The Harlam Experience

Home » About Harlam » The Harlam Experience

About Camp Harlam

Nestled in the foothills of the magnificent Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, Camp Harlam provides the finest in Jewish Camping. Established in 1958, Camp Harlam has developed a strong tradition of success and excellence based on a highly skilled staff dedicated to the spiritual, physical, social and emotional well-being of each child, while building lifelong relationships between friends.

Camp Harlam is one of 15 Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) overnight camps across North America. Camp Harlam opened in 1958 and has grown to its present size with a 300-acre facility, a population of approximately 550 campers each session, and a staff of over 225 exceptional role models.

The Camp Harlam family consists of smaller communities within Junior Camp, Senior Camp, and the Gesher (Counselor in Training) Program. Junior and Senior Camps are further broken down into units based on a child’s school grade to create a more intimate and age-appropriate experience for our campers.

Mission Statement

The mission of Camp Harlam is to create a vibrant, fun and caring camp community which enriches and strengthens Reform Jewish identity and values while cultivating lifelong friendships.

Camp Harlam fulfills its mission through our commitment to the following core values:

Ahavat Yisrael / Love of Israel and Hebrew
B’tzelem Elohim / Created in Image of God
G’milut Hasadim / Acts of Loving Kindness
Hachnasat Orchim / Being a Welcoming and Accepting Community
Kehilah Kedoshah / Sacred Community
Ruach / Spirit
Talmud Torah / Lifelong Jewish Learning
Tikkun Middot / Character Development
Tikkun Olam / Responsibility to Repair the World

Tikkun Middot 

The Path to Being Your Best Self

A middah is a “measure.” Just like we work to repair the world (tikkun olam) through our actions, we also work to improve ourselves through building and strengthening desirable character traits (tikkun middot). 

Simchah / Finding Joy

Acharayut / Thinking About Others

Nitzachon / Pushing Through a Challenge

Rachamim / Acting With Your Heart

Bitachon / Confidence, Independence

Tiferet / Finding Inner Beauty and Balance

Binah / Seeking Meaning

Throughout the summer, campers have many opportunities to demonstrate these middot and be recognized by their bunkmates and counselors with middot bracelets.

Open and Safe

OUR COMMITMENT TO INCLUSION 

  • Universal Design: Our facility and programming are welcoming and inclusive at all entry points.  
  • Campers with Disabilities, LGBTQ+, and Jews of Color: We are committed to ever-evolving inclusive and welcoming culture and community. Our ongoing facility and programming additions consist of:
    • Accessible cabins and buildings that meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards 
    • Gender neutral restrooms and privacy for showering
    • Individual changing rooms in each cabin
    • Camper/staff Gender Sexuality Alliance 
    • Space for all our youth to find support and strength, such as affinity spaces for JOC
  • Zero Tolerance: We are committed to being a community where bias and prejudice will not be tolerated. 
    • We want Harlamites – our campers, alumni, staff – past, present and future – as well as prospective families to know that we are committed to constantly learning, challenging ourselves, looking inward as an organization to dismantle the racism and unconscious bias that have influenced our society. All members of the community should be made to feel as though they truly belong.

OUR MISSION 

For generations, Harlam has been a place where any child or staff member can feel safe and supported to be the best version of themselves, and thrive in a place that offers rich opportunities for connection, self-exploration, Jewish values and belonging. 

OUR LEADERSHIP 

Under the leadership of our year-round Inclusion Coordinator, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) task force works to look critically at the inner workings of Harlam’s infrastructure. We strive to make changes where they need to be made in order to maintain a safe haven where our campers and staff feel comfortable, welcome, and celebrated for being their most authentic and best selves each summer, and all year long. 

OUR PRIORITIES 

Our Camper Care team ensures that each member of our community is welcomed and supported. We support the following initiatives: 

  • Mental, Emotional, and Social Health (MESH) 
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid training that yields near-peer counselors who are trained to notice and act on what they observe. Research shows these relationships can have a profound impact on the life of a child.  
  • Teaching and honing 21st century skills that will serve children and staff at camp, and as they navigate their lives at home, and beyond.
  • Meeting families where they are in their Jewish journey and helping to make all family members feel a part of the camp community. 

“Our Jewish values speak to how each of us – created in God’s image, B’tzelem Elohim – has a unique talent with which we can contribute to the high moral purpose of Tikkun Olam (repair of our world). Excluding anyone from our community lessens our chance of achieving this goal or a more perfect world.” 

– Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism