Category: Parent FAQs

Preparing Your Child for Camp

Posted by April 1, 2019 • Share:

This is the sixth in a series of emails & blog posts covering important topics about sending your child to camp. If you missed the previous emails & blog posts, you can view them here.

Parent Play-by-Play 6: Preparing Your Child for Camp

Going away from home for an extended period of time can be difficult for some children (and not just first-time campers).  It is natural for them to be a little anxious as camp grows closer.  Some will carry their concerns to camp.  To help your child with these feelings, we have compiled this guide for parents.  The pointers below will help prepare your child for the enriching experience that camp provides.

If your child is apprehensive about going to camp or showing any resistance or anxiety, the most important thing you can do is talk about it. Ignoring their feelings or hoping they will go away is not helpful. At the same time, you also don’t have to have a long drawn out conversation. Sometimes a simple recognition of their feelings and the understanding that going away can be scary is all that is needed to help your child feel supported.

If your child exhibits concerns about going to camp, encourage an open expression of feelings. They are worried about the unknown and are looking for your understanding.  It is helpful to tell your child that these concerns are normal and that many other campers feel the same way.  Permit your child to call the camp office to ask questions and receive reassurance.  Let them know that the camp director is always available to help, before and during camp.

Please do not be ambivalent about your child’s stay at camp. Your child needs to understand that they will be coming to camp for 2 weeks (or however long they’ve committed).  It is important that a camper understands this commitment and is not encouraged to think he or she may leave before the session ends.  A “try it out” approach does not work.  Although it may temporarily calm the child at home it creates challenges at camp.  Remember, fees are not refundable for early departure.

Remind your camper that summer camp is about having fun, meeting new people, trying new things and taking on challenges. This approach may not work for all children, but as these are important values of our camp, if the moment feels right, it’s a good time to explore these aspects of being away from home.  Our camp is designed to help campers, new and returning, to meet new people and make new friends. Make sure your child knows this as they prepare for their summer camp adventure.

Reassure your child that everything at home will be the same as when they left. This means that pets will be cared for, possessions will be protected from siblings, and that their room will stay as it was left. If for any reason this cannot be promised, inform the camp office of the circumstances – we can be most helpful when we are informed.

Please notify the camp office of any upsetting event that may have occurred prior to camp or you anticipate happening during the summer. In this category would be an illness or death in the family, poor school grades, divorce, or moving to a new house or city.

When seeing your child off at the airport or dropping your child off at camp, make your parting brief and pleasant.  Prolonged or tearful good-byes can be emotionally upsetting to your child.

Lastly, please discuss with the Camp Director if your child has been under any psychological or psychiatric care at any time prior to camp.  JCC Maccabi Sports Camp is well prepared to deal with most children and the common problems of growing up.  Our knowledge of the facts will give your child the best chance of success. On the flip side, being left in the dark regarding a serious situation leaves us unable to properly care for your child.

As you can see, open conversation and support are best and key to your child’s success. By spending some time properly discussing your camper’s feelings, you can do wonders to set them up for an amazing overnight camp experience away from home.

As always, please feel free to call camp to discuss further. We are happy to be part of any conversation that will offer more support for your child.

Upcoming Topics

  • Summer Communication  – photos, Facebook, blogs and more

Previous Topics

To view all of the topics in this series, click here.

Packing and Gear

Posted by April 1, 2019 • Share:

This is the fourth in a series of emails & blog posts covering important topics about sending your child to camp. If you missed the previous emails or posts on Transportation, Health & Safety, or Camper Care & Campus Life, click here to view them online.  

Parent Play-by-Play 4: Packing & Gear

We want to make packing for camp as easy as possible, which is why we’ve created a thorough packing list with sections for each Core Sport. Click here to download a PDF of the packing list.

What should my child pack?

Packing Information

The following information is meant to serve as a guide to help answer any questions about what your child should bring to camp.  We encourage you to use your best judgment about your child’s needs in helping him or her to pack thoroughly, yet efficiently.

