Tips for Parents

Camp Hilltop


First Time Day Campers

How can I best prepare my child for their first camp experience?

First, we recommend that you visit the campsite prior to camp. The Medford swim club, which is open to all JCC members, opens the 3rd Saturday in June. Knowing what the campsite looks like will certainly make your child more comfortable. Next, we suggest you save the date for our "Meet the Counselor Day" (for campers 3 - 9 years), the Sunday prior to camp from 2:00pm - 3:30pm, so your child can meet their counselors and the other campers in their bunk. Camp Aaron campers (10 - 13 years) can tour the facility and meet the staff the Sunday before camp from 2:00pm - 3:30pm.

What do I need to pack in my child's backpack?

Each camper should come to camp wearing sneakers and a bathing suit under their clothes. In their bags they should have a second bathing suit, 2 towels, and underwear. We recommend putting the underwear (and shorts for boys) in a plastic bag so they stay dry until your child is ready to change into them. After the first swim, campers change out of the wet suit and into the dry suit. After the 2nd swim they change into their dry underwear and shorts. Kefli campers should pack 1 towel and underwear as they swim one time each day. Many parents choose to send a snack and drink for the bus ride home. A frozen drink box is great as it will thaw but remain cool for the ride home.

Many campers like to pack a water bottle placed inside a sock to collect the condensation. We have water coolers as well as water fountains throughout the campsite, but they are certainly welcome to pack their own. We strongly discourage packing electronic games, trading cards, or other "valuable" items, and cell phones are not permitted at Camp. Please make sure that you label all of your child's belongings.

 

Bus Information

What time will my child be picked up and return home?

This information can be found on your child's bus/bunk card. The bus/bunk cards are mailed the week prior to camp. The card 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.

Who will supervise my child on the bus and make sure that he gets to his bunk?

A trained bus counselor is assigned to each bus to ensure safety and encourage fun. All of our buses have seat belts and are radio equipped. The bus counselor will help your child get buckled if they need assistance. Once the bus arrives at camp, the bus counselor makes sure all of the younger campers have their bags and escorts them to the main trail where many adults are waiting to greet them and match them up with counselors who will walk them everyday to their bunk table.

What if I am not at the bus stop when the bus drops off in the afternoon?

If you decide your child may get off the bus and walk home on his/her own, then the bus will drop your child off and continue on. If you plan 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 arrive to drop off your child and you are not there, the bus will continue its route with your child remaining on the bus. The driver will try to loop around again to see if you have arrived and we will attempt to call you. 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.

Can my child ride on his friend's bus one day?

As space on each bus is limited, no camper is permitted to change buses without the approval of the Transportation Coordinator. If space is available on the friend's bus, you will be given permission to ride on the specified day and a written note or email is required for final approval. For attendance purposes, it is important that we know what bus your child is coming and going on. If your child takes a different bus in the morning, we will need to know if he/she plans to take the regular bus home. The regular bus counselor will have your child marked absent for the AM and assume they are not coming home in the PM. When you coordinate with Camp transportation, we will inform the regular bus counselor to make sure your child is on the bus in the PM.

How do I sign up for the express bus?

The express bus leaves from the Katz JCC and goes directly to camp without stopping. There are several express buses and they leave at staggered times so we have smaller crowds waiting for the buses. Just write in the JCC express bus stop number, which can be found on the bus stop listing, on your camper's registration form and we will assign them to a JCC express bus. If you want to change from your neighborhood stop to an express bus you must contact the camp office and submit your request in writing. There is a $30 administration fee for any transportation changes made after May 15th. Because each bus has a limited number of seats, your camper must ride their assigned bus.

What if I need to pick up my child early?

If you know in advance that you will be doing this, please send in a note with your child, let the bus counselor know AND email (transportation@jfedsnj.org) or call camp 609-654-5192 x106. When you arrive at camp you will be asked to park in the lower lot. For safety reasons, no vehicles are permitted to drive into camp. The security guard will check you in and direct you to the offices. If we know the time you are arriving, we will do our best to have your child waiting at the office for you. You must sign your child out in the office.

What if I need to drop my child off late?

If your child will not be riding the bus in the morning, please call the camp office either the day before or the morning of so we can inform the bus company. The camp office opens at 8:00am. When you arrive at camp you will be asked to park in the lower lot. The security guard will check you in and direct you to the office. You must sign your child in with our staff. We will call for a counselor to come greet your child and walk him/her to the bunk.

How does the Margate bus work?

The Margate bus will take your child to and from camp to the Margate JCC on Jerome Ave. You can use the Margate bus any day or you can choose to use it AM, PM or both. This service is an additional fee. You can access the Margate Bus form here or you may contact the camp office at 856-424-4444 x238 and request a Margate bus form. Once you have checked off the dates that your child will ride the bus, we will remove them from their neighborhood bus on those specific dates and assign them to the Margate bus. Any changes that you need to make must be made in writing.

