2023 Camp Prep
All forms are now past due! You can find all downloadable forms in your CampInTouch account.
If you experience any challenges with the CampInTouch system, please email Alyson Bazeley.
Pre-Camp Health Protocols
COVID protocols will be shared with registered families as we get closer to the summer. The URJ’s Medical Team is hard at work analyzing the latest data and determining the best path forward.
The establishment of a healthy camp environment is the result of a successful partnership between families and camp. Your diligence in the assessment of your camper’s health in the week prior to camp is critical to ensuring that we limit the exposure of the camp community to any illness.
Lice: Please make sure the hair is combed of knots to make the opening day head check as quick and painless as possible. Please brush your hair in the morning of opening day and choose hairstyles that will keep your hair as tangle-free as possible! If you’re one of our many curly-haired campers, we might suggest braiding it straight out of the shower to keep as tangle-free as possible.
Last year we required all luggage to arrive at camp prior to Opening Day. While we are not requiring that this year, we know many of you liked shipping your camper’s luggage to camp and not having to bring it with you on Opening Day. This year, you have the option to ship through Ship Camps, or schlep it with you on Opening Day. On Opening all campers will unpack their luggage with the help of our staff.
Ship Camps: Ship Camps will facilitate the shipping of your camper’s luggage, should you choose to do so. You can sign up using your CampInTouch account in the “Your Camper” section. Shipping costs vary depending on your location, with pricing determined by distance, weight, and dimensions.
Schlepping: If you choose not to ship your camper’s luggage, you will bring it with you on Opening Day! First Session and Full Summer families will also have the option to drop their camper’s luggage at camp the day before Opening Day (June 25). Your camper, and depending on their age, their counselor, will help them unpack and set up their space.
On Opening Day each camper will receive a Crane Lake laundry bag. This bag will be picked up from camp once a week by a local, professional laundry service and returned to camp the next day. The entire contents of your camper’s laundry bag are washed as one load in hot water, so it will be best to pack clothing colors that will not run. Delicates, linen, wool, suede, and dry clean only items should not be sent to camp. Crane Lake is not responsible for missing or damaged clothing. The camp laundry bags will be collected at the end of the summer.
Pro tip! The camp-provided laundry bag is the only one that can be used for our camp laundry service. Campers can still bring an extra bag if it helps them to stay organized in the bunk, but make sure they know they’ll use the camp bag when they send their laundry for cleaning!
LABEL, LABEL, LABEL
We want our campers to return home with everything they brought to camp. Therefore, please LABEL, LABEL, LABEL! EVERYTHING that comes to camp must have your camper’s full name (not initials) on it. Whether you sew the labels in, iron them on, use permanent marker or a stamp, you must label EVERYTHING. We donate bags of our campers’ unlabeled belongings to local charities at the end of the summer.
One of the best labeling products we’ve seen are the peel and stick labels available from Label Daddy. You can buy them directly from the company.
Please be sure to pack plenty of durable and comfortable clothing appropriate for a rustic camp setting. Campers spend most of their day outside; Crane Lake is a place where we play outside, sweat, and dance our hearts out. We try to create a wholesome environment that mirrors the values we attempt to instill in our campers. To create this sense of community, we ask campers and staff to dress in a way that is respectful both to themselves and others in the camp community. Clothing that allows underwear and/or bras to be visible should not be brought to camp and body parts that are customarily covered by undergarments should not be visible as well.
Please do not pack any clothing with inappropriate pictures, offensive sayings or advertisements for drugs, alcohol, vaping, etc.
Please pack swimsuits that are functional for instructional swim – one-piece suits, tankinis, and shorts-style bathing suits are best. During free swim and pool parties, bathing suits should follow the same principles as clothing. These guidelines are intended to promote the values of our camp and the self-esteem of our campers.
Campers are expected to dress appropriately for their activities. They must wear long pants for hiking, sneakers for sports, and swimsuits for swim.
A WORD ABOUT WATER
There is no need to send cases of water to camp! Please send 2-3 reusable water bottles. We want campers drinking more water per day than they could possibly bring to camp with them.
Click here to check out our online camp store! You can also find the link on our website. Through the website, you will be able to buy cool Crane Lake clothing for your child. This is completely optional – though your camper would love it! (If your camper would like camp swag for the summer, please make sure to order by June 1st to guarantee delivery before camp starts.) Just before trip day, your camper will receive a Crane Lake Camp T-shirt, which we will label with their name.
Campers are asked to leave all articles of value at home as the Camp is absolutely NOT responsible for any camper’s belongings. There is no need for jewelry or expensive items at camp. Do not bring any cash or credit cards to camp!
Days at camp
Typical Day (Sunday – thursday)
|Time||Lower Camp: NITZANIM & BONIM
(3rd – 7th grades)
|Upper Camp: CHAVERIM & OLIM
(8th – 10th grades)
|8:00||Breakfast||Boker Tov (8:15)
|8:40||All camp T’filah
|All camp T’filah
|9:45||Activity Period #1||Nikayon
|10:45||Activity Period #2||Activity Period #1|
|11:45||Lunch||Activity Period #2|
|1:30||Activity Period #3||Menucha
|2:30||Activity Period #4||Activity Period #3|
|3:30||Snack||Activity Period #4|
|4:25||Activity Period #5||Snack|
|4:45||Activity Period #6||Activity Period #5|
|5:45||Dinner||Activity Period #6|
|8:15||Back to Cabins, Shower Time|
|Back to Cabins, Shower Time|
click here to learn more about Our Activities
MEALS DURING THE WEEK
On a normal camp day, bunks sit together with their staff for all meals. Most meals are served family style with other options at a buffet. Crane Lake is a kosher style facility. We do not have a kosher kitchen or kosher plates and utensils. However, we do not mix milk and meat, serve pork, shellfish, or products containing them, and do not permit such products on campgrounds. Whenever meat is served, a vegetarian option is offered. At least one snack is served every day. We are also able to accommodate campers on special, allergy or health-related diets. Please make us aware of your needs and requirements on the Health History Form and Food Allergies, Sensitivities & Special Diets Form.
