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Camp Gan Shalom is a Jewish summer camp for entering Kindergarteners through entering 8th graders, offering our community’s Jewish youth an opportunity to live Judaism, not just learn about it. Our diverse and unique programs include Judaic arts and crafts projects, sports, cooking, field trips, swimming, and weekly Shabbat experiences.
When and where is Camp Gan Shalom?
Camp Gan Shalom runs for eight weeks total. The first five weeks, from June 15 - July 17, are located at Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center (PJTC) in Pasadena. The following three weeks, from July 20 - August 7, camp is located at Temple Beth Israel (TBI) in Pomona.
What ages can attend Camp Gan Shalom?
Our Kehilla program is for campers who are going into Kindergarten through 5th grade. Our Manheegim program is for campers going into 6th through 8th grade.
What are camp hours? Is there extended care?
The regular day of camp runs from 9:00 am until 3:30 pm for both Kehilla and Manheegim programs. We do offer extended care before and after regular camp hours for a fee of either $12 per day or $50 per week. Extended care begins at 7:30 am and ends at 6:00 pm.
Is there a shuttle to take campers from one location to another?
Yes! We run transportation from Pomona to Pasadena for the first half of camp and from Pasadena to Pomona for the second half. The cost is $30 per week, per campers. There are limited spaces available.
What does a day at Camp Gan Shalom (Kehilla) look like?
For our Kehilla program, every day of camp starts with opening circle where our counselors welcome our campers, make announcements, and sing songs. We then break up into our age groups: Bonim (K-1), Chotrim (2-3), and Bogrim (4-5). During this time, counselors run activities geared towards each age. Next, campers head off to their Heetmahoot (specialty activity) which they choose for the week. This block is dedicated to learning a skill throughout the week. Heetmahoot options in the past have included: dance, newspaper, soccer, basketball, cake decorating, and weaving. After Heetmahoot, campers come all together for an all camp activity, which is sometimes a craft, a game, or even tie dye. Next we have lunch. After lunch, it is time to change for swimming then head to the pool. When we get back from swimming, we change back into camp clothes then go to chuggim (daily choice activities). Campers can choose a different chuggim every day. We conclude the day with closing circle. This is our typical schedule for Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. On Wednesdays we go on field trips. On Fridays, we have a completely special schedule based on the theme of the week. We end each friday with a Shabbat program from 3:00-3:30 pm which parents are welcome to attend.
What are Heetmahoot?
Heetmahoot means specialties. At the beginning of each week, campers will be given a few options for what they want to do during the week. Throughout the week, the campers will learn and develop a skill that they are interested in. Some examples of Heetmahoot include: basketball, soccer, weaving, painting, newspaper, dance, jewlery making, pottery, and many more.
What are Chuggim?
Chuggim are our afternoon electives. Each afternoon, campers get to choose what chuggim they want to do. Unlike heetmahoot, which last all week, campers can pick a new chuggim every day if they would like!
Is Camp Gan Shalom a kosher camp?
Yes. All snacks and cooking that we do at camp is kosher. In order to keep our camp kosher, we ask that campers only bring vegetarian lunches and snacks. Some great ideas for meat-free lunches include: spaghetti, mac n cheese, egg salad, and tuna sandwiches.
How much does camp cost?
Both Kehilla and Manheegim are divided into one-week sessions. as a three week session. Kehilla is divided into one week sessions. The price goes down the more weeks you register for! The regular price is $290 per week. If you sign up for 2-3 weeks, that price drops by $15. If you sign up for 4-5 weeks, the price drops by $30 per week. And for the greatest savings, sign up for 6-8 weeks for a $45 per week discount! Note: our registration fees for the week of June 29th are decreased to reflect one less day of camp: $270 for Kehilla and $310 for Manheegim.
Where do they swim?
During the Pasadena session, we swim at the Pasadena High School pool. During the Pomona session, we swim at Ganesha Pool. Both pools have very large shallow areas of the pool and many lifeguards on duty. Campers are not allowed to swim in the deep areas of the pools until they pass a swimming test with the lifeguards.
What if my child does not know how to swim?
