Frequently Asked Questions

OFJCC Palo Alto JCC

How can I speak with someone about what to expect before camp starts?
The week prior to camp, you will be emailed a highlight sheet with the camp schedule, express drop-off information and more. We truly appreciate discussing your questions, comments and concerns and there are many opportunities to do so. Please contact the Camp office via email at youth@paloaltojcc.org or phone at (650) 223-8622. You may also contact the Camp Director, Rebecca Bigman by emailing rbigman@paloaltojcc.org or calling (650) 223-8602.


What are J-Camp hours?
J-Camp provides care from 8:30 AM–6:00 PM. The Camp Day is from 8:30 AM–3:30 PM, and for an additional fee, you may also register your camper for PM Care. PM Care runs from 3:30–-6:00 PM.


How do I enroll for J-Camp?
To register for J-Camp, please use our Active Network platform. The registration is also located in the camp sections or the home page of our website. Please ensure you are choosing the correct camp type—Traditional, Tayasim (Hebrew immersion), Kochavim (pre-teen program), or CIT program—to properly register your camper and that you input the grade your child will be attending in the fall of 2022. If you are a returning camp family from summer 2021, you may log back into your account and register; please check to make sure that the health history form and grade for summer 2022 are correct.


How many staff members will be watching my camper?
We operate within the following staff/camper ratio guidelines, which are recommended by the American Camp Association.

  • 1:6 for campers entering kindergarten
  • 1:8 for campers entering grades 1–4
  • 1:10 for campers entering grades 5–9


What experience and qualifications do J-Camp staff have?
Every year, all J-Camp staff participate in a week-long training that includes camper safety, J-Camp policies and procedures, and how to facilitate fun and meaningful camp programming. All camp staff are required to complete a background check, and must be up to date in CPR/First Aid certification. We also train our staff on important COVID-19 safety measures and policies for running camp safely in the pandemic. Many of our J-Camp staff are year-round employees in the OFJCC's Youth and Teen Program and work with children in our school-break camps and afterschool program.


What kinds of activities does J-Camp offer?
Every camp day is filled with a variety of fun activities to make each day special. Campers will explore their creative side with arts and crafts and STEM projects like tie dye, slime, watercolors and home-made sun catchers. Campers will spend lots of time playing classic games, sports and relays that allow them to develop skills in new activities and build teamwork and their camp spirit. Campers will swim once a week and also engage in weekly wacky water play on the field with slides, sprinklers and fun new water toys. Returning this summer, we are planning to bring back some of our favorite J-Camp field trips in accordance with public health guidance. Lastly, every Friday ends with an extravagant spirit-filled event to celebrate an incredible week and the week's special theme. Throughout all our camp activities we are cultivating our J-Camp values with our campers and staff to build warm, thoughtful and spirited communities.


What safety measures are in place for COVID-19?
At J-Camp our highest priority is camper safety. Having already facilitated two wonderful years of camp during these complicated times, we're confident that J-Camp 2022 will be as fun and as safe as ever. J-Camp staff receive extensive pre-camp training that includes policies and procedures around COVID-19, camper safety, child development and mandated reporting. Regular mask wearing, COVID testing and heightened hygiene measures are in place for all campers and employees throughout the summer. Programming is held outdoors as much as possible and we will continue to keep children in cohorts that do not mix, if necessary. We will be requiring all staff and eligible campers to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to attend camp this summer. We are continuing to follow the latest local and federal guidance and will continue to create new protocols and procedures to make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep our camp community safe. Families will receive updates whenever there is a procedural change and we're here to answer all of your questions so that you can feel confident in our program.


What should my children bring/wear to J-Camp?
It is recommended that campers bring the following items, labeled with their name, daily:

  • A NUT- AND PEANUT-FREE non-perishable lunch and a light morning snack
  • Sunscreen
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Backpack to house everything
  • On water or swim days, campers should bring their swimsuit, towel and change of clothes

Campers should wear closed-toe shoes and comfortable clothes that can get dirty. We ask that items of value and toys from home please be left at home as J-Camp is not responsible for lost or stolen items and these items can distract from the camp environment. Example items include electronics, toys, trading cards such as Pokémon cards, cell phones and money.


What is J-Camp’s food policy?
Campers must bring a non-perishable, NUT- AND PEANUT-FREE morning snack and lunch daily as we are not able to refrigerate or heat food items. The OFJCC is a kosher-style campus, so please send your camper without pork or shellfish in their food items. If for any reason your camper is missing their lunch, parents will be contacted to bring a lunch. Children will never go without a lunch offering, so fees may be assessed in situations where parents have not made arrangements and are unable to be contacted. A healthy afternoon snack will be provided daily by J-Camp during sign out. On Fridays, we will provide a kosher-style BBQ that consists of a kosher Hebrew National or vegetarian hot dog, chips and seasonal fruits and veggies. If we are able to have sleepovers at the OFJCC and off-site campouts, J-Camp will provide kosher-style meals for dinner and breakfast.


Is there an alternative to me packing lunch for my child every day?
We are very happy to announce that we have a new partner who will be providing delicious and nutritious lunches this summer! Anat has been a wonderful catering partner at the JCC and we are thrilled that she is partnering with our J-Camp team this year to create awesome lunches. You can place your order and check out the menu here. Anat's lunch program is designated for Monday through Thursday; on Fridays J-Camp will be providing our classic J-Camp hot dog BBQ with vegetarian options as well as a seasonal fruit, veggie and chips. For more about Anat, click here.


