We are delighted that you are considering a summer camp experience at Camp Harlam. Below are answers to many commonly asked questions. If you would like any additional information please email or call our office.
Where will my child live? How are cabin assignments made?
A junior camp cabin sleeps 12-16 campers and 2-5 staff members in bunk beds. Every camper is assigned a set of cubbies for storing personal items and some shelf space. Each cabin is equipped with its own bathroom (toilets, sinks and showers) and electricity. All top bunks are equipped with bed rails. Each cabin is equipped with a smoke detector. Bunk assignments are made on the basis of secular school grade primarily, as well as the consideration of all sorts of factors including the child's personality and interests, requests from families, and other relevant information.
Can my child request to be with his/her best friend?
You may request up to two placement requests through the "Camper Information" form (provided to families prior to the summer). We do our very best to place your child with at least one of his/her requests. Please note that placement requests are not guaranteed.
Do you offer financial assistance?
Yes. Financial assistance is available to any family that registers a camper and also completed our online Financial Assistance form. All financial assistance applications are treated confidentially and reviewed thoroughly by a committee. Additionally, Camp Harlam partners with congregations in giving fee assistance and recommends talking with a local Federation in your geographic area. An added asset is the availability of "One Happy Camper" grants of $1,000 for first-time campers throughout our region. These incentive grants are not needs-based and are for first-time campers that attend either of our 3.5-week sessions. In some areas, campers attending our Intro Experience are eligible for a "One Happy Camper" grant in the amount of $700. For more information about ANY aspect of financial assistance, please contact our camp office.
How do you select, train and supervise your staff? What is the staff-to-camper ratio?
At Camp Harlam, a great deal of pride is taken in the members of its staff, who provide a stable and caring home for campers all summer long. The staff is comprised of college students, graduate students, and professionals in various fields. Each year, we look for competent and energetic young adults to fill our staff positions. While many have grown up at Camp Harlam, others join us from across the country and around the world - all bringing their own special gifts to share. An extensive training program is provided at the start of the summer season, and is ongoing throughout the summer. During the summer, staff are supervised and evaluated by members of our camp leadership team, all of whom have proven experience overseeing the work of staff members. Harlam maintains a 1:4 staff-to-camper ratio.
Will my child be safe while at camp?
All of the URJ Camps are dedicated to providing safe and secure environments for our campers and staff. Harlam conducts regular safety and security reviews and evaluation, and works closely with local law enforcement officials to make sure our safety standards and practices are the best they can be. The health and welfare of our community will always be our top concern.
What kind of clothing should my child bring to camp?
We dress informally at Camp, and it is not necessary to buy new clothing for your child. Camp is primarily an outdoor setting and simple and modest clothing is the most appropriate. Campers usually wear t-shirts with casual shorts. High-heeled shoes, designer clothes and expensive jewelry are neither necessary nor encouraged. We strongly discourage campers from wearing "inappropriate attire": Clothes that are intentionally tight or revealing should be left at home. All clothing and personal belongings should be clearly marked with the camper's full name. One of the most distinctive times at camp is our observance of Shabbat. In keeping with our tradition, we ask that our camp community dress in white tops and either white or khaki bottoms for Friday evenings.
What if I didn’t grow up going to Jewish overnight camp … is Harlam going to be the right place for our family?
Harlam is a place that celebrates living Jewishly every day with all members of our community no matter the experience or background they bring with them. We seek to engage all family members in being a part of the camp family. There is an enormous amount of pride and identification with being a Harlamite – and that will include you. Through our communications with you, we will seek to educate and onboard you to feeling immersed in our community. Whether you know the words to Hamotzi (blessing over the bread) or not, we will help you feel “in the know” at camp. We have a task force working to gauge how well we are doing in this area, so please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Will my child need lots of special equipment from home?
During the course of the session, your child will have many opportunities to learn or develop new skills. In almost all cases, the camp supplies the necessary equipment and supplies to participate. In particular instances where your child is seeking mastery of an activity, he/she may desire his/her own special equipment; be selective, and remember that the Camp is not responsible for loss or damage of personal items.
How can I get a Harlam camp t-shirt for my child?
Camp Harlam gives each and every camper one t-shirt to use during the summer as they arrive at camp. Other camp "gear" is sold online through our pop-up eStore a few times a year. Limited gear can also be purchased on-site at camp on drop-off days, pick-up days, and other special occasions.
