Tips for Parents

Chaverim Travel Camp


Welcome to Chaverim and to the JCC Camps at Medford. Chaverim is an innovative summer experience where teenagers travel together on a wide variety of single day and extended trips, making new friends and sharing new experiences. There are a multitude of exciting activities planned for the upcoming summer. Single day trips include trips to amusement parks, beaches, baseball games, and more, and extended trips occur at the end of each four week session. All entrance fees and lunches are provided by the camp, though campers often bring spending money for extras (i.e.: video games, sodas, ice cream, etc).

Below you will find the necessary information for campers and parents to make the most of their summer and to answer many of their questions. If you have additional questions, please contact us at the Katz JCC. Our email is chaverim@jfedsnj.org, our off-season phone number is 856-424-4444 x1238, and the Camp phone number beginning the Monday one week before Camp starts is 609-654-5192. Thank you for choosing Chaverim and the JCC Camps at Medford.

Chaverim Parent Orientation

We hold a parent orientation meeting prior to Camp at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill. You will have an opportunity to meet the Chaverim Director and some of the staff. There will be a short presentation followed by an opportunity for you to ask any questions. It is recommended that all new Chaverim parents attend. A letter indicating the date of the meeting is sent out in May.

Recent Photo of Camper

It is important that our staff become familiar with each camper as quickly as possible. In order to facilitate this process, we request a recent photo of your child. Please write their name on the back of the photo and mail it to the camp office, attn: Chaverim, JCC Camps, 1301 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003. You may also email it to us at dsherman@jfedsnj.org.

Staff and Supervision

The biggest reason for the success of the Chaverim program is its staff. Corey Levin is the Director of Chaverim. Corey has a degree in Math and Secondary Education, is a full time high school math teacher, and has been staff for this program for 10 years. Additionally, there are other staff members for Chaverim, responsible for the safety and supervision of its campers. They are college-aged or older and many return year after year. We always maintain a minimum of a 1:10 ratio when we travel.

On trips that are confined and enclosed, such as roller skating or bowling, a home base is set up for campers to come to if there are any issues, and counselors are distributed throughout the facility. On trips that are more spread out and open, such as amusement parks, in addition to a home base, counselors are assigned to each group of children and are responsible for keeping the group together. We only visit aquatic sites that have certified lifeguards on duty.

Chaverim Calendar

A complete calendar is provided prior to Camp. On it you will find the places that we plan to visit, along with approximate times of departure and return. Longer trips sometimes require departure and/or return to be at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, in order to maximize time spent at each location. Be advised that on occasion, facilities we visit make changes for various reasons (such as as inclement weather), and Camp may need to alter its schedule accordingly.

Adding, Changing, or Dropping Weeks

Camp does its best to accommodate changing needs of each camp family. However, because there is limited bus space, and since supervision is a top priority, we cannot always guarantee that we can make your requested week changes. There is never an administrative charge for adding weeks. However, we recommend that you take care of this as soon as you can, as once we are filled in a given week, we are unable to take any more campers unless someone drops out.

Through March 15th, there is no charge for changing or dropping weeks, and through May 15th, there is no charge for changing weeks. After these dates, a $30 administrative fee is charged per change, and once Camp begins, Camp cannot provide refunds for any weeks dropped.

Lunch

On day trips, Camp provides a kosher lunch, which is packed by the kitchen at Camp. It is typically sandwiches (tuna, egg salad, turkey, bagels, etc), and peanut butter and jelly are always available as an alternative. Drinks, snacks, fruits and vegetables are also provided daily.

All meals during our extended trips are kosher or kosher style, and vegetarian options are available at all times when requested. If you need special arrangements, please contact the camp office by June 1st, so we can insure that we are able to meet your camper’s needs.

Transportation

On most days, Chaverim campers take their regular bus to Camp. Bus cards are mailed the week prior to camp and will list the time that your child will be picked up in the AM, the corner where the bus will stop and the bus number. The PM time you can guesstimate based on the time it takes for the bus to run the AM route. If they are picked up around 9:15am and get to camp around 9:45am then you can assume that the PM time on the bus will be approximately 1/2 hour. The buses depart camp at approximately 4:00pm.

Most Chaverim campers are permitted by parents to get off the bus and walk home on his/her own. If you prefer to be at the bus stop everyday, give your bus counselor a note letting them know that you will be there everyday. Should the bus then arrive to drop off your child and you are not there, the bus will make multiple attempts to loop around again to see if you have arrived. If you are still not at the stop, once the route is completed, your child will be taken to the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, where he/she will participate in our daycare program. During this time, we will continue to try to reach you or your emergency numbers.

Travel Days: Weeks 1 - 3 and Weeks 5 - 7

Late Days

These are the days when Chaverim does not return from the trip until after the regular camp buses have departed. When this happens, the parents pick up their children at the Katz JCC, 1301 Springdale Road at the designated time. The trip calendar indicates which days are late days.

If a parent would like to pick up a camper other than their own,the parent should send a note stating their intentions. Please include first and last names of all additional campers. The additional campers must have a note from their parents stating that they have permission to go home with another parent.

Counselors are not allowed to take home any of the campers at any time.

Early Days

These are days when Chaverim does not ride the regular Camp bus and instead begins the day by being dropped off at the Katz JCC, 1301 Springdale Rd. at the designated time. The trip calendar indicates early days.