As a camp community we begin every meal by reciting Hamotzi (blessing before the meal). We end our meal with the singing of B’rich Rachamana (Aramaic blessing after the meal) or Birkat Hamazon (blessing after the meal).
CLICK HERE HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT FOOD OPTIONS AND NUTRITION AT CRANE LAKE
Twice each week after lunch the campers choose from a long list of sweet snacks from our canteen. Campers visit the canteen after lunch so that they can enjoy their extra treat during Menucha. Campers must hand their counselor a letter written home in exchange for their canteen selection. Campers love coming to the canteen to select a candy bar, granola bar, bag of pretzels, or another sweet treat. The canteen provides all this to campers (controlled quantities, of course!) at no extra charge.
MENUCHA CLUBS – REST HOUR CLUBS
To allow our campers to try out new activities in a new and engaging environment, we offer campers the opportunity to join a Menucha club. Campers can join a Club in any of the following activities: sailing, waterskiing, and gardening.
Each evening, every unit plans and enjoys its own activity. Sometimes an evening program is social, such as pool parties or wacky Olympics, and other times it is content-based, such as those dealing with peer pressure or social activism. Occasionally, the entire camp community will come together for a camp-wide activity like a special concert or dance, a July 4th carnival or a play.
MENUCHA – REST PERIOD
After an activity-packed morning, campers need to take a break. During Menucha, or rest period, campers spend quiet time in their cabins. Some sleep, others read or play quiet games with bunkmates. This is the time when many campers write letters home to family and friends.
CHUGIM – ELECTIVES
Each week campers choose a Chug, or elective, taught by general counselors and specialists. Options in the past have included painting, ceramics, creative writing, Daily Bubble (Crane Lake’s very own daily newspaper), summer reading, meditation, yoga, Rubik’s cube, balloon animal making, drama and guitar. Campers may also choose a sport elective during this time. Sports options in the past have included gymnastics, basketball, tennis, soccer, softball, ultimate frisbee, hockey, flag football, hiking, krav maga (Israeli martial arts), boating and even juggling!
Good hygiene is an important part of camp! We set aside a “shower hour” every day for campers.
LAILA TOV – GOOD NIGHT!
After a long day, full of Crane Lake activity and fun, it is time for bed. Occasionally, a member of our faculty or Leadership Team is invited to come to a bunk to tell a story or sing a few songs while campers listen in their pajamas, all ready to be tucked into bed. Often referred to as “bedtime rituals,” this Crane Lake tradition is a very soothing way to say Laila Tov.
Our Campers Also Enjoy
MACCABIAH – COLOR WAR
Our second session campers experience several days of competition during Maccabiah. Campers are divided into two teams (blue team and white team) and participate in a variety of sports, arts, dance, and song competitions. Good sportsmanship, fun and lots of ruach (spirit) are all parts of Maccabiah. Make sure to pack blue and white clothing for your camper!
JEWISH LIFE AT CAMP
T’FILAH – PRAYER
Each morning after breakfast, our entire camp comes together for T’filah. T’filah is full of song and ruach, spirit and joy. By the end of each camp session, campers are familiar with the prayers included in these short daily services and are prepared to participate in services in their home congregations.
KESHER – CONNECTION
Kesher is our camp-style informal and creative Jewish education program for our older campers (grades 8 – 10). In the spring, our campers complete an online survey telling us which contemporary Jewish subjects they would like to “connect” and through which modality (art, music, texts, etc.) they would like to make the connection. The rabbis, cantors and educators on our faculty create and lead exciting courses based on the survey results. This camper-centered curriculum changes each summer depending on what our campers tell us they would like to learn. Kesher 2019 included courses on Hebrew, Jewish values, greening, relationships, Israeli culture and more.
LIMUD – LEARNING
Our younger campers (grades 3 – 7) actively participate in Limud, our camp-style informal and creative Jewish education program. A committed group of rabbis, cantors, and educators outline and then teach a theme-based, project-based summer curriculum which is experiential, creative, and age-appropriate for each grade unit. Campers will explore a variety of Jewish concepts and values based on each grade unIt’s theme. This summer we will have a variety of Limud themes, including Israel, God, Torah, Mitzvot (religious obligations), Middot (Jewish values) and Tikkun Olam (repairing our world).
Shabbat at Camp
Shabbat is the most special day of the week. By bringing the camp together as a whole, we create an opportunity for the Crane Lake community to reconnect as a community and deepen connections after a fun-filled week. Shabbat overflows with song, worship, rest and friendship. On Shabbat, Crane Lake truly becomes a Kehillah K’dosha, a holy community.
As a part of our Shabbat preparation on Friday afternoon, each unit cleans a designated area of camp. Campers are then given extra time to shower and dress for Shabbat. We encourage our campers and staff to dress nicely on Shabbat. (Typical choices include a “polo” collar style or button-down shirt, a sundress, or skirt outfit.)
Our Shabbat celebration begins with the camp coming together for a Shabbat walk as our song leaders lead the community, cabin by cabin, to the Chadar Ochel (dining room) together in song. We gather in the Chadar Ochel for blessings followed by a delicious Shabbat dinner, during which campers may sit anywhere they choose. This is a wonderful opportunity for siblings, cousins, and friends from other cabins to enjoy Shabbat dinner together.
After dinner and Birkat Hamazon (blessing after the meal), the entire camp comes together to welcome Shabbat in our beautiful outdoor sanctuary. One unit prepares the camp-wide Shabbat T’filah (service) each week, complete with art work, dance, and song, serving as our leaders in prayer. Our Shabbat worship, with more than 500 community members participating, is truly magnificent. With so many young voices rising together in prayer, the sound is like no other. This beautiful weekly service has a strong impact on the awakening spirituality of so many of our campers.
