Information for Summer 2020
Crane Lake Camp offers a tight-knit community based on a culture of kindness and personal growth. Located on over 100 acres in the heart of the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts, campers form close relationships with one another while they travel throughout the day as a cabin group.
Crane Lake is rooted in a long history with rich traditions of excellence. We first opened our doors as a private camp in the early 1900’s. We have been a Union for Reform Judaism camp since 1998.
Crane Lake serves as a second home to 350 children each session. Campers come together to experience the fun and magic of Jewish camping from across the Northeast.
The Crane Lake Community (sometimes referred to as The Bubble) offers a fun, supportive environment in which campers can explore new activities, challenge themselves, and develop their passions. At camp, kids of all abilities and backgrounds strengthen their Jewish identities, while surrounded by beautiful facilities and expert staff.
Our caring and committed staff members (many of whom were campers themselves) strive to enrich the campers’ experiences by helping them to develop meaningful friendships. These relationships provide encouragement and support as well as offer the opportunity for campers to realize their full potential.
Our intimate (tech-free and parent-free) environment allows campers to embrace the challenge of learning new skills in athletics, aquatics, the arts, and adventure and nature programs. What campers do not realize is they are learning communication, collaboration, creativity, grit and empathy – the predictors of success in camp, school and beyond.
In addition to daily activities, inter-camp games, and special events, campers and staff immerse themselves in a wide range of innovative Jewish pursuits and creative spiritual experiences that are the soul of Crane Lake. Campers from different backgrounds join together to create a meaningful community.
From the youngest of our campers to the oldest of our Machon (counselors-in-training), every child who spends a summer at Crane Lake returns home a wiser, more self-confident person, and more connected to the Jewish community.
Crane Lake is more than a summer of fun – it is an experience that lasts a lifetime!
Our Mission Statement
Hineini – Here I am
… I am here to strengthen my own self-esteem and that of everyone in the camp community.
… I am here to strengthen my own Jewish identity and spirituality and that of everyone
in the camp community.
… I am here to strengthen my connection to the Crane Lake community and the Jewish community and to help everyone around me to do the same.
… I am here to do as much as I can, in the time that I have, in the place that I am, and to inspire others to join me in this holy work.
For it is written: “Lo alecha hamlacha ligmor, v’lo ata ben chorin, l’heebatel mimena.”
“You are not required to complete the work, nor are you free to ignore it.” Pirke Avot 2:16
…are reflected in our day-to-day life at camp. Every five years, Crane Lake is visited by the American Camping Association. Since Crane Lake always meets the ACA’s high standards, we continue to receive their accreditation. We are committed to providing:
- a safe camp community
- caring, competent adult role models
- healthy, developmentally-appropriate experiences
- service to the community and the natural world
- opportunities for leadership and personal growth
- discovery, experiential education, and learning opportunities
- excellence and continuous self-improvement
Crane Lake strives to embody the “audacious hospitality” of the Reform Movement. We welcome campers and staff members from families of all backgrounds–including those with interfaith, same-sex or single parents–or those who identify as LGBTQ.
Crane Lake is proud of our open, supportive and inclusive environment. The make-up of the URJ and our programs are as diverse as our population; therefore, our communities represent that vibrant and colorful fabric that makes up the Reform Jewish population. We are proud that our camps and programs are inclusive and designed for everyone in our community from LGBTQ to children with single, same sex or interfaith parents, to children of color. Our program is created to strengthen the self-esteem, Jewish identity, and connection to the Jewish community of all campers through the supportive nature of our people, staff, and programs.
Campers range from ages 7 to 17 and are entering grades 2-12. A great many of our campers and staff members come from the greater New York and Boston Regions. We also have representation from all over the Northeast as well as from across the United States and overseas. Most of our campers are members of Reform Jewish synagogues.
We place our campers into five units based on the school grade they will enter immediately after camp. This way, each unit is comprised of children who are socially, physically, and developmentally on approximately the same level. Our units at camp are as follows:
|Hebrew Unit Name||English Translation||Entering Grades|
|K'TANIM (2 weeks)||"Little Ones"||2nd to 4th|
|NITZANIM||"Seedlings"||4th and 5th|
|BONIM||"Builders"||6th and 7th|
|CHAVERIM||"Friends"||8th and 9th|
|OLIM||"Those who go up"||10th|
|CRANE LAKE IN ISRAEL||11th|
*Our K’tanim program is two weeks long. This introductory program is perfect for our youngest campers, most of whom will be away from home for the first time. The K’tanim campers’ bunk along with our younger Nitzanim campers who are staying for the entire session. Extra attention is paid to teaching our K’tanim and Nitzanim campers throughout their time on camp. From helping them to find their way around camp to enjoying all that camp has to offer. Our “little ones” form wonderful friendships and have a great time during what we hope will be the first of many summers at Crane Lake.