It is critical that you write your child’s name on all clothing and linens. Camp is not responsible for lost or damaged items.

For easy labeling, check out Label Daddy and use code “MACCABI” 

Even though we provide laundry at the midway point of a 13-day session, we still encourage campers to pack clothes for a minimum of 10 days. Given the active sports schedule, campers tend to need more than 1 shirt, socks, etc. for each day.

Shabbat Attire

On Friday evening of our Shabbat celebration, all campers and staff members are asked to dress in a clean, white shirt (polo, t-shirt, button down, etc.)  Please note that you do not need to purchase new clothes for Shabbat; any clean, white shirt will suffice.  Pants, shorts, and skirts do not need to be white.

Sports Equipment, Clothing, and Footwear

Campers will spend 4 hours each day at their Core Sport so it is essential that they have comfortable, appropriately fitting clothes for their sport.  Shoes and cleats brought to camp should be broken in to ensure proper comfort and fit.  Campers must wear appropriate clothing and footwear at all times.

In addition to the necessary gear for their specific Core Sport, we strongly encourage campers to bring gear for other sports, such as a baseball glove, cleats and/or tennis racquet.

See our Packing List in CampInTouch or download a PDF here for more information on what is recommended for each sport.

What items are not allowed at camp?

Items to Leave at Home

  • Clothing with inappropriate logos or words such as references to alcohol, drug, or profanity
  • Weapons of any kind
  • Food, candy, gum
  • Cell phones, personal video gaming devices or any devices with screens, internet or cellular abilities (see Electronic Policy in Parent Handbook for details)

Linens & Bedding

Campers are strongly encouraged to bring their own bedding. The mattresses at camp are twin XL (39” W x 80” L).  In addition to a fitted sheet, campers should bring a top sheet and blanket, or a sleeping bag if they prefer. They will also need a pillow, pillowcase, and 2-3 towels (1-2 for showering and 1 for pool use.)

If campers are flying to camp and/or unable to bring their own bedding, camp will provide a complete linen package, which includes two sheets, blanket, pillow, pillowcase, towels, and a washcloth. It is not necessary to request a linen package in advance. When your camper arrives, we will check to see if they need sheets, towels, etc. and provide them accordingly. There are no additional charges for the linen package. 

Forgotten Items

If your child forgot a necessary item, you can mail it to camp with “Forgotten Item” written clearly on the package and we will deliver it to your child.

Will my child be able to do laundry at camp?

Laundry Service

We provide laundry service to all campers once per session.  As stated above, your child should bring enough clothes to last more than 1 week, keeping in mind that they will usually wear 2 outfits daily (one for Core Sports and one after showering.) It is very likely that campers laundry will be bundled by room, so it is very important to label each item of your child’s clothing.

While we strive to provide excellent laundry service, we strongly discourage campers from bringing expensive clothes or items that require delicate or special care.


The average daytime temperature at camp ranges from the mid-70’s to the high 80’s. It can be cooler in the evenings with the temperature dropping into the 60’s.

Eye Care

If your child wears glasses or contacts, please send them with extras, as these items are occasionally broken or misplaced at camp.


At JCC Maccabi Sports Camp one of our key goals is to help campers forge new friendships and connect with their cabin mates and counselors.  We want every camper and counselor to be an active participant in the daily life of camp and to not simply attend each activity but be present for every activity.

In order to do this, we ask that camp remain a place for campers to “unplug” from the electronics that they use daily at home and at school.

We do not allow any devices that can make or receive a phone call; play a video game, DVD, or movie; access the internet; or send/receive email or instant messages. A general rule of thumb is: any device with a screen is not allowed.  (The only exception to this is digital cameras and e-readers.)

Campers are allowed to bring small music devices without screens, such as the iPod shuffle.  Please note that we cannot be held responsible for lost or damaged items.

Other Policies

Please review the Parent Handbook to review camp policies regarding bringing food, money & valuables to camp and drugs, alcohol & tobacco.  We also encourage you to review Appendix I for the Terms & Conditions that you signed upon completion of the Camper Application.