T’filah is followed by an energy-filled song session. With many guitars and hundreds of campers singing Shabbat songs, we really celebrate Shabbat! For many, this song session is the highlight of the week. The spirited song session leads right into Israeli dancing. For those that may enjoy a quieter song session, they have the option to go to another location. Our song leaders end the night with camper-favorite, Summertime Forever, and then our bed-time ritual. Laila Tov!
On Shabbat morning, campers can sleep a bit later. An optional buffet breakfast is available at the Chadar Ochel prior to our Shabbat morning T’filah. Once again, Shabbat T’filah is held in the outdoor sanctuary and one unit acts as our leaders in prayer. After a full Shabbat morning of song and worship, it is time for Shabbat lunch, and then it is back to the cabins for Shabbat Menucha (rest).
Shabbat afternoon is filled with outdoor play and after dinner, Shabbat ends with a beautiful outdoor Havdalah service.
FIRST SESSION CLOSING DAY- JULY 21, 2023 | SECOND SESSION CLOSING DAY- AUGUST 13, 2023
The camp sessions seem to go by so quickly and before we know it Closing Day arrives. We want to make sure that closing day is as smooth as possible.
Step 1: Arrival
Our gates will open at 9:00 a.m. Please plan on arriving no earlier than 9:00 a.m. To avoid long lines at the exit gate, we will stagger our pick-up times (and rotate them each summer). You will receive your pick-up times prior to closing day.
Upon arriving at camp, you will be directed to pull into the Town Hall parking lot just down the hill from camp, approximately a quarter mile towards the center of West Stockbridge.
Step 2: Luggage Pick Up
From Town Hall, cars will be directed to pull into camp through the red gates. You will drive directly to your child’s bunk. (If you have a son and a daughter being picked up from camp, you will be directed to drive to your son’s cabin to pick up his luggage, and your daughter’s luggage will be waiting for you below Boys Row.)
Upon arriving at your child’s bunk, camp staff will assist you in loading your child’s luggage. Your child will have already labeled each piece of their luggage and have placed it on his or her bed, to ensure nothing is left behind.
Step 3: Camper Pick Up
After loading all of your child’s belongings into your vehicle, you will be directed to our Lake Field where your child will be waiting for you. (In case of rain, your child will be waiting in the bunk for you along with their luggage.) In order to move the process expeditiously, it is very important that you pull your car up as far as possible and limit your time outside of your vehicle.
After reuniting with your child and once they have said their final goodbyes, you will be directed to drive out of camp through our back gate where you will collect any leftover medication and/or trip money. We will also ask you to sign your child out and show identification, so please have your driver’s license ready.
We appreciate your assistance and patience throughout the morning and ask you to keep the process moving as quickly as possible.
To ensure safety of our community, please leave your pets at home, and of course, smoking is not permitted anywhere on camp grounds.
We are planning on having Visiting Day for full summer campers on Saturday, July 22nd, 2023. We will send out an email to all full summer families with more details!
Staying in touch
CONTACTING THE CAMP
Office: (413) 232-4257
If you have a concern about your child’s health or medication, ask for the Health Center.
URJ Crane Lake Camp
46 State Line Rd
West Stockbridge, MA 01266
SUMMER OFFICE HOURS
Sunday – Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST
Friday 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. EST
Saturday 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST
In case of a true emergency, you will always be able to contact one of the directors. Just call camp, and follow the prompts on the recording.
LETTERS FROM THE CAMPERS
Although they may also choose to write to their friends or family members, campers are required to write two letters addressed to a parent or guardian each week. A check list for each cabin will be monitored by one of the directors to make sure that every camper has written a letter and addressed it to you. Campers have the added incentive of using the letters as their admission to canteen (treats and drinks) to encourage compliance. Please discuss your letter writing expectations with your child prior to Opening Day. This is especially important for children who live in separate homes with each parent.
It is a good idea to send envelopes and stamps in a zip-lock bag to protect them from the humidity. For our younger campers, we ask that you send at least 8 stamped envelopes that are already addressed to you (K’tanim 1 and 2 campers need to bring only 4.) This will ensure that the letters will not return to camp because of an unclear address.
The first letter you receive may not be the happiest especially from first time campers. Please remember that campers often take a few days to feel completely comfortable at Crane Lake and we are sure that subsequent letters will be more upbeat.
Your camper’s letters may be short and contain little information. Try sending a letter template with blanks for your camper to fill in. When the blanks are filled in the letter can be returned to you. (My favorite activity is…My new friends are…, etc.).
Remember that mail from West Stockbridge can truly be “snail mail.” In the past, letters have taken as few as two days to reach home, and others have taken as long as five. Campers using CampInTouch’s email service (see below) may write eLetter Replies as their bi-weekly letters.
LETTERS TO CAMPERS
Campers love receiving mail, so be sure to write often. If you tire of writing letters, be creative. Send comics from the newspaper, sports articles, funny cards, etc., each with a short note. Rotate through your family, with parents writing one day, and another family member the next.
What you include (and do not include) in your letters is also important. It is in your camper’s best interest not to feel like they are missing too much at home or feel anxious about your wellbeing. Be careful not to elaborate about how desperately you miss them, or how terribly quiet the house is. Instead, ask lots of questions about activities and friends. This will help your camper structure letters back to you. Keep the closing of your letters simple – “I love you and miss you,” is great, but “I’m so lonely without you. I cannot believe you’ll be gone for so long,” is not!
We have an email system in place for you as well. Emails sent to camp through CampInTouch (the same as the registration system account) are printed and distributed to campers daily. Also, the new Campanion app will have a feature for you to send — and your kids to write back — letters that don’t have to go through the USPS. Crane Lake has already paid your registration fee for this service, and we’ve even started you with some free credits that you can use when emailing your camper. You’ll be able to purchase additional credits at any time.
