This is last of a series of emails & blog posts covering important topics about sending your child to camp. If you missed the previous emails & blog posts in this series, click here to view.
Parent Play-by-Play 6: Summer Communication
In today’s issue we discuss ways you can interact with your child and their summer camp experience.
There are several ways to stay connected to your child and the happenings at camp including social media, emails, letter writing, photos and the camp blog.
Emergency Hotline: (415) 779-4769
If there is an emergency and you need to reach camp immediately during the summer, please use this number. It will connect to the Leadership Staff member on duty and will be on during all hours of the day.
Please note, this number should only be used in the case of emergencies. Non-emergencies should still be directed to the main camp number (415) 997-8844. If you don’t get us directly it’s because we’re out having fun with your kids and we check messages frequently.
Just like our campers, we love social media! Be sure to LIKE us on Facebook so you can stay on top of what we’re doing, reading, thinking, and feeling. We’d love for you to share our posts and photos with your friends and family too.
By now you should be familiar with CampInTouch, our online portal for registration and camper forms. Once camp begins, the platform transitions to enable you to stay in touch with your child and the happenings at camp.
The system is user-friendly and we encourage you explore it. Should you have any questions or need help, CampMinder Tech Support is standing by and more than happy to assist. (CampMinder is the software behind CampInTouch.)
CampMinder can be reached at (303) 444-2267; follow the prompts for Parent support. They have extended hours in the summer and are ready to provide assistance to parents and camp families. The CampMinder team is the experts in all things CampInTouch so please call them with any questions.
What can you do via the CampInTouch System?
- Send an email to your child — it will be printed and delivered with their cabin’s mail after lunch
- Receive an email response from your child — a handwritten note will be scanned and emailed to you as a PDF
- View camp photo albums and share photos with family & friends
- Add guests to your account so they can see what’s happening at camp
- Download hi-resolution photos (for a fee)
Emailing Your Camper
CampInTouch allows you and your camper to communicate using eLetters, an email-like system enabling two-way communication. Parents, and guests associated with your account, can log into CampInTouch and write an eLetter that will be received by our office. We print letters daily at 11am and deliver them to campers after lunch. If you want your child to respond, there is a checkbox that will initiate a camper-specific page to be printed and delivered with your letter. Your camper will use this page to craft a handwritten letter home. The special page has a unique barcode that allows us to scan and upload the letter directly to your CampInTouch account. The best way to ensure you receive a response from your camper is to click the check box and initiate this special sheet is generated for your camper.
It’s important to note that while these eLetters are sent electronically, they are not in real-time as we have become accustom to when using email in our everyday lives. Campers often receive the blank note at rest hour but may not respond immediately. By the time a camper writes a letter and puts it in our dorm mailboxes, it could be an hour or many days later. Also, depending on when their response letter is put in the dorm mailbox, it may not be uploaded until the next day. We offer this information so that parents can temper expectations regarding when they will receive a response from their child. Some campers will write home immediately, some will take days, and some may never write home.
CampStamps are essentially a currency required to send and receive emails through CampInTouch. JCC Maccabi Sports Camp has arranged for each family to receive 5 CampStamps per camper per parent per week. Sending an eLetter to your camper costs 1 CampStamp and receiving an eLetter from your camper costs 1 CampStamp. Once your allocation of CampStamps has been used up, parents can purchase additional CampStamps. They are $1.00 each with a minimum purchase of 10 at a time. Please remember that each parent receives 5 CampStamps per week so they will be replenished midway through the 2-week session. CampStamps do not expire and can be rollover to next year but they cannot be used at a different camp.
We have chosen the 5 CampStamps option specifically for camper care & philosophical reasons, not reasons related to cost, as we feel that is a healthy level of communication during a two-week session. Receiving mail at camp is one of the great joys of the experience and we strongly encourage families to write to their kids. That said, there is a point when receiving a high volume of letters can be too much, many times causing campers to have feelings of missing home when before there were none. Also, and this is rare, but some campers experience stress due to the pressure of having to respond to each letter. Camp is short and fleeting and we want campers to be in the moment and experience all that it has to offer. If a camper feels they must spend all of their downtime writing letters home, it may severely dampen that experience. We’ve seen this happen each summer and want to encourage parents to keep this in mind as they embark on the summer camp experience.
Again, by all means, write to your child while they are at camp. Campers love to get mail. But please also be sure to set the appropriate expectations with your camper on writing home. Sending 1-3 letters home during a session is a good amount. Anything more than that may adversely affect the wonderfully positive experience you’ve sent them to camp to have.
My father used to refer to my grandfather as “the last of the great letter writers” — and that was when I was the age of our campers! One of the last places letters are still exchanged is summer camp. It’s a great way to communicate and very exciting for campers to receive an actual letter in the mail. To ensure your letter reaches your camper while a camp, we recommend mailing letters 1-2 days prior to the start of camp, through Tuesday of the second week.
Mailing Address (and suggested formatting)
c/o JCC Maccabi Sports Camp (Menlo College)
1000 El Camino Real
Atherton, CA 94027
Our summer photo system within your CampInTouch account provides a fantastic way for you and your family, friends, and guests to have a window into your camper’s summer experience.
When you access the photo system within CampInTouch, you’ll see photo albums and a season selector at the top of the screen, which gives you easy access to great camp memories from years past.
The photo system has a mobile-optimized navigation menu across the bottom of the page, allowing easy navigation on all kinds of devices. Clicking or tapping into an album gives you an endlessly streaming page of photos, with a column layout custom-tailored to your device of choice. Selecting a photo gives you a much larger view of that image, and from there, you can swipe or use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate through the entire album.
An important note regarding camp photos…
The photos we share are intended to offer each family an opportunity to see our general program and get a sense of the overall camp experience. There are lots of great moments happening at camp every day and we want to share them with you so you can gain a better understanding of what your child is experiencing. That said, photos are not meant to be a camper specific check-in. Meaning, it is not our goal to post photos so that every family can see their child and be able to know how their child is doing. Should a photo capture your child with anything less than a beaming smile, that’s ok too. Camp is about ups and downs and we’ve found that there are a lot more ups than downs. But, should it happen, keep in mind that a photo is a moment in time and may not be representative of the overall experience a particular child is having.
Should you want to get a better sense of your child’s experience, please call us. Josh, the camp director, or any number of other Leadership Staff are more than happy to give you a report on how your child is doing and maybe even snap a photo of them having a great time!
Sharing and purchasing photos is easy as well. Simply hover over a photo and use the buttons to download, share, or add the photo to your shopping cart. We hope you enjoy this feature and use it as a means to experience camp alongside your camper this summer.
We are taking a lot of pictures at camp and promise to share them with you. We will post a new batch three times a week on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays before 8:00pm.
Also keep an eye on the camp blog for periodic insights into exciting happenings at camp.
- Camper Care & Campus Life – who are our staff, dorm life, food, and more
- 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 and other sports
- Preparing for Camp – preparing your child to be away from home
To view all of the topics in this series, click here.