Upcoming Topics

  • Preparing for Camp – preparing your child to be away from home
  • Summer Communication  – photos, Facebook, blogs and more

Previous Topics

To view all of the topics in the Parent Play-by-Play series, click here.


Posted by April 1, 2019 • Share:

This is the third in a series of emails and blog posts covering important topics about sending your child to camp. If you missed the previous topics on Camper Care & Campus Life or Health & Safety, click here to view them online.

Parent Play-by-Play 3: Transportation

The first step to having an amazing camp experience is getting to camp! In this blog post we answer all of your questions about dropping your child off at camp and picking them up on the last day.

The Jewish value of K’lal Yisrael – Welcoming Jewish People and Friends – is one of camp’s core values. It’s not just the similarities but the differences that unite people worldwide. Feeling welcome and part of a community begins the first moment each camper reaches camp. When campers arrive at camp, whether by car or plane, our staff will greet them with a smile and help them feel comfortable at their home away from home.

Clear communication between parents and the Camp Office regarding your child’s travel information is essential. We use  CampInTouch to track campers’ travel plans to and from camp. Please complete the online Transportation Form (which can be found in your CampInTouch portal) by May 1 so we can make the proper arrangements.

When is drop-off and pick-up?

Getting to Camp by Car

On the first day of each session, families are welcome to drop their child off at camp.  Please plan to arrive at camp between 10:00am and 11:00am. To ensure a smooth first day of camp, we ask for your cooperation in arriving during the prescribed window. We will have staff members directing traffic, unloading luggage, and showing you where to park. Families are welcome to accompany campers to their dorm rooms and help them get settled, though there will also be counselors in the dorm and dedicated time later in the day to unpack.

Parents will receive an email a few days before the first day of camp reminding you of important drop-off logistics.

Our summer address is:

JCC Maccabi Sports Camp
c/o Menlo College
1000 El Camino Real
Atherton, CA 94027

If my child is flying to camp, who will pick them up from the airport?

Getting to Camp by Air

For campers who will be traveling by airplane, please book flights to arrive between 9:00am and 11:00am. If you are not able to secure a flight that lands in this time frame, please call or email camp to discuss.

Nearby airports, in order of preference for pick-up:

  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • San Jose International Airport (SJC)

We will provide transportation at no additional cost to and from these three airports.

Most major airlines allow for travel by Unaccompanied Minors over the age of 5 years old.  We encourage you to review the specific requirements of each airline as they are all different. Please notify us directly if your child will be traveling as an Unaccompanied Minor.

All campers deemed to be Unaccompanied Minors will be greeted inside the terminal by an adult member of our camp staff and transported directly to camp. Those that do not qualify as an Unaccompanied Minor will be met just outside security. Once your child arrives at camp, you will receive a phone call notifying you of their safe arrival.  

When booking travel for an Unaccompanied Minor, the airline will ask for the name of the adult picking up your child at the airport. Due to the complexities of airport pick-up logistics, we are not able to provide this information until days prior to your child’s flight. For now, put “Josh Steinharter” in that space and we will follow-up with you as the date nears to give you the name of the camp staff member that will actually be greeting your child when they get off the plane.

Campers flying to camp are permitted to bring a mobile phone for use during travel; it will be collected upon arrival and kept in the camp safe for the duration of the session. Campers should bring a phone charger and we will ensure their phone is fully charged for the trip home.

If a parent will be flying to camp with your child and does not require transportation from the airport, you should still include your child’s flight information on the Transportation Form but please notify us via email that airport pick-up is not required.

Returning Home from Camp

For families living within driving distance, please plan to arrive at camp between 10am and 11am on the last day of the session. Parents will also receive an email a few days before the last day of the session reminding you of important pick-up logistics.

For campers who are flying home, we will provide transportation to the airport. Campers will be supervised throughout the check-in process and a staff member will remain at the airport until after their flight has departed. Please arrange flights to depart between 10am and 12pm.

As always, contact our office at (415) 997-8844 or with any questions.