On Opening Day, please make note of your child’s bunk number and include it when addressing letters:
URJ Crane Lake Camp
46 State Line Rd
West Stockbridge, MA 01266
If you would like to write a letter to your camper before they leave for camp, so it will arrive during the first few days, it is okay not to include your camper’s bunk number on these first letters.
EMAILS TO AND FROM CAMP
CampInTouch email allows you (parents/guardians and any guests you invite) to send one-way messages to your child that are printed at camp and delivered once a day at mail time (this means that if you send your camper multiple emails in a day they will receive them all at once!).
Each standard email uses 1 “CampStamp,” and additional stamps can be used to add extra options to your message. Every account has been pre-loaded with 2 CampStamps per camper, per login, per week, at no cost, and you can purchase additional stamps at any time using your credit card. CampStamps are $1 each, or slightly less if you buy them in quantity: $10 for 10 CampStamps, $14 for 15 CampStamps, $18 for 20 CampStamps or $25 for 30 CampStamps. Any rollover CampStamps from last summer will be automatically uploaded to your account to use for the summer.
If you would like, before you click SEND, you can check the box that says, “I would like a handwritten eLetter reply.” If you click this box, we will attach an eLetter Reply to your message. The eLetter Reply is a blank piece of paper with your name and a barcode on it that is unique to you. Your camper receives two pieces of paper: one is your eLetter, and the other is this blank eLetter Reply. Your camper writes you a letter on the eLetter Reply and gives it to us. We send it to CampInTouch and the eLetter Reply appears instantly in your email inbox as a PDF file. Each page of eLetter stationery has a unique printed bar code.
Since you are charged a CampStamp only when your camper completes and returns the eLetter Reply to you, we recommend you print a whole stack of eLetter Replies before your camper leaves for camp so the eLetter Replies will be familiar. You can do this by clicking on the eLETTER STACK option when you’re in the email screen. Pack this stack of eLetter Replies with your camper’s belongings. Remember, you will only be charged a CampStamp for the eLetter Replies your camper completes and gives us to send to you.
More information about this service and the costs is included in the “Quick Start Guide” posted in your CampInTouch account. Please note that last year’s eLetter stationery will no longer function – you’ll need to request new reply emails with this year’s bar codes.
Here’s how the CampInTouch email system works:
- Log into your CampInTouch account
- Scroll down to Online Community
- Click on EMAIL – Your camper’s name will appear with a box next to it. If you have more than one camper, each camper’s name will appear.
- Place a check in the box next to the camper to whom you would like to send an eLetter.
- Type your eLetter in the message box, and click SEND. It is that easy.
Or you can use the Campanion app from a mobile device or desktop:
- Log into your Campanion app
- From the menu select ‘Letters’
- Click on the pencil icon to compose a new letter
- Click on “To”- Your camper’s name will appear with a box next to it. If you have more than one camper, each camper’s name will appear.
- Place a check in the box next to the camper to whom you would like to send an eLetter.
- Type your eLetter in the message box, and click SEND. It is that easy.
BLOG AND COMMUNICATIONS
We will post pictures on CampInTouch/Campanion (they are the same, no need to check both), write occasional blog posts, and send weekly emails so that you can get a feel for what is going on at camp. Please check our Blog periodically so you can watch videos, read about special happenings at camp, and become a virtual part of our camp activity.
Parents can send photo postcards to your campers, friends, and family directly through your CampInTouch account (accessed from a desktop). To send a postcard, hover over the photo you want to send and click on the stamp icon.
We have photographers constantly snapping pictures at camp. The photos are uploaded once each day. The upload time depends on the photographer’s schedule and the data transmission speed of our internet connection on any given day. We try to get every camper’s picture onto our site, but some campers run towards the camera and some run away. Please be patient!
Below is our broad photo uploading schedule:
- Photos will be posted once each day, most likely the next morning.
- You can expect 200-300 photos to be uploaded each day.
- Camp-wide special event photos (such as evening Maccabia events) will often be posted a day or two after they happen.
Additionally, parents often call after viewing a picture of their camper without a broad smile, or not standing with their friends, or not seemingly engaged in the activity at hand, or wearing long sleeves on a hot day, or wearing someone else’s sweatshirt, or standing alone, or on a different team from their best friend, and so on and so on. Please do not worry. Remember that each photo is a snapshot of one moment in a very long action-packed day at camp. We do our best to give you a taste of what is going on at camp each day. Please remember, it is only a taste and not photojournalism!
PHOTO VIEWING OPTIONS
- The CampInTouch Photos section is where you can view the most current photos from camp. You can mark your favorite pictures, purchase hi-res images and prints, and email photos directly to your friends and family.
- The Campanion app offers all the CampInTouch features used by parents in one place. You can view the daily photos, get updates from camp, email photos directly to your friends and family, and correspond with your camper (send and receive eLetters) right from your phone.
Crane Lake does not accept any camper packages. This includes boxes or large mailing envelopes of any size. Camp will only accept up to a standard #10 size business envelope (4-1/8″ x 9-1/2″).
We made this change several summers ago because:
- The volume of packages that arrived in camp each day created a community of “have and have-nots,” undermining our efforts to create a Jewish community in which each camper feels that they are valued and treated equally.
- Some campers didn’t receive any packages, which led to feelings of sadness and jealousy; others received so many packages they literally could not manage all the “stuff” in their cabins.
- Our staff spent hours organizing and sorting hundreds of packages daily, giving them less time to spend with campers.
- Empty packages produced a tremendous amount of waste.
- Campers sacrificed much of their free time during rest hour retrieving packages from the mailroom.
- Sadly, many parents did not respect our no-food policy, and others forgot to share that policy with extended family members. The food, candy and gum that arrived in these packages (hidden or otherwise) had to be taken away, disappointing the camper.
