camp and to facilitate making new friends. By the end of the first full day of camp, the vast majority of homesick kids are happy and adjusted. In more serious cases, our management team of directors, nurses and unit heads, along with the assistance of our social worker, are brought in to make a plan for success. In rare cases, we call parents for additional help.
Can my child bring electronic devices to camp?
Camp is one of the few places throughout the year where kids can truly unplug. According to Tom Rosenberg, President & CEO of the American Camp Association, only 17% of ACA-accredited overnight camps around the country allow access to the internet and only 10% permit cell phones. In our desire to encourage campers to more fully engage in relationships, activities and the beauty of their surroundings, the only electronics allowed for campers will be screen-less music players (e.g. iPod shuffles, mp3 players, CD players) and digital cameras. All other cellular phones (with or without a SIM card), music and/or video players, smart watches, eBook readers, and portable game devices will be strictly prohibited.
Is there a time that I can visit my child during the summer?
We do not have a Visitors Day at EKC but we welcome you to bring your whole family to EKC for any one of our scheduled programs/events including our Open House or our Family Camp. You also may schedule a visit when your child is not in camp; just call us at 412-697-3539 and we’ll be happy to work something out to fit your schedule.
However, we do not allow you to visit your child while she or he is attending camp, and we do not have a Parents’ Day. These types of visits would interfere with you and your child making a healthy separation, a big part of the way children gain confidence and maturity at camp.
Can I contact camp?
We encourage you to contact us via telephone or email if you have any questions. We answer the phones from 8 am–10 pm EST. If you leave a message, we will return your call within 12 hours. Use this “open call policy” to help answer your questions about how your child is doing.
Can I send food to my child?
NO. Several issues arise from campers bringing or receiving food.
- EKC is a kosher camp and not everyone may follow the same rules as the camp does.
- Several campers have severe food allergies, and it would be far too difficult to monitor food sent from outside camp.
- Food in the cabin brings unwanted visitors!
- It can cause a power struggle within the cabin, as sharing becomes an issue when any camper is excluded or perceives that he/she is not being treated fairly by her/his cabin mates.
FOOD WILL BE CONFISCATED AND DONATED TO LOCAL CHARITIES.
Can I send my child packages?
YES. Campers look forward to receiving packages from home so we encourage you to send your child games, books and whatever else they might need—be creative!
How do you celebrate birthdays?
If your child’s birthday occurs during camp, staff go out of their way to make sure the day is special, and parents are encouraged to send decorations for the entire cabin. Additionally, camp honors each camper with a special celebration in the dining hall, including the famous EKC “skipping-around-the-room.”
What happens at EKC the rest of the year?
Full-time staff – Rachael Speck, Interim Camp Director, Stephanie Buzza, Assistant Director, Brooks Weaver, Program Director – begin planning for the coming summer. This includes creating summer schedules, securing guest speakers, bands, campsites and more, camper & staff recruitment, grant writing and program planning.
Additionally, we visit the camp in Morgantown once or twice a month to spend time with our caretaker Todd Griesbaum and his staff as they clean the camp in the fall, work on projects in the winter and spring, and in late spring, prepare the facilities for the camp season.