Campers entering 11th grade are encouraged to spend an unforgettable summer in Israel with their Crane Lake friends on the NFTY in Israel program run by the North American Federation of Temple Youth, the youth movement of the URJ.
Our Machon unit is a Counselor-In-Training program. Machon is an integral part of the Northeast Teen Collective, our initiative to increase the number of teens participating in Jewish life while inspiring them to be agents of change. During the first session of camp, our Machonikim participate in an intensive leadership training program. This prepares them for all aspects of being staff members as well as leaders in their home communities. During the second session of camp, our Machonikim become counselors, moving into bunks for on-the-job training.
Our staff has been carefully selected and intensely trained by our camp directors to keep our campers safe, happy and instill the values of Crane Lake. Before our campers arrive, all staff members participate in an intensive training program. This on-site training includes workshops led by our camp directors, outside professionals, and industry experts.
Our bunk counselors are Jewish college and university students who bring abundant warmth and energy to our camp community. Many of them are former Crane Lake campers, comfortable at camp, familiar with camp routines and traditions, and eager to share their love for Crane Lake and Reform Judaism with this next generation of campers.
Our various sports coaches, lifeguards, arts, and outdoor adventure instructors are college and graduate students from all over the world. They share their particular areas of expertise with our campers. Our swim staff are American Red Cross Certified Lifeguards.
Over 20 energetic Israelis join our staff each summer. They are coaches, instructors, and bunk counselors. They infuse Israeli culture into the daily life at camp as well as create Israel-themed evening programs, and teaching Hebrew.
Our Leadership Team is made up of college seniors, college graduates, graduate students, and young professionals as well as adults with many years of experience working with children.
In past summers, our international staff have come from Australia, The Czech Republic, England, France, New Zealand, Poland and South Africa. Our Support Staff (kitchen, maintenance, and housekeeping) come to Crane Lake through international programs that send qualified young adults to various summer camps in America.
Our wonderful 24-hour professional Health Center is staffed by a doctor and caring registered nurses.
Every week a group of dynamic rabbis, cantors, and educators from URJ congregations from throughout the northeast come to camp for a week or two at a time to teach, worship and have fun with our campers.
Our education faculty is an essential part of the Reform Jewish community at camp.
Our Leadership Team, who work as unit heads and department heads, arrive at camp three weeks before our campers. Our specialists, including coaches, art instructors, lifeguards, ropes course instructors, outdoor education and Limud staff arrive more than two weeks before our campers. They have ample time to train, get certified by outside professionals when appropriate, and set up their activity areas. Our general counselors arrive at camp eight days before the campers arrive, joining the specialists for Staff Training Week in which they learn about working with children and being a Crane Lake staff member. When Opening Day arrives, our entire staff is confident, energized, excited, and ready to meet our campers.
OUR CAMPERS BECOME OUR STAFF
Many of our staff members were campers themselves having grown up at Crane Lake and choosing to work with the next generation of Crane Lake campers. Our campers become our best counselors! As a way to pay it forward, our staff take all they’ve learned as campers and put it in their “toolkit” as counselors: resiliency, compassion, self-confidence, civility, patience, the ability to speak out, stand up and fix what is broken in our world, embracing Judaism and so much more. These skills are essential not only in camp, but everywhere in life and will positively impact them as they enter the job market after college. We hope our campers will be our staff members for many years after high school and are thrilled that so many are!
Crane Lake is proud of our open, supportive and inclusive environment. Our camp community represents that vibrant and colorful fabric that makes up the Reform Jewish population. Our camp and programs are inclusive and designed for everyone in our community from LGBTQ to children with single, same sex or interfaith parents, to children of color. We hope that our campers and staff strengthen their self-esteem, Jewish identity, and connection to the Jewish community through the inclusive nature of our people, staff, and programs.
We are committed to building a vibrant community rooted in Jewish values and to bringing the transformative power of Jewish summer camp to every child and family who come through our gates. From our policies to our programs and camp traditions, we strive to reflect our camp’s core values and those of the URJ:
Kehillah Kedoshah – A Holy Community
We are a sacred community, responsible for one another.
V’ahavta L’reyecha – Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself
We should behave towards one another with love and kindness.
Hachnasat Orchim – Welcome the Stranger
Camp is a place of “audacious hospitality,” where all who enter are celebrated.
Yichut Atsmo – Personal Growth
Camp is a uniquely transformative opportunity for young people to take risks and grow, and our job at Crane Lake is to nurture that growth.