- Parents told us that it is expensive and burdensome to fill and mail packages, and that they often felt pressure to do so.
Of course, we understand that sometimes sending items to camp will be necessary. If your camper has forgotten something (e.g., a teddy bear) or needs something new (e.g., sneakers or more sunscreen), you will be able to send these items to camp. Please email us at email@example.com to let us know that a package is on its way, and what your camper can expect to find inside when opened with a staff member. Please note that this will be done on an exception-only basis and unless we know a package is coming, we will refuse to accept it at camp. We will respond to your email letting you know that it is indeed okay to send the package. Last summer we received many emails from parents telling us that they were sending things that were not truly necessities and conflicted with our package policy (i.e. nail polish, water guns, Maccabiah clothing) and we asked them not to send the package.
At camp we believe in the power of campers unplugging from electronics and so we do not schedule phone calls between campers and their families during the summer (except for birthday calls- see below).
If you have a specific concern about your child, please call our office and ask to speak with Alyson Bazeley, our Assistant Director or email her directly. Alyson, works with our Camper Care Team to help you navigate any concerns that may arise during your camper’s time at camp. With over 330 campers, we receive many phone calls and emails each day. Please be patient with us – most of the day we’re out of our offices and around camp with the campers. Your call or email will be returned as soon as possible.
We believe in a creating a partnership with you. If we have any concerns, rest assured, we’ll call you.
Pro tips: Remember that the first letter from your camper may take up to a week to arrive. Do not assume that something is wrong just because you haven’t heard from your camper right away.
If you have a concern about your child’s health or medication, ask for the Health Center.
If your camper celebrates a birthday while at camp, we make sure It is a special one. After breakfast, a birthday cake is presented to the birthday camper along with a birthday crown, and the entire camp sings our special Crane Lake birthday song. The birthday cake is shared by bunkmates as a special dessert treat.
They will know that their day is special and that one of your presents to them is the gift of camp. We ask that you not send flowers or balloons or attempt to drop off packages (or have others send/drop off birthday packages on your behalf). Please let your camper know that they will receive all their presents when they see you in person at home.
This policy puts us in line with the policies of many other camps. We hope you agree that this was a positive change, and we are grateful for your cooperation.
If you would like to speak to your camper on their birthday, please email our Camper Care Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org, a few days prior to the date so we can make arrangements to bring your camper to the phone at a designated time. You know your camper best; if you think hearing your voice might be upsetting, a birthday phone call might not be the best idea. Please have all family members present for the short birthday phone call. Separate calls from parents, older siblings, grandma and grandpa cannot be allowed since the calls would be too disruptive to the camper’s schedule.
Your camper cannot call you on your birthday, or on the birthday of other family members. Again, as little disruption as possible to your camper’s day is best.
Please do not offer your camper’s counselor extra money for a bunk birthday party. We will not accept it and cannot hold a special party. All birthdays at Crane Lake are celebrated the same, special way. We thank you for respecting our no-package policy and give you our assurances that your camper will have a memorable birthday celebration this summer at camp.
Remember, we will not automatically bring your camper to the phone on their birthday. We will call only if you have contacted camp to arrange a mutually convenient time.
Crane Lake Unplugged
At camp we live our best unplugged life! We ask our campers to unplug their electronics…and plan to plug into your friends, the outdoors, and Jewish life at camp!
Al tifrosh min hatzibur
Do not separate yourself from the community!
Please leave your electronics at home…where they will be perfectly safe until you return!
Exceptions: You are welcome to bring any of the following:
- an mp3 player without touch screen
- a CD player
- an inexpensive digital camera.
And those are the only electronics that are welcome at camp.
Like all camps, we have given serious thought to this issue. Like many camps, we have chosen to differentiate between time at camp versus the rest of the year. We have learned that camp is very different…and that is what makes it so special.
After careful consideration, our Electronics Policy is designed to:
- encourage our campers to spend more time off their beds and outdoors
- promote socialization between campers
- remove the divide between “the haves, and the have-nots”
- reduce the stress associated with the damage to and theft of electronics
- give campers a much-needed break from the world of technology
- allow campers to fully embrace and “plug into” the connections they make with other campers as they “unplug” from their electronics
- ensure that our campers are not exposed to age-inappropriate material
Check out our video about living tech free!
Now for the details about acceptable electronics.
If your camper must have their music at camp, either for fun or Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation, please send:
- an inexpensive mp3 player, or
- an iPod that does not have a touch screen (both the shuffle and nano models are welcome.)
We will not allow any mp3 players/mobile devices with touch screens. This way we can ensure that our campers cannot watch videos, TV shows, movies or access the internet. As such, campers may not bring any smartphones, even if the SIM card has been removed. We feel so strongly about not allowing our campers to have any touch screen devices in hand, that we will confiscate any iPod/mp3 player with a touch screen and return it to you on Closing Day.
We encourage you to send an inexpensive digital camera or disposable cameras. (Make sure you pack enough memory cards and batteries.) Please discuss proper handling of the camera and how pictures should be taken of bunkmates only with their permission. Please leave expensive cameras at home.
GAMEBOYs, PSPs, NINTENDO DS
No electronic hand-held game devices will be allowed in camp.
We will confiscate any Gameboys, PSPs, Nintendo DSs or other hand-held electronic devices and return them to you on Closing Day.
It is our long-standing policy that campers may not bring cell phones to camp. Cell phone use at camp is counter to the values we teach and uphold at Crane Lake and interferes with an important peer aspect of the overnight camp experience. We know that one of the reasons you send your camper to camp is so that they can take a break from technology. Although cell phones have been strictly prohibited at camp for many years, some families choose to ignore this policy. When you allow your camper to break the rules and take a cell phone to camp, your camper quickly learns that the rules do not apply to them and your family.