Upcoming Topics

  • Packing & Gear – how to pack, laundry, gear for core sports and other sports  
  • Preparing for Camp – preparing your child to be away from home
  • Summer Communication  – photos, Facebook, blogs and more

Previous Topics

To view all of the topics in this series, click here.

Health & Safety

Posted by April 1, 2019 • Share:

This is the second in a series of emails & blog posts covering important topics about sending your child to camp. If you missed the previous email on Camper Care & Campus Life, click here to view it online.

Parent Play-by-Play 2: Health & Safety

Our top priority at camp is ensuring your child’s health and safety. At camp we talk about Shmirat Haguf – Guarding the Body – and emphasize the importance of caring for our minds, bodies, and souls while at camp. Stretching, eating healthy meals, wearing sunscreen, and staying hydrated are a few of the preventative measures we practice!  This post will focus on our health center, medications, general safety and vaccinations.

Health Forms

Ensuring proper care of your child during their time at camp begins with our forms.  By now you’ve been introduced to CampInTouch, the online information center for enrolled families. If you do not know how to access this area, please email us at

Receiving complete and honest information about your child is critical to our ability to provide proper care. Please take the appropriate time to answer all questions and tell us as much about your child as possible. It is important that we know about everything and anything that could come up at camp and might help us to care for your child and enable them to feel as though camp is their home away from home.

Parents should notify camp of issues like allergies, medications, picky eating, bedwetting, apprehension about going to camp (more about how to address feelings of missing home in a future issue), social and behavior concerns.

The more you share, the more we can be prepared to provide the support your child needs to create a successful camp experience.

What happens if my child gets sick or injured?

Health Center

Our Health Center is centrally located on our camps and is staffed by a Nurse and an Athletic Trainer during all camp sessions.

Medical staff is available 24 hours a day and able to handle any and all medical issues. Most medical situations, such as colds, allergies, sprains, and dehydration will be handled on-site. Additionally, the majority of our staff are also certified in First Aid, CPR, and AED by the American Red Cross.

For more advanced medical care, JCC Maccabi Sports Camp has established a relationship with two local medical providers as well as three more commonly needed medical experts:

Stanford Hospital & Clinics – Emergency Room
(Approx. 3 miles from camp)
300 Pasteur Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94305

Pediatric Urgent Care – Palo Alto
(Approx. 2 miles from camp)
795 El Camino Real
Level 1, Lee Building
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Dr. Avram Greenspan – Pediatrician
(Approx. 1 mile from camp)
609 Price Avenue, #4
Redwood City, CA 94063

Dr. Jan Gabus – Dentist
(Approx. 1 mile from camp)
1300 University Drive, #5
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Dr. Scott Kaloust – Orthodontist
(Approx. 1 mile from camp)
1300 University Drive, #2
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Should your child necessitate a visit to on off-site medical facility, you will receive a phone call from the Camp Director, Nurse, or other member of our Senior Staff. As part of our camp forms, you are asked to give authorization allowing your child to be treated by medical professionals. We have found that the staff at most off-site facilities are is likely to call a parent before providing treatment to a minor. As the camp caring for your child, we prefer to let you know in advance of that call so you can be aware it is coming and tend to all incoming calls from unfamiliar numbers.

Parents are notified if their child has been in the Health Center for more than 24 hours, needs to be placed on prescription medication, or has been taken to an off-site doctor, emergency room, or hospital.

Parents are not generally notified if their child visits the Health Center and receives a routine diagnosis and treatment, which would include cuts, colds, bug bites, stomach aches, sore throats, or headaches.

What if my child takes prescription medication?

Camper Medications

If your child takes prescription medication, you should take several steps to enable us to support your child properly while in our care.

  • Fill out the camp medical forms clearly and completely
  • Update your camper’s forms should anything change with type or dosage
  • Send the correct amount of prescription medication to camp with your child in their original bottles/containers – DO NOT SEGMENT YOUR CHILD’S MEDICATION INTO A DAILY PILL ORGANIZER

Our medical staff will store and be responsible for the administration of your child’s prescribed medication. Under no circumstances should a camper retain and administer his or her own prescription medication. This is considered a violation of our camp policies and is grounds for dismissal from camp.