Your child – any child from an interfaith family who is being raised as a Jew – has a place at our camp. For over 30 years, the Reform Movement has been at the forefront of the Jewish world ensuring a welcoming environment for interfaith families. As Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) President Rabbi Rick Jacobs has stated, “Creating pathways for Jews and non-Jewish partners to create active Jewish homes is a blessing.”
What happens at a URJ camp? What is Jewish living?
Camp is fun! Our campers experience a great atmosphere, terrific activities and programs, values that come to life every day and friendships. This happens all under the watchful eyes of our caring, responsible counselors or other adult role models (some of whom either are children of interfaith families or themselves non-Jewish).
Your child, when entrusted to our camp, will experience what it is like to live a completely Jewish lifestyle. This complete absorption into the rhythms and calendar of Jewish living gives each child a fuller appreciation of the richness of their Jewish identity and heritage. They are taught the values of charity, justice and kindness. Experience has shown that they will bring these values home.
Will my child feel isolated or different because one parent is not Jewish?
Not at all. Each child at Crane Lake is valued as the unique individual they are, with the wonderful attributes they bring to our community. Each child is recognized as a full member of the Jewish community whether they have one or two Jewish parents. Celebrating Judaism includes respecting those of other faiths as well.
Will my child feel embarrassed if they aren’t familiar with a Jewish practice or tradition at camp?
They will not be the only one! Crane Lake is a place for your child to further their knowledge of Judaism in an experiential way. Every child who comes to camp brings a different skill set and knowledge of Jewish tradition and practice. They learn from their counselors and from their friends at camp. This is a no-stress environment, where learning the levels of Jewish living is an enjoyable and natural progression.
Will it be a problem if my child has limited or no knowledge of Hebrew?
No problem! Campers learn Hebrew at camp in an experiential way, learning some basic Hebrew terms, Hebrew blessings and phrases.
When my child returns home, will they be uncomfortable with my not being Jewish?
Remember that many of your child’s counselors have experience with interfaith families – either their own, their relatives or their friends. We teach each child that the Torah mandates to honor their father and mother. We emphasize to each child that this teaching is not based on the parent being Jewish – the teaching is based on honoring each parent. Your position as the child’s parent will continue to be sacrosanct. We will encourage the respect you are due as a parent, with no regard to your own religious beliefs.
TRANSGENDER CAMPERS AND STAFF
What does it mean to be transgender? Is that person a boy or a girl?
Some children are born into the body of a boy, but in their hearts and minds they are girls. Others are born into the body of a girl, but in their hearts and minds they are boys. Those raised as boys for the first few years of their lives make it increasingly clear at a very early age that they understand themselves to be girls. Likewise, those that are raised as girls for the first few years of their life made it increasingly clear at a very early age that they understand themselves to be boys. Their social development and patterns are aligned with other children of their age.
Where will transgender campers and staff sleep?
A transgender camper or staff members who identifies as female will sleep in a girls’ cabin with campers. A transgender camper or staff member who identifies as a boy will sleep in a boys’ cabin with campers.
What about privacy?
Our transgender campers and staff are private about the ways in which they are different from other children their age. At camp, we teach all of our campers and staff to have a sense of modesty and to respect one another’s privacy. We will continue to reinforce this message. Our cabins all have stall showers, each with its own curtain. All toilets are in stalls with doors. We also have a door or privacy curtain between the bathroom area and living space in each cabin. Outside the cabin, all our public restrooms have stalls which enable privacy around camp. Every child and staff member thus has privacy when showering, changing and using the restroom.
Will my kids be scared or confused?
Probably not, but if they are, help them understand that this is just one of many ways in which their friends may be different from them. Try not to assume that your kids will think this is weird or confusing. They may just accept it at face value and move on. It is a good idea to ask if they understand and if they have more questions. As always, there are staff and resources at camp for your child to turn to in times of need.
What does the Reform Movement say about transgender people?
The Reform Movement’s recognition of transgender rights dates back to 1978. The Movement has an explicit policy of non-discrimination regarding transgender people and has even developed blessings for the changing of gender. Through the years, the URJ has been a fierce advocate of LGBT rights and equality both within the Movement and in the wider community through the resolutions of the Commission on Social Action and the work of the Religious Action Center.
Here are some resources for your own education that can help equip you to talk to your children.
Books for Adults:
- Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper, The Transgender Child
- Nicholas Teich, Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue
- Andrew Solomon, Far from the Tree
- Joy Ladin, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey between Genders
- Noach Dzmura, Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community
Books for Children:
- Rachel Gold, Being Emily [middle school and older]
- Jennifer Carr, Be Who You Are [young children]
- TransYouth Family Allies website
- ABC News article coverage of Camp “You are You”
- Katie Couric video clip about Coy Mathis
- Katie Couric collection of useful websites
- I’m Just Anneke
- Transgender Basics
- The Family Journey
Best Practices Guides
2020 Camp Prep
2020 FORMS CHECKLIST
All forms are due Thursday, April 1, 2020.