When campers bring a phone to camp it:
- leads to conflicts within the cabin
- allows campers to focus on their friends at home rather than their friends at camp
- enables campers to call parents when they need advice instead of turning to their peers or counselors
- prevents campers from problem solving
As a result, we maintain a zero-tolerance cell phone policy.
Our policy sends a very clear message. If we learn that any camper has a cell phone in camp, we will take it away; call their parent; and require a parent to come to camp to take their camper home for three days. There will be no reimbursement of camp tuition for this suspension.
Please take the time to discuss this policy with your camper. In the past, campers have hidden their cell phones in their bags without their parents’ knowledge. Parents will be held responsible if their camper does not comply with the cell phone policy regardless of how the cell phone arrived at camp.
LAPTOPS, NETBOOKS, iPADS, KINDLES, NOOKS
Campers are not permitted to have these, or similar electronic devices, in camp. Please make sure you purchase, and pack, any books your camper might be required to read from their school’s summer reading list.
ONE LAST WORD ON ELECTRONICS…
From our front-line experience over the years, we can reassure you that these policies prove themselves worthy and that campers are resilient. They adjust quickly, and we do our part to help them power down, unplug, and take a well-needed break from the world of electronics.
Please re-read the description of those few items that we do allow at camp. At the same time, please be respectful of the usage limitations we have in place. While re-reading we encourage you to note the sentences where we have used boldface. In your camper’s best interests, it is very important that you adhere to these requirements. If you have any questions or want further clarification, please contact one of the Directors at 201-722-0400.
Health + Safety
See below for our guiding health and safety protocols. All health and safety information and protocols regarding COVID-19 will be shared directly with enrolled families.
We work hard to make sure that everyone remains healthy at camp. Yet we also understand and prepare for when our campers feel unwell. We have a wonderful group of supportive medical staff that will take care of them in our newly renovated health center. The Health Center serves a variety of purposes and has rooms for campers that may not be able to stay in the bunk as well as an area with treatment rooms.
HEALTH CENTER STAFF
Registered nurses staff our Health Center 24 hours a day. Most of our camp nurses work as school nurses throughout the year and are both experienced and comfortable treating children and communicating with parents. We also have a physician in residence who is on call 24 hours a day and in the Health Center for daily health calls and for emergencies. Most of our nurses and doctors return to us summer after summer and know our campers and our procedures very well.
Click here for our Village Pharmacy FAQs.
Campers requiring medications on an on-going basis while at camp receive them just before breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime. Our nurses will carefully document every medication, for every camper, every day. All medications must be filled with Lenox Village Integrative Pharmacy. You will receive the information for LVIP in an additional email. We will return any excess medication to you at the end of the session.
The only medications that will be allowed at camp are those prescribed by a doctor. Over-the-counter drugs will not be accepted unless filled by Lenox Village Integrated Pharmacy. This includes vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.
If your child has seasonal allergies and occasionally uses antihistamines or decongestants, these allergies may flare up at camp. Please ask your physician to prescribe that these be taken on a regular, daily basis.
OTC MEDICATIONS GIVEN AS NEEDED
If your camper is given a commonly used OTC medication such as:
- Acetaminophen or Tylenol
- Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Naproxen or Aleve
- Tums, Pepto Bismol, Mylanta
- Benadryl, Robitussin Cough & Allergy Syrup, Mucinex, Loratadine
There will not be any cost to you, nor will our nurses call you.
MEDICATION VACATIONS AT CAMP
“Medication Vacation” is a term given to the practice of suspending ongoing medication treatment. Most commonly, the suspension of medication is for ADD and ADHD such as Ritalin, Focalin or Concerta or the suspension of medication for anxiety such as Prozac, Zoloft and Celexa.
If your camper currently takes medications for any behavioral or emotional reasons, we DO NOT RECOMMEND that you suspend this daily treatment. Although camp is a relaxed, fun environment, without the pressure of homework or tests, camp is still a place where children interact socially and are required to maintain focus and be alert, cooperative, and task-oriented for much of the day. Our experience has taught us that those children who continue their medication during their time at camp are more successful and have an easier time at moments of transition and social interaction.
Please do not make any changes to your camper’s emotional or behavioral medications just prior to camp. Camp is not the proper environment for adjusting to a new medication or to a new dose of medication. Campers should be on their medication for at least one month prior to camp with no intended dose adjustments while at camp.
EPIPENS, INHALERS, LIQUIDS, INJECTIONS
On Opening Day, please bring your camper’s EpiPens, ointments, creams, eye drops, ear drops, inhalers, liquids, powders and injections to the Health Center in a gallon-size zip-loc bag clearly marked with your camper’s name, date of birth, and camp unit on it.
To be in compliance with MA state law, all prescription medications MUST be in the original packaging with the prescription label on it. All OTC ointments, creams, eye drops, nasal sprays, liquids and powders must include either a note from your doctor or a note from a parent with directions for dispensing.
EPIPENS AT CAMP
If your camper has an allergy that might require the use of an EpiPen, please bring it to camp (in the box with a prescription label) for safe storage in the Health Center. If your camper regularly carries an EpiPen with them, please bring two to camp: one to store in the Health Center and a second that your camper can always carry. We ask that this second EpiPen be carried in a backpack, string bag, or a fanny-pack so it is not accessible to curious campers around camp. Camp also keeps additional EpiPens in our Health Center, Dining Hall, swimming pool and outdoor education sites. During Staff Training Week, our staff receives training on proper EpiPen usage.
If your child uses an inhaler of any kind, we ask that you bring two to camp in their original packaging. One will remain in your child’s cabin for emergency use, and the other in the Health Center for daily or as-needed use.
If your camper will receive a weekly allergy shot or a daily HGH shot, please bring the vials of medication (in the original box with the prescription label) and the syringes to the Health Center on Opening Day.