If you would like to speak directly with the Nurse or Camp Director regarding any special instructions for camper medication or treatment, feel free to call our office at 415-997-8844.

We strongly discourage parents from altering their child’s medication regimen during their time at camp. It is important that any medication your child relies on during the school year is continued while at camp to ensure a successful and comfortable experience. If you are considering altering or taking a break from your child’s medication schedule, please call and discuss with the Camp Director.

What is security like on campus?

General Safety & Supervision

Menlo College is located in Atherton, California, one of the more affluent and safe neighborhoods in America. This insulated, safe aspect of the campus is one of the reasons it was chosen as the location for our camp.

Menlo College has a 24-hour security presence and the camp works closely with the school to ensure the same protection is provided for our campers. Additionally, the dorms are secured with a high-level key-code access system that applies to all exterior and interior doors.

Campers are under adult supervision at all hours of the day, including all programming, meals and in dorms. Campers are not permitted to travel the campus without an adult. In addition to these safety measures, we spend considerable time training and preparing staff for a variety of scenarios that might arise during the summer.

Emotional Safety and Bullying

We take pride in the fact that camp is a welcoming and safe community for all campers and staff members. Safety – both physical and emotional – is our top priority and we do not tolerate bullying, threatening, discrimination, or harassment of any kind.


It is JCC Maccabi Sports Camp policy that campers be immunized against the common communicable diseases listed on our Immunization history form. Every child must have current, up-to-date polio series, measles, mumps, rubella, and tetanus toxoid vaccinations to attend JCC Maccabi Sports Camp. A negative TB test within the past 24 months is also strongly recommended.

If your child has not been vaccinated, please contact our office to speak with the Camp Director.

Upcoming Topics

  • Transportation – how to get to and from camp, drop-off and pick-up times
  • Packing & Gear – how to pack, laundry, gear for core sports and other sports
  • Preparing for Camp – preparing your child to be away from home
  • Summer Communication  – photos, Facebook, blogs and more

Previous Topics

  • Camper Care & Campus Life – who are our staff, dorm life, food, and more

To view all of the topics in the Parent Play-by-Play series, click here.

Camper Care & Campus Life

Posted by April 1, 2019 • Share:

Summer is just around the corner and there’s a lot of information about camp that we want to share. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sending a series of emails on the most important topics to help prepare your child (and you!) for a terrific experience at JCC Maccabi Sports Camp.   

Parent Play-by-Play 1: Camper Care & Campus Life

Our first topic is Camper Care & Campus Life because taking care of your children is our #1 priority. In this post we’ll answer questions about caring for your children, food, dorm life, and more. 

Who are the staff that will care for my child?  

The staff at JCC Maccabi Sports Camp function as a team, working together to ensure that everyone has a safe, fun, and memorable camp experience. The large staff team also functions in smaller teams of Leadership, Medical, Counselors, and Head Coaches, which you’ll be introduced to below.

  • Executive Director – Josh Steinharter
  • Associate Director – Eytan Graubart
  • Operations Director – Lauren Bohne

Working alongside the Leadership Team, our Senior Staff are seasonal staff members that are not coaches or counselors, but play key roles in our summer organization and the management of the camper experience. This group of individuals is charged with the daily care and support of your children. They oversee counselors, providing guidance and mentorship, and work directly with campers to ensure the social and emotional well-being and success of every child. It is quite possible that you will speak with a member of our Camper Care Team at some point during the summer, should there be a situation that requires your support, input, or to simply update you on a happening with your child at camp.

Counselors are the staff members whose primary responsibility is to care for our campers.  They are camp counselors in the traditional sense, responsible for the health and well being of our campers, ensuring campers are making friends, and serving as role models and leaders.

Each cabin has 2-3 dedicated counselors depending on cabin size. Counselors, like you’ll find at most Jewish overnight camps, are college-age staff with experience working with children in a structured environment (school, camp, after-school programs, coaching, etc.)  