Rainy days / Changes to Schedule

If Chaverim is supposed to travel to an outdoor activity, and it is raining, an indoor activity will be scheduled. If it is unsafe to travel, the group will stay at camp for the day. If the group stays at camp, the staff will try to reschedule the event for another day. If the day can be rescheduled, the parents will be notified.

If the rainy day plans require a change in the time campers are scheduled to be picked up, all parents will receive phone calls. If the location for the day changes, but pick up time does not, no phone calls will be made.

If you have any questions concerning the plans for a rainy day, please contact the office at 609-654-5192 after 10:30am.

Extended Trips - Week 4 and Week 8

These trips take place in the last week of each session. The trips run from Monday through Thursday. Friday is a regular camp day. Exciting away trips have been planned for this summer. All meals, admissions, lodging and transportation are included. Hotels are used for overnight accommodations. Specific information will be sent in advance of each trip.

Luggage for away trips should be clearly marked. Campers are required to carry their own belongings, so pack light. The camp will not be responsible for lost or stolen items.

Parents must drop off and pick up teens at the Katz JCC for the four day trips. More information will be sent to you prior to each trip.

Campers that are travelling to Canada are required to have a passport or original birth certificate or a certified copy of their birth certificate from county of child’s birth and a notarized parent consent form.

What To Bring

Each week we will email you with some tips on what to bring for each trip, i.e. bathing suit and towel

Spending Money

We would like to say that no additional spending is needed on any of our trips, as Camp provides for all admissions and meals while at Camp. However, we recognize that 7th & 8th graders are independent teens who like to make choices for themselves, including buying snacks or souvenirs, or playing arcade games (when this is not the main activity). While we cannot recommend a specific amount per day, we do recommend that you create in advance a budget with your teen, which is based on the calendar we distribute. It can be a daily, weekly, or summer budget, and it may be helpful in teaching your teen how to manage money more effectively.

Valuables

Camp is not responsible for the loss of “valuable” items such as electronic games, DVD’s, cell phones or MP3 players, and the like. Bringing those are at your own risk and we strongly discourage it.

Cell Phones

Regarding cell phones, Camp does not feel that cell phones are always a great fit for Camp, as they can be distracting and disruptive of kids having a good time. However, Camp recognizes that they can be useful if used appropriately. Camp policy states that campers may use cell phones in an emergency or when permitted by camp staff (ie to let a parent know what time buses will be arriving) . They are not to be used to call or text message other campers, staff, or parents unless it is a necessity. We also ask that parents not call or text their children during the Camp day. If a camper needs to be contacted for an important reason, a parent should contact the Camp Office or the Chaverim Director.

Medical Forms

All medical forms must be received by us absolutely no later than June 1st. In completing this form, please include all information relating to the medical history of your child. Your medical insurance numbers are also important. Campers will not be permitted to attend camp unless medical forms are received by this date. If forms are not returned, it is the policy of the camp to consider the teen NOT registered and his/her place will be filled.

If you would like the staff to dispense Tylenol at your child’s request, please make sure you complete the medication permission authorization form. Your physician MUST sign and stamp this form. We will not dispense any medication without both permission from you and your physician. Campers are not permitted to carry any medication.

Health & Safety

All medications MUST be brought to the camp prior to the first day of camp. Please enclose, with the medication, accurate directions for dispensing, and written consent from a parent and a physician allowing the camp staff to dispense any medication to your child (prescription or non). The nurses will be available at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill prior to Camp. Please check the schedule as to when our nurses are available for consultation and to collect all medications.

If your child requires medication once camp has begun, the medication must be in its original container and you must have the medication permission form completed and signed by your physician. This medication and attached form should be given to the Chaverim Director.

Website

Please visit our website at www.jcccampsatmedford.org and download the required Chaverim forms. All completed forms can be turned in at the Parent Meeting or mailed, emailed or faxed to the camp office prior to June 1st. Please refer to the checklist online to make sure you have completed all of the required forms.

Chaverim staff take pictures throughout the summer. Visit our website to see photos.

Camper's Contract and Behavior

Camp activities, many times, are as good as the behavior, interest and attitude of the participants. Therefore, we have included a contract of camp rules which is to be signed by both the camper and the parent. Read the rules carefully before returning the signed contract along with your child’s medical form to our office.

What Did We Miss / Personal Interview

On these pages, we have tried to discuss the information that you need. If we have missed an area of concern to you, please feel free to call us at 856-424-4444 ext. 238, or email jcccampsmedford@jfedsnj.org. If you require a personal interview, a confidential interview will be arranged prior to the start of camp. Special medical limitations should also be discussed in this manner.

Feedback and Communication

Parents are the key persons with whom the child will share his/her camping experience. Information you acquire from your child will not be helpful to us unless it is shared. Therefore, we ask that any concerns, as well as positive feelings regarding the program, staff, or the facility, be communicated to us on an ongoing basis. If you have any suggestions for improving our program, please feel free to contact Corey or our Camp Directors.

Where possible, Camp will advise you of changes via email and phone calls. Please make sure we have all updated contact information so that we can reach you, and check these regularly during the summer!

Staff Recognition

Over the years, many of our parents have asked how they can express their appreciation to various staff members. Our Camp Committee of volunteers developed guidelines in response. While tipping is certainly not required, we do suggest that tips are an appropriate way to recognize those staff members who have contributed toward the success of your child’s summer experience. For typical camp at Medford, we recommend $25-$40 for a senior counselor. Chaverim is somewhat different as your child interacts with numerous counselors throughout the summer. Typically parents recognize those staff members who established strong connections with their child.