An increasing number of campers each summer have been taking Melatonin to help them fall asleep. Since Melatonin has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in children, and The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children take Melatonin only with physician consent, we will only dispense Melatonin to campers who bring a note from their physician explaining why Melatonin is indicated. Melatonin prescribed by a physician must be packaged by LVIP.
MEDICATIONS PRESCRIBED AT CAMP
If your camper becomes ill at camp and needs medication, the camp doctor will write a prescription that will be filled at a local pharmacy. We will provide the pharmacy with your insurance information for payment, and we will cover the co-pay as indicated by your prescription plan. We will then charge the co-pay to the credit card we have on file. Of course, our camp doctor will let you know that a medication has been prescribed, and our bookkeeper will let you know about the charge to your credit card.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASE: PREVENTION
- During the pre-camp staff orientation, staff members are thoughtfully trained in the strategies for fostering a healthy camp community and in the specifics of communicable disease control.
- Hand washing facilities and hand sanitizers will be available at numerous locations throughout camp. Reminders about “safe” coughing practices and appropriate hand washing procedures will be incorporated into the daily life and culture of camp. Posters with “healthy practices” are posted all around camp. Campers and staff will be instructed to not share food or drink.
- Housekeeping staff regularly disinfect all our public bathrooms and additional “high contact” areas around camp, including dining facilities, sinks and doors.
- Regular cleanliness, health and safety inspections are conducted and additional staff training, and camper reminder strategies are implemented during the summer.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASE: TREATMENT PROTOCOL
- Any individual in camp experiencing symptoms that suggest a communicable disease will be immediately separated from the general camp population to assess the nature of the illness and to protect others from infection. If the sick individual is a camper, a parent will be contacted.
- If proper testing and evaluation can be done on site, the camp will do so. All parents should be prepared for the possibility that they may need to bring their child home for evaluation, treatment and recovery. This decision is at the discretion of the camp director in consultation with camp medical personnel.
TICKS AND MOSQUITOS:
- We also take preventative measures to minimize tick and mosquito bites during the camp season. Each year, we partner with Ivy Oaks Analytics, a public health company based out of Virginia that specializes in the control of ticks, mosquitoes, and poison ivy at large campgrounds, parks and summer camps. Although this has never been a major issue at Crane Lake we feel very strongly that we have an obligation to our camp community to do everything in our power to reduce the risks associated with ticks, mosquitoes and poison ivy. Their process includes ongoing tick population measurements, landscape modification, natural control methods and more. Crane Lake is proud to be one of the few camps nationally with an advanced public health standards certification by implementing this program.
- During staff orientation, staff members are trained in protocols for tick checks and are expected to help campers check for ticks regularly.
OUT OF CAMP CARE
EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS
Should your camper require emergency medical care, including x-rays or any laboratory evaluation, we will bring them to the Emergency Room (ER) at either the Fairview Hospital, in Great Barrington, or Berkshire Medical Center, in Pittsfield. Our nurses and physician will decide if a camper or staff member must be brought to the ER and will contact you, or the person you designated as your emergency contact, before your camper leaves for the ER. A counselor or nurse will accompany your camper and stay with them until they return to camp. In the unlikely event that an ambulance must be called to transport your camper to the Emergency Room, one of the camp directors or medical staff will accompany them. Our nurses and physician will update you when your camper is seen in the ER and when they return to camp.
COMMUNICATING WITH THE HEALTH CENTER
Our nurses will call you if your camper:
- has been seen by the camp doctor
- has been seen by the camp doctor and a prescription has been ordered
- is ill and will need to spend the night in the Health Center (if your child visits in the middle of the night, you will be called in the morning unless there is an emergency)
- has an infected ingrown toenail (a common camp affliction) and sees the camp doctor
- if they have any concerns regarding your child’s health or medication
- needs to go to the emergency room.
- needs to see a specialist outside of camp
Our nurses will not call you if your camper comes to the Health Center with a stomachache, headache, splinter, to get ice for a bump or any other common ailment, or take over the counter medication.
If you have any concerns about your camper’s health or medication, you can reach the Health Center directly at 413-232-4114. Please be patient with our nurses who may not be able to answer the phone since they are busy with our campers. Please leave a message and one of our nurses will call you back as soon as possible.
OTHER HEALTH NEEDS
Dozens and dozens of campers will come to camp this summer with braces, retainers and other orthodontic devices. Please discuss proper care of all orthodontics with your camper prior to their time at camp.
Sometimes a wire or bracket on a camper’s braces breaks or loosens and causes discomfort. We can take the camper to our local orthodontist so that they can make adjustments to stop the discomfort. We will always call you before we make an appointment for your camper.
We also have campers that use Invisalign. If your camper uses Invisalign we will have you fill out the information in the medication section of the health form, including how often they will need to switch their aligners. Please bring their Invisalign aligners with them on Opening Day.
If your camper’s glasses break while at camp, we will send the glasses to our local optician for repair. If the glasses cannot be fixed, we will ask you to send another pair. It is a good idea to send your camper with the last pair of glasses they wore prior to the ones they are currently wearing. It is always good for your camper to have a back-up pair on hand.
Yes, the tooth fairy visits Crane Lake! Well, sort of. Campers who lose teeth while at camp will be given a container to store the tooth until they get home and can place it under their pillow. Our Camper Care Team will also give the toothless camper a sweet treat.
CLEAN AND HEALTHY CAMPERS
Our campers are responsible for their own personal hygiene. We expect them to shower every day with soap, wash their hair with shampoo, change their underwear, socks, and clothes, brush their teeth and wash their hands after they use the toilet. We expect that they will apply bug spray and sunscreen daily and that they will drink plenty of water.
However, we know many children will need lots of encouragement by our counselors and nurses to take proper care of themselves. Although we will gently remind our campers to complete all these tasks, you can help us by discussing these expectations with your camper and practice, practice, practice doing these things without you while they are still at home!