What is J-Camp's cell phone usage policy?
Cell phones can be a huge distraction for campers. We want all campers to be involved in the activities and enjoying their time building relationships, experiencing new things and being actively engaged. While we understand that many campers have cell phones for their own personal use and contact with their parents, we ask that campers leave their cell phones at home. If your camper must bring their cell phone to camp, we ask that it remains in their backpack and turned off at all times for safe keeping.


Will J-Camp be doing field trips this year with COVID restrictions?
J-Camp is planning to bring field trips back into our camp programming for summer 2022. We are going to follow public health guidance to ensure we are doing everything we can to create a safe environment for our campers and staff. We will provide more details about the field trips we are able to safely offer as we learn more about the public health guidance.


How will my camper be transported to and from field trips?
J-Camp transports our campers on chartered school buses and coach buses that are routinely inspected by the California Highway Patrol, as well as in OFJCC-owned vans. Bus and van drivers have completed background checks and training and are all qualified to drive per insurance safety standards.


Will J-Camp have overnight sleepovers and offsite campouts this year?
J-Camp is hoping to bring back overnight sleepovers and offsite campouts for summer 2022. We are going to follow public health guidance to ensure we are doing everything we can to create a safe environment for our campers and staff. We will provide more details about the possibility of bringing back overnight programming as we learn more about public health guidance.


What special events will be happening on Fridays this year? Will parents be allowed to join for Shabbat?
We are thrilled this year to bring back bigger and better Fun Fridays and Shabbat celebrations to end a fantastic week at camp! We are planning exciting programs with special vendors and all camp programming that we can do safely within COVID-19 public health guidance. Depending on the guidance, we may be able to bring all of camp together for these special events and there may be opportunities for parents to join us for end-of-week Shabbat celebrations. We will continue to update the FAQs and share more information with camp families when we get more clarity for what Friday programming we can safely offer to our campers and camp families.


What if my camper needs to take medication during camp?
In order for J-Camp staff to administer medication during the day, you must complete a separate medication disbursement form. Any over-the-counter or doctor-prescribed medication must be checked in during drop-off with our J-Camp team, along with the medication disbursement form, on the first day of camp.

 

Can I request for my child to be in the same group as their friends?
We know how important camp friends are and we are happy to accommodate friend requests to the best of our ability. In order to request that your child be in the same group as their friends we ask that you fill out the buddy request form and email it to youth@paloaltojcc.org as soon as possible after registering, but no later than May 31, 2022. You can list up to four friends that you would like your child to be in a group with. While we cannot guarantee all buddy requests, we will do everything we can to accommodate as many requests as possible.

 

What grade should I register my child for?
Please register your child according to the grade they are entering in the fall of the 2022/2023 school year. J-Camp is designed for school-aged children, with our youngest campers entering kindergarten. If your child is entering a transitional kinder program (TK), they are eligible to join J-Camp; please register your TK as an incoming kinder. Any special circumstances should be brought to the Camp Director's attention for consideration. J-Camp will do its best to accommodate the needs of each camper.

 

Will my child swim at J-Camp? What if my child doesn't know how to swim?
All campers will participate in recreational swim at the pool once a week and engage in weekly water play activities on the field. Counselors will facilitate fun activities in the pool and have exciting toys and slides for water play on the field. For children that don't know how to swim, we will have additional activities that they can do poolside and plenty of games in the shallow end of the pool. The campers will be supervised by counselors in the pool and by our aquatic staff and lifeguards.

 

What is the cancellation policy?
In the case of a cancellation, a refund will be issued minus your $200 non-refundable deposit per camp session. Any cancellations made after May 31, 2022 will not receive a refund. To cancel or change, please fill out the Change/Cancellation Form and send it to youth@paloaltojcc.org. After May 31, 2022, there will be no refund for any reason, except in the situation that the OFJCC shuts down camp prior to it beginning. (All cancellations must be submitted in writing.) We will not be issuing refunds for campers sent home for illness or any other reason. If you would like to change your camp session or transfer to another camp, a change fee of $20 will be charged for each change. All requests to change one program to another are contingent upon space and availability.

 

Does J-Camp offer financial assistance?
We want all children to be able to have an amazing summer with us. Here at J-Camp we are able to provide camperships in order to help make camp more affordable. Before applying for financial assistance, please register your child for camp so that your family has an Active account. To apply, please fill out the financial assistance application found in your confirmation email. Applications and your 2021 tax return must be submitted to the OFJCC by April 1, 2022. Fully completed applications are necessary to begin consideration. In the case that an award does not meet a family's need, all money paid will be fully refunded.

 

Camperships are made possible through the OFJCC Camp Scholarship Fund and the Jewish Community Day Camp Scholarship Fund of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund. For more information, please contact the scholarship committee at youth@paloaltojcc.org.

 

My child requires special assistance. How do I know if J-Camp is a good fit?
J-Camp is highly dedicated to being an inclusive and accommodating camp. We strive to support all children of varying needs and abilities to have a positive camp experience and are proud of our team's drive to ensure the success of every camper. Any information that you can provide prior to your child's participation in camp, relative to ways we can best serve them, is valuable to us. If you believe your child may require special assistance, please call the camp office at (650) 223-8622 to set up a meeting with the Camp Director to discuss how we can best accommodate your camper.