We realize that we sent many emails on how to prepare your boys & girls for sleepaway camp, but we know YOU need to prepare as well. Here’s our Parent Survival Guide for the best tips and tricks to enjoy your summer.
Remember, campers are busy. From 7am until 9pm they are immersed in activities. They are engaged, having fun, growing in many ways, and tired. With that in mind, we now give you our pro tips on how to survive your kids being gone…
Survival Tip #1 - MAIL
Mail delivery happens once a day around lunch. This is when letters that arrived in the mail the day before are delivered to campers. We also collect mail from campers to be sent out the following day. There is specific letter writing time twice a week and daily opportunities for campers to write during their 1 hour menucha (rest time).
If you are sending emails, you MUST check the box requesting a reply for your camper to receive an email response form. Please realize that kids do not always want to respond. We suggest using this sparingly.
What does this mean? Communication takes time. If you don’t receive a reply, it is ok. No news is good news. Your camper is having fun, resting, or playing with a friend.
Survival Tip #2 - PHOTOS
Photos are posted daily by 1pm from the day before. If you check at 10am on Friday, the most current photos will be from Wednesday. We ask that you patiently wait until 1 pm for Thursday’s photos. We post to CampInTouch and the Campanion app which you can download at campanionapp.com. Log in with your CYJ CampInTouch information, upload a reference photo of your child for facial recognition, and get ready to let the good times roll with photos, albums, and updates from camp all summer long!
Our photographer takes photos throughout the day, but can’t be everywhere. We also ask our Merakzim (unit heads) to take photos of their aidah (age group) each day. We post about 25 photos daily of each aidah. While it is nice to have a photo of every child every day, sometimes that doesn’t work out. There may be days that your camper is not in a photo. This just means they were so busy having fun that they couldn’t stop to pose! Please keep in mind that we do not post or take photos on Shabbat. We know it is a long wait, but any photos from Friday or Saturday night will be posted Sunday afternoon.Download Campanion
Survival Tip #3 - GROWTH
Your kids are growing physically, socially, emotionally, and independently. There will be bumps along the road. Our goal is to partner with parents to help our campers learn life skills, create solutions, and cope with challenges. Our counselors live with the campers and have a great handle on what is going on within the groups. You may get a message that your camper is having an issue with a friend or that they are homesick. This is completely normal and our counselors are trained to help your campers grow through this experience. This is a great opportunity for you to check in with your camper but there is a good chance by the time you have received the letter, the challenge has been resolved. If there is anything to worry about, we will call you!
Survival Tip #4 - THE OFFICE & HEALTH CENTER
The office & health center are your friends! You can reach us at 713-723-8354 or .
Our office hours are 9 am to 6 pm. We are old-fashioned and like to answer your call, but the person you want to reach may not be available. We try to spend most of our days interacting with campers and running programs. If you call outside of office hours, please leave a voicemail (or better yet, send an email!). Please keep in mind that we check our voicemail and emails periodically during the day, but mostly at night after campers have gone to sleep so please give us a day to reply. We aren’t ignoring you!
Survival Tip #5 - HOMECOMING
When camp is over, you may not recognize your camper! They may be an inch taller, be speaking about new friends you have never heard of, stay up later than you expect (camp time is Mountain Daylight Time), or have new skills. This is why you sent them to camp - to have fun, meet new people, enrich their Jewish identity, and grow!
The same as it took your camper a few days to adjust to camp, it will take some time for your camper to adjust to life back at home. Be patient and continue camp traditions like making their bed and toranut (cleaning up after meals).
We hope this helps you navigate your camper’s time away. Please enjoy sleeping in and a dinner out! This is a vacation for you. Have fun!
As always, if you have any questions as you get ready for camp, let us know: or 713-723-8354.