NIKAYON – CABIN CLEAN-UP
Each day our campers clean their cabins. During this time, campers make their beds, and organize their cubbies. Campers are also responsible for cleaning the communal areas of the cabin. They rotate each day through a list of Nikayon tasks including sweeping, taking out the trash, emptying the clothesline, and tidying up the bathroom (the bathroom is cleaned and sanitized each day by our housekeeping staff). Each cabin is inspected daily by our team of Unit Heads. On Friday afternoon as part of our Shabbat preparation, each cabin cleans a designated area of camp. When it is time for our campers to leave their cabins after Nikayon, they apply bug spray, sunscreen and fill their water bottles.
Your camper’s safety and security is a top priority at Crane Lake. Our professional security staff is on duty 24 hours a day to insure the safety of the entire Crane Lake community. The front gate remains locked at all times and can only be opened by our security staff who also make periodic checks throughout the entire camp grounds.
Working in partnership with the other URJ Camps across North America and our Israeli security consulting firm, we have created, over the last two decades, thoughtful and sophisticated safety and security protocols and procedures that address a wide range of concerns. These protocols are updated annually and we train our camp supervisors and camp staff prior to every summer season so that they are prepared to work as a team to insure a secure camp environment. We have a close relationship with the West Stockbridge Police and Fire Departments, so we can work collaboratively if need be. The confidence of our camp community in our professionalism is essential to our success.
If you’ll be coming to camp during either session, with the director’s advance permission, park your car in the Visitor’s Lot. Call security from the call box by the gate. Please be patient as our security staff radios one of the directors to let them know of your arrival in camp and receives further direction for your arrival.
Policies + Resources
Cabin assignments are made by the camp directors after careful consideration of appropriate placement. The directors must consider:
- the balance of new and returning campers,
- the numbers of single session and full summer campers,
- how many bunk beds fit in each cabin,
- the recommendations of unit heads and counselors from previous summers, and
- camper requests.
Juggling all this information and making everybody happy is quite a challenge! When you registered your camper, we asked you for the names of two campers with whom your camper would like to share a cabin. Although we are interested in knowing the wishes of parents and campers in regard to cabin placement, our experience has shown us that part of the fun of camp is to experience meeting new people and learning to live in a group situation. A successful new friendship can be the most rewarding aspect of the camp season. At camp, friendships come quickly.
If you decide not to make a cabin request for your camper, we will surely place them in a cabin that we feel is best.
We do not accept negative cabin requests (“Please do not place my child with…..”). This is counter to the values of inclusion and tolerance that we teach at Crane Lake. V’ahavta L’rayacha Kamocha, Love Your Neighbor as Yourself, is a Jewish value that we embrace. At camp, as in life, we do not all have to be best friends, but we must get along and treat one another with care and respect. Living these values is part of our Mission Statement and paramount to the community we create at Crane Lake.
We also cannot accept requests for particular bed placement (bottom bed, top bed, must be away from the bathroom, not near the corner of the cabin…). These requests, if accepted, would make it impossible for us to effectively place campers in cabins. There is one exception: if, for medical reasons, your camper needs a top or a bottom bed, you may make a bed placement request.
There are times when, in the best interest of a camper and other campers, cabin requests cannot be honored. In these few cases, we hope that you will trust our professional judgment.
We will not accept any cabin requests after May 13, 2022. Cabin assignments are given out on Opening Day when you check your camper into camp. Absolutely no cabin changes will be made at that time.
Parents often ask if they can tip their camper’s counselors. It is the policy of all URJ camps that staff members may not accept gratuities if they do accept them they jeopardize their position at camp. Instead, we encourage you to contribute to the Crane Lake Staff Appreciation Fund in honor of your camper’s counselors and the good work they have done. Your contributions are tax-deductible and can be made online (the website will be shared at the end of the session) or by contacting our Development Associate, Marisa Bergman. The counselors being honored will be notified of your generosity.
BAR/BAT MITZVAH PREPARATION
Campers who will become Bar or Bat Mitzvah in August, September, October, November or December 2022 will meet weekly with our Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor and faculty members to maintain what they have already learned prior to coming to camp. Please make sure you complete the Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation form (found on the “Forms & Documents” page of your CampInTouch account) and that you send 2 copies of all study and preparation materials. Our goal is to help your camper
In order to create and maintain an inclusive Jewish Community at camp, one in which the Jewish values of Derech Eretz (civility) and Chesed (kindness) are always present, we encourage our campers to leave all Body Talk outside the gates of camp. By Body Talk we mean any mention of another’s clothes, hair, weight or height, positive or negative. Avoiding such language creates an environment of comfort and acceptance by all and for all. When campers feel they are not being judged by their peers, they can relax and be themselves. This is when real personal growth takes place and campers’ self-esteem flourish. As we eliminate Body Talk in our cabins, it is remarkable to see how easily our campers spread the message of simple self-acceptance. This is what you want for your camper; we do all we can to make it happen.
“GREEN” CRANE LAKE
Crane Lake is “green!” In 2018 we introduced single stream recycling throughout camp! We also post signs in each cabin about conserving water and electricity, using LED lights where we can, and much more. Each summer, we compost all our food scrapes and left-overs in the Chadar Ochel. Our Jewish Learning programming often includes lessons about the environment and our Jewish responsibilities as “trustees” of God’s world along with ways we can all “recycle, reduce, and reuse.”
It is our policy that no pets are allowed on camp grounds. Please be sure to leave your pets at home on Opening Day, and Closing Day.
EVALUATIONS AND SURVEYS
At the end of the session, campers complete a survey evaluating their session at camp. The results of this survey help us plan for the next summer.
At the end of each session, we will also send you a link to the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) survey. This parent survey helps us understand your feelings about camp. We learn much from these surveys and consider your participation critical to our ability to improve things at camp from summer to summer.