In addition to serving as leaders of their cabins, our counselors also serve a  secondary role as a Specialist in one of our program areas, the majority working at Assistant Coaches in our Core Sports. All Assistant Coaches to camp with an extensive background playing and/or coaching sports; like our campers, they also have a deep passion for sport and the impact it has has on their lives.  


Head Coaches are all coaches by profession, employed year-round at the club, high school and/or collegiate level of their core sport. Some are local, some come from distances and all have extensive experience working with children of all ages. We seek coaches that not only possess a deep knowledge and passion for the game, but also an understanding of how to work with kids individually to ensure skill development and a love for the game. Head Coaches are responsible for planning the curriculum for their sport, leading sessions and working with Assistant Coaches to create a positive, supportive, and competitive environment for our campers to learn, thrive and have fun. 

Camper Care

Taking care of your child is our first and most important priority. This begins by hiring qualified staff through an extensive interview process that includes several conversations, reference checks and a background check.

Our summer begins with a week of Staff Training where we dig deep into a variety of topics including relationship building, behavior management, communication, policies and procedures and more. Staff training is not limited to one week; we provide continuous feedback and training to our staff throughout the summer via formal and informal methods.

The majority of our adult staff (Head Coaches, Program Director, Digital Media staff) live in the dorm with our campers. In addition to providing constant supervision, this also affords staff and campers the opportunity to form close bonds and develop important relationships. Having adult staff other than Counselors in the dorms enables us to utilize a team approach to camper care, making more people available to support our community during the less structured times of day such as wake up, cabin clean up, shower hour and bedtime.

Dorm Life

All campers live in the Menlo College dorms and have one or two roommates. Cabin units are formed based on age and gender and each cabin has dedicated counselors living in the dorms alongside the campers. To build cabin unity, there are dedicated times for cabin programming, and cabin groups eat all their meals together. Just like at home, meals are a great time for campers to forge relationships and catch up on the day, helping to create a nice family atmosphere.

When will I find out my child’s roommates?

Roommate Requests

We realize many campers come to camp with friends from outside camp and desire to room together. As such, we accept requests and do our best to accommodate mutual requests. Campers will find out their roommates at check-in on the first day of camp.

All roommate groupings are made with the utmost thought and concern for all campers. There are times when, in the best interest of your child, other children, and the camp as a whole, roommate requests cannot be honored. Sometimes, the logistics of creating roommate pairings simply does not work out according to everyone’s requests. In these few cases we hope that you will trust our professional judgment.

Please note that roommate requests must be reciprocal, meaning that we must receive a matching request from another camper.

Camp can be a valuable tool in helping your child make the most of their developmental years and part of the fun of camp is the experience of meeting new people and learning to live in a group situation. A successful new friendship can be the most rewarding aspect of camp.

See the Parent Handbook for more information about our staff and dorm life. (The Parent Handbook can also be found in the CampInTouch portal under “Forms & Documents”)

What is the food like at camp?  


If you’ve seen our camp video, you might remember that one of our campers described camp food as “surprisingly good.” This always gets a good laugh, but it’s also true. The food at camp is delicious with the majority of the offerings coming from local and organic sources.

Shmirat Haguf, Guarding the Body, is one of camp’s core values and as such, we encourage campers to eat to fuel their body and be prepared for a full day of activity.

Each meal includes hot entrées, vegetarian options and salad bar for lunch and dinner. Meals are kosher style with separate meat and dairy meals and no pork or shellfish.

Our staff keeps a close eye on what campers are eating making sure that they have a well-balanced meal and have a variety of foods on their plate.

Upcoming Topics

  • Health & Safety – health  center, medications, immunizations and general safety
  • Transportation – how to get to and from camp, drop-off and pick-up times
  • Packing & Gear – how to pack, laundry, gear for core sports  
  • Preparing for Camp – preparing your child to be away from home
  • Summer Communication  – photos, mail, social media, and more

To view all of the topics in this series, click here.