Summer 2021 Staff FAQ
This summer will be unique to others before it. In order to make this summer successful, we are asking for the support from our community, especially our staff. Ultimately, this may affect our staffing structure in a variety of ways. Please look at the job descriptions below to see where adjustments have already been made. If you have questions about any of the positions listed, please email the Professional Staff at HarlamStaff@URJ.org.
IS CAMP GOING TO LOOK DIFFERENT BECAUSE OF COVID?
We are working to open camp safely and will be as transparent as possible as we further develop our summer plans. Although elements of camp will look different this year, we are committed to delivering the same excellence our families have come to expect from us. Examples of what we are thinking about include our procedures in locations like our dining hall and health center, capacity and spacing, limiting campers and adults coming and going from camp, avoiding large group gatherings during the session, and more.
HOW ARE YOU MAKING DECISIONS AROUND YOUR COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS?
We know that the best practices surrounding COVID-19 are continually changing. We will remain nimble and responsive to ever-evolving state and local standards and protocols. We are working with a team of medical experts, including infectious disease doctors, to guide our decisions and revamp our protocols and procedures. We are also working in close coordination with the American Camp Association and Foundation for Jewish Camp to gather learnings and insights from the field. We continue to closely monitor CDC guidelines. We are considering a variety of factors with our medical experts and will continue to update families as we know more about the coming summer.
ARE YOU PLANNING ON HIRING ANY INTERNATIONAL STAFF?
We are working closely with our partners at the three main staffing agencies we work with – Camp America, Camp Leaders, and JAFI (Jewish Agency for Israel) – to best prepare for hiring international staff. At this point, we are prioritizing any international staff member who has already spent at least one summer at camp and our staff from Israel. Since there are many questions and unknowns around the J-1 Visa, travel restrictions, and COVID implications, we are focusing on recruiting new domestic staff. However, we are doing everything we can, from advocacy for the J-1 Visa to navigating health considerations with our agencies, to bring international staff to camp.
WILL MORE LOCAL STAFF BE HIRED THIS SUMMER?
We have begun reaching out to our local partners and local camping associations to recruit local staff for this summer. In order to manage risk when bringing in local staff, we are currently planning on hiring staff in support roles (housekeeping, kitchen, and operations) only from our local community, unless they are willing to live on camp property.
CAN I WORK ONLY ONE SESSION?
Potential staff members may apply to work at camp for only one session, but we cannot guarantee a position. Priority will be given to staff members who are able to join us for the entire duration of the summer. Staff members only working one session will still be required to participate in staff training (may be virtual) and will depart camp on the same day as our campers. Working only second session is preferred.
HOW WILL COVID EFFECT STAFF EXPERIENCE?
At Camp Harlam, we continue to prioritize our staff experience so that our staff continue to feel supported and motivated to do the difficult work we do each day. This summer will be no exception. In partnership with our Staff Engagement Supervisor, the Professional Staff will be creating opportunities for staff to engage with one another and build community. We are also focusing on SMESH (Staff Mental, Emotional, and Social Health), to ensure that our staff are receiving any additional support they may need. We are also working to improve our staff lounge, “the mo”, so that our staff can spend time with one another in a safe and fun space.
WHAT WILL TIME OFF LOOK LIKE THIS SUMMER?
We know how important time off is to recharge and reset throughout the day and session. Staff will have at least one period off a day. Staff will also receive two 30-hour days off and an extended evening off each session. At this time, staff will not be able to leave camp during their time off to ensure the safety of our community, however we plan on providing special activities and resources to make this time feel restful. More details will be shared as they are developed.
WHAT WILL MY HOUSING ACCOMODATIONS LOOK LIKE?
All staff hired as a cabin or specialty counselor position will live in a cabin with our campers. Our support staff (kitchen, housekeeping, operations) and most of our leadership team will live in dormitory style housing with other staff members. If you have any concerns or questions about your housing needs, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of the professional staff.
General Staff FAQ
Where is Camp Harlam located?
Camp Harlam is located approximately 90 miles north of Philadelphia and approximately 100 miles west of New York City, nestled in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains near the towns of Kresgeville, Kunkletown and Lehighton (Pennsylvania).
After I submit my application, when will I hear from Camp Harlam?