We have many campers who do not know how to swim yet. We swim at pools that have very large shallow areas so that even our littlest campers can stand up. Our counselors are in the pool swimming with the kids at all times. They play games in the shallow end with our non-swimming campers so that everyone has a blast at the pool, even if they never leave the steps. Campers are not allowed to swim in the deep areas of the pools until they pass a swimming test with the lifeguards.
What safety precautions are in place during swimming time?
Both pool facilities have lifeguards on duty while we are there. Campers are not allowed to swim in the deep areas of the pools until they pass a swimming test with the lifeguards. Additionally, our counselors, who are CPR certified, are in the pool at all times with the kids. They keep an extra eye on the campers as well as play pool games with the younger campers in the shallow areas.
How do field trip days work?
Our Kehilla program goes on a field trip each Wednesday. When we go on trips, we ask that our campers wear their lime green Camp Gan Shalom shirts so that our campers are easily spotted. We provide these shirts as part of registration. Our counselors also wear their blue Camp Gan Shalom shirts on field trip days. We always assign a group of campers to each counselor so that campers are with a staff member at all times. Campers should bring a throw-away sack lunch on field trip days so that they do not have to carry around a lunch box or tupperware all day.
Where are this years field trips?
We are still exploring where this year's Kehilla field trips will be. In the past we have gone on the following field trips: California Science Center, Amy's Farm, LACMA, Bolsa Chica Beach, Splash Kingdom Water Park, and the Santa Ana Zoo.
What is so special about Fridays at Camp?
Every Friday, camp is transformed. Whether it’s another country, a magical fantasy world, or even outer space, our campers are transported with special activities and amazing decorations. These special all day Friday activities are often the experiences that stick with campers well beyond the end of summer. Another tradition on Fridays is our campers making and braiding individual challahs from scratch! It’s a highlight for many of our campers.
What are this year's themes?
This year's Friday themes have not yet been decided. However, past Friday themes have included: Fun with Science, Wild, Wild West, Maccabia (Color Wars), Inside Out, Oompa Loompa Day, Dr. Seuss Day, and Toy Story.
Is there a Shabbat celebration?
Yes! We end our Friday programing with a Shabbat program from 3:00-3:30 pm. Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend! Our camp Shabbat experience typically include music, stories, and sometimes camper performances to conclude the week of camp.
What special activities do the Bogrim campers get to do?
As the oldest campers in our Kehilla program, our Bogrim campers get a few special activities. A few times throughout the summer, our Bogrim campers get to go on a special, extra field trip. In the past these have included laser tag, mini golf, and ice skating. Additionally, we have one sleepover for Bogrim campers in each of our locations (once in Pasadena and once in Pomona).
How does the Bogrim sleepover work?
During our third week of camp and our seventh week of camp, we will have a special Bogrim camper only sleepover on Thursday night. After going home, showering, and eating dinner, our campers return to camp to have an evening of fun with the counselors. We typically serve ice cream sundaes, watch a movie, and play games. It is a blast and something that many of our younger campers look forward to for years.
What does a day in Manheegim look like?
One of the fun things about our Manheegim program is that the campers help plan and direct the program. Every day our campers meet at at camp then leave for a full day of fun and exciting experiences. In the past, trips have included indoor rock climbing, escape rooms, cleaning and enjoying the beach, a tour of Homeboy Industries, and more. Often our Manheegim campers help plan an activity for our younger campers in the Kehilla program as part of their leadership development. The culmination of the Manheegim program is a 3-day camping trip that the campers plan for all together, making supply lists, itineraries, and planning meals.
Do we really get to go on field trips every day?
Yes! Every day our Manheegim campers travel in their home-away-from-home van to engage in off-campus leadership developing and fun experiences.
Who are our Camp Gan Shalom counselors?
Every year we have an amazing staff of Junior and Senior Counselors who dedicate their summer to providing the best camp experience for our kids. Many of our staff were Camp Gan Shalom campers when they were kids and have returned because of the fond memories they have of camp. Our camp staff is carefully selected based on their experiences working with children, their specialized talents, and their passion for camp. They are an amazing group of people who give their all to give our campers a safe and memorable summer.
What training do the counselors get?
All staff go through extensive training, including CPR and First Aid Certification as well as basic child development.