How will my child's laundry get done?
Campers should have enough clothing with them to last at least 10 days. Laundry is sent out of camp every Wednesday and returned every Friday. The laundry comes back washed, dried, and folded. Every laundry day, campers should also send out their linens to be washed. It is important to label the clothing with the camper’s name in case laundry gets lost.
How will my child get to and from camp?
Parents are responsible for bringing their children to camp on opening day and picking them up on closing day. Bringing or picking up your camper provides an opportunity to see camp and to meet our Professional Staff and your camper's bunk counselors. Please click here for directions to camp. We do have a bus campers can take to and from the Washington, DC area on Opening and Closing Days for a fee.
How will I stay in touch with my child?
Camp offers kids and parents the chance to develop a rarely practiced skill - letter writing. We strongly recommend that parents write to their campers multiple times a week. A card, letter, or e-mail, arriving regularly, does more for camper morale than anything else. The camp tries to ensure that campers write letters or postcards to their parents at least twice each week. We also use a special service to supplement communication in the summer that allows parents secured access to a site with daily uploads of photos from camp and a way to e-mail letters to your child (they are distributed like mail through our camp office).
Can parents call the camp to check on their children?
Parents are welcome to call the camp during the summer to find out how their children are doing. After we receive your call, the parent contact or our Camper Care team will call you back within 24 hours.
Can I visit my child while they are at camp?
While parents and other family members are welcome and encouraged to bring campers to camp and to pick them up at the end of the session, parents and other visitors are not allowed to come to camp during the camp sessions.
How's the food?
Camp Harlam’s kid-friendly menu offers campers plenty to eat. Almost all meals are served family-style in the dining hall, with bunks eating together at assigned tables. Breakfast usually includes a hot item, with cereal and hard boiled eggs always available, as well as a breakfast bar with yogurt, granola, and fruit. Lunch and dinner usually include a hot entrée, and a salad bar is always available. Fresh fruit is available at all times. Whenever meat is served, a vegetarian option is offered. We make accommodations for campers on special allergy or health-related diets. Camp Harlam is not a kosher facility and we do not have a kosher kitchen or kosher plates and utensils. However, we do not serve pork or shellfish, or products containing them, and do not permit such products on camp grounds. In the afternoon there is a snack served daily and campers receive milk and cookies at the end of the evening program.
Are care packages allowed?
Starting in 2017, we implemented a NO PACKAGE POLICY at Camp Harlam. This means that unless there is explicit and specific permission from a Harlam Professional Staff member for a parent to send a package to our attention for their child, there will be NO packages accepted at camp.
We will continue to accept standard flat business size (#10) or greeting card envelopes so that families can correspond with campers, but anything larger than this will not be accepted or delivered. Packages will either be held at the office to be picked up on closing day or will be returned to the sender.
If your camper needs something like a piece of clothing or an important toiletry that was forgotten at home, lost, or is something that they ran out of while at camp, you can call our camp office at 570-629-1390 or email HarlamOffice@URJ.org and we will be able to discuss the need. If you child has a birthday while at camp, you will be able to send them one birthday package.
What happens if my child gets sick while at camp?
It is our hope that every camper will remain healthy and fully able to participate in all aspects of camp life all summer long. Just in case, though, Camp Harlam has a range of systems in place to manage health care issues that may arise. Our modern, well-equipped infirmary is staffed by medical professionals all summer long - usually one doctor and five nurses. We supervise the dispensing of medication four times a day. A Medical Form with comprehensive information will be all we need to take great care of your child while at camp.
What if my child's birthday occurs during camp?
Ever had a birthday party with 750 friends in attendance? Birthdays that occur during the camp session will be celebrated, and this observance is not only a treat for the camper, but a lot of fun for everyone. Campers will receive a cake to share with their bunk and will get to spin the Birthday Wheel to win a prize. Your child will be able to call home the evening of the birthday, and families may send one package to a camper for their birthday, but it must not contain food and should be just for that child and not the entire bunk.
Does my child need to be immunized?
Yes, the Union for Reform Judaism requires that all camp and travel program participants, staff and faculty must be immunized. For more information, read the URJ Policy Statement on Vaccine Status.