 

Health and Medication

What if my child gets sick at camp?

We have registered nurses on site at all times. Should your child need minor medical attention (cuts, headache, TLC, etc.) our nurses will attend to your child and send home in their bag a note letting you know that they visited the nurses' office and what specifically was done (extra popsicle, band-aid, etc.) Should your child become sick at camp (fever, vomiting, etc.) we will first try to contact the parents to come pick up the camper. If we are not able to reach a parent, we will then contact the emergency numbers.

How do I get my child's medication to camp?

Our nurses are available pre-camp to collect medication. Our medication guidelines form lists the dates and times the nurses are at the Katz JCC for medication collection. Pharmacy labels are required on all prescription medications and non-prescription medications need to be in their original containers with the camper's name clearly written on it. You need to fill out our medication form, which gives us accurate directions for dispensing and written consent allowing our nurses to dispense the medication to your child. If medication needs to be sent once camp has begun, please contact the nurses' office at 609-654-2088 and let them know you are sending in medications. This will allow them to review the dispensing directions with you. These medications should be given to the bus counselor along with the signed medication permission form.

 

Food

What are the lunch choices for my child?

A kosher lunch is provided each day. Beverages, fruit and snack are also provided. We have a different lunch selection each day. Our menu lists all of our selections each day. Peanut butter and jelly and bagels and margarine are always available as an alternative to the lunch selection of the day. Yogurt, bagels and cream cheese are available as an additional alternative on non-meat days.

What if my child has food allergies?

As each food allergy is unique and requires different solutions, please contact Aaron Greenberg, Camp Director, 856-424-4444 x1239 to discuss your individual child.

What if my child's birthday is during camp?

You are welcome to send in a snack or cupcakes for your child's birthday. Please call the camp office and speak with your child's division head so they can expect the snack and set up a time for your child's bunk to enjoy them. All snacks sent to camp must be kosher.

 

Swimming

Does my child receive instructional swim every day? How will I know how he is progressing?

Yes, every camper receives instructional swim each day lead by our Red Cross certified lifeguards. Campers are grouped by ability during instructional swim. Each week they focus on specific skills and the campers are evaluated at the end of the week to see if they are ready to move up to the next swimming level. Kefli, Hilltop and Shalom campers (ages 3 - 9) receive a written report from the swim instructor each week detailing each camper's progress.

My child doesn't know how to swim and has a fear of the water. How do you handle that?

First you should know that we have four pools at camp and each is designed for a specific age group. The goal is to have every camper feeling comfortable knowing that they are in a pool that is just their size. The youngest campers swim in a pool that is 1-2' deep in most areas and has a "deep end" that is 3'. Once the campers realize that it is not above their head, we can successfully get them in the shallow end. If we have a camper who is still not ready to go into the water, we work with them on an individual basis with their counselors using games and activities to make them more comfortable around the pool area. We will contact the parents if a camper will not go in for instructional swim and we work together as a team to help the camper overcome his/her fears. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our Aquatics Director directly at 609-654-5192 x130.

 

Rainy Days

Should I send my child to camp on rainy days?

Our staff is well prepared for rainy days. The specialists, who run the daily activities, visit campers on their pavilions and bring the activities to them. With creative crafts, indoor sports, wacky treasure hunts and other innovative activities, it is always a fun, spirited day for the campers. We typically do not look to take campers off-site on rainy days when it has not been previously scheduled.

How should I dress my child on rainy days?

Rain ponchos are great for camp. Rainy day mornings can also be cool so you may want to pack a sweatshirt. Don't forget to pack the usual swim towels and suits, as a rainy morning doesn't necessarily mean a rainy afternoon.

 

Staff Recognition

What is an appropriate way to thank the staff that took care of my child this summer?

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. Below is a guide that may be helpful.

  • Sr. Counselor: $25 - $40
  • Bus Counselor: $10 - $20
  • Asst. Sr. Counselor: $20 - $30
  • Bus Driver: $10 - $15
  • Jr. Counselor: $15 - $25
  • Counselor Assistant: $10 - $20
  • CIT: $10 - $15
 

You may also wish to consider your child's Swim Instructor and Daycare Staff.

 

General Information

How should I address any issues that may arise during the summer?

Don't wait to see if the issue goes away, please contact the camp office immediately. If we know about the issue then we can address it quickly.

Can my child bring a friend or relative who is not enrolled to visit camp for the day?

For safety and supervision reasons, campers cannot bring visitors during the camp day, as all children at Camp must be registered for Camp, must be covered under our insurance, and must have signed health forms (with instructions for an emergency). However, the Medford swim club is open on weekends to all JCC members and their guests.