After your application and all collateral materials are received and processed by our office, you will be contacted by email from our Director or one of our Assistant Directors to set up a time and place for your interview.
What happens if I am hired to work at Camp Harlam?
Upon accepting a position with Camp Harlam, you will receive a contract to be signed and returned to us by the date indicated on the contract. You will also receive a number of informational forms that we will need to have on file prior to the summer. This mailing will contain information about your arrival to camp, medical forms, and other materials.
After I sign my contract and complete my forms, what happens next?
Following the completion of your contract, you will begin receiving regular communications from camp, including our Staff Handbook. The information in the Handbook is valuable in helping you to prepare for the summer at camp.
As a Cabin Counselor am I also expected to be an activity instructor?
We hire Cabin Counselors to work as counselors and supervise the same group of campers during their daily activities (i.e. basketball, arts & crafts, tennis, etc.). We hire Specialty Counselors to instruct most of these daily activities. Together, Cabin and Specialty Counselors supervise and care for campers at meals, time in the cabin, during evening activities, and throughout the course of the day.
As a Specialty Counselor am I also expected to do work as a counselor with the kids in a cabin?
We hire Specialty Counselors to work as activity staff and to work with campers in the cabin setting. While it is the responsibility of Specialty Counselors to prepare for and lead daily activities for campers of all ages, we also expect Specialty Counselors to work together with Cabin Counselors to care for campers at meals, during time in the cabin, and during evening and special program times.
Do I have to be Jewish to work at Camp Harlam?
No, you do not. Camp Harlam is an equal opportunity employer and we hire adults based primarily on their skills, potential to perform their role at camp, their character and values, and their willingness to be part of our Kehillah Kedosha (sacred community). We encourage any applicant with questions about our special Jewish community to contact our office.
When do I get paid?
Salaries are paid on the URJ pay schedule.
Does Camp Harlam have a curfew for staff?
In order to assure that staff members are able to function at all times throughout the camp season, policies have been set regarding for staff curfew. We expect everyone to perform at the peak of their abilities during the day. Curfew will be discussed in greater detail during Staff Orientation & Training.
When do I have time off during the summer?
We will discuss days off with each applicant in their interview, but be assured that time off is provided for all staff throughout the summer.
Will I have to attend a Staff Orientation & Training?
A comprehensive Staff Orientation & Training program is held prior to the start of camp. Depending on your position and the training required, you will arrive at camp 1-2 weeks before the campers arrive. During this program, staff members are presented with a great deal of information including camp policies and procedures as well as skill development in working with groups. Staff Orientation & Training is required for all staff members.
What if I am a vegetarian or have dietary restrictions?
Special diets can be accommodated. If you require such assistance, it is your responsibility to discuss such arrangements in advance with Camp Harlam prior to your arrival at camp. Meals at Camp are served “Kosher-Style”, which means that we do not serve pork or shellfish and we do not mix meat and dairy at the same meals. Those who keep more strictly Kosher should speak to our directors about our ability to accommodate those needs.
Will I have access to my e-mail, cell phone and other technology?
Computers are available for staff use on a fair-share basis, and are located in the camp’s office building. Staff members will also have access to wireless internet in the office building and in the Staff Lounge area. Staff members are asked to be considerate of others and limit their computer usage time, and we work hard to be as “screen free” at camp as possible. Staff are not permitted to use computers or phones or other such devices in their cabins and can only do so in certain areas and at specific times.
How will I do my laundry at camp?
Laundry is sent out once a week, and is free of charge. There are also washing machines and dryers available for your use at a nominal cost in the staff lounge.
May I bring my vehicle to camp?
Yes, you may bring your personal vehicle to camp. Personal vehicles are not to be used to drive campers or staff members on any official business unless expressly requested by the camp director. All personal vehicles must be registered at the camp office upon arrival. Personal vehicles may never be driven through the camp grounds and are to be parked in the assigned areas only.
What can I expect from my experience on staff at Camp Harlam?
Being on staff at any resident camp is perhaps the most difficult and most fulfilling job you will ever have. A summer at Camp Harlam will be challenging at the same time that it will be fun! As a staff member at Camp Harlam, you will have the opportunity to experience life in our unique community, positively impact the lives of campers and other staff members, and create friendships that may last forever.