REQUIRED FORMS for EACH CAMPER in YOUR FAMILY
- Code of Conduct & Anti-Bullying Pledge (download, print, sign, scan and upload)
- All About Me! (download, print, have camper complete, scan and upload)
- Camper Profile (online form completed by parent)
- Recent Camper Photo (upload current passport-style picture of camper) Remember to smile!
- Camper Health History (online form completed by parent)
- Camper’s Medical Examination Form and Immunization Form (download, print, have physician complete, scan and upload document OR use your pediatrician’s standard examination & immunization forms, scan and upload)
- URJ Vaccine Statement (online form completed by parent to acknowledge that you have read and understand the URJ vaccine policy)
- Insurance Card and Camp Treatment Authorization Form (download, print, sign, scan and upload along with photocopies of your insurance card)
- Food Allergies, Sensitivities, and Special Diets Form (online form completed by parent)
- Camp Travel Form: Submit this online form if you camper will travel to/from camp either by plane or with an adult other than a parent.
- Grandparent Connection: Submit this online form if you would like us to send summer news, videos, etc. to your camper’s grandparents.
- Bar/Bat Mitzvah Preparation: Download, print, complete and upload this form if your camper will become a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in August-December 2020. Your Rabbi, Cantor or Educator will need to sign it.
Remember to complete a set of forms for EACH camper in your family!
NEW CAMPER ORIENTATION
New Camper Orientation is on Sunday, June 7th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. This is a day when parents and new campers come and tour our facilities, meet some of our staff and counselors and introduce themselves to other new campers and their families. It gives both parents and campers the opportunity to see where our campers eat, sleep, play, swim, and so much more during their time at camp. You will even get to sample our camp cookies and juice! A first-time summer experience is so very exciting, but we also understand that this is a big step for you and your child. We are prepared to work with you in every way to make this an amazing experience for everybody.
THE WEEK BEFORE CAMP
We hope that you will find this information helpful in days leading up to drop off as well as Visiting Day.
The establishment of a healthy camp environment is the result of a successful partnership between parents and camp. Your diligence in the assessment of your child’s health in the week prior to camp is critical to ensuring that we limit the exposure of the camp community to any illness. We know how disappointing it is to tell your child that their departure for camp must be delayed because of illness. We are counting on you to help us by serving as the first line of defense. Clearly, if your child is ill, the place they will be most comfortable is in your care at home.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
- If your child develops a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the 7 days prior to the start of the session, please have your child evaluated by a physician.
- If your child’s physician determines through an in-person examination and testing that your child has an illness, the camper MUST REMAIN AT HOME until the child’s physician and the Camp Director determine that your child no longer poses a risk of spreading an illness to others.
- No child should come to camp until they are fever and symptom free (without medication) and healthy for at least 24 hours. Please do not bring your child to camp until you have discussed your child’s condition with the Camp Director.
Lice: We want to provide you some packing tips that will help ease the lice check process, and minimize stress if your child is found to have lice or nits:
- Pack everything to be used at camp a minimum of 48 hours prior to departure.
- Anything that has been used or worn in the 48 hours prior to arriving at camp (that you must take with you… such as combs, brushes, special stuffed animals, sweatshirts, pillow cases, blankets etc.), place in a separate bag away from the bag that will be brought to your bunk.
Please make sure the hair is combed of knots to make the 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.
What to bring
- 3 bath towels (to use for showering)
- 3 beach towels (to bring to the pool)
- 2 face towels (for hand and face washing)
- 2 wash cloths (to use in the shower)
- 2 fitted sheets (twin size)
- 2 flat sheets (can also be used as light blankets)
- 2 pillow cases (bring an extra if you want your bunkmates to sign it!)
- 1 pillow (or two if that’s what you’re accustomed to)
- 1 blanket (light to medium weight)
- 1 sleeping bag (for camping out)
- 1 laundry bag (to use when camp-provided bag is at laundry service)
- 1 mattress pad or egg crate (for those who like to pad their mattress)
Please label all linens with your camper’s name!
- 20 pairs of underwear
- 16 socks (or more for serious ball players)
- 12 t-shirts (or tank tops or any short sleeve shirt – first session campers should bring a blue, red, green, and yellow shirt for Mini Macc, while second session campers should bring a few blue and a few white shirts for Maccabiah)
- 3 long sleeve shirts (for cool evenings)
- 2 sweatshirts (for very cool evenings)
- 1 light jacket (for very, very cool evenings)
- 8 shorts (gym, cargo, Soffes, etc.)
- 2 pairs of jeans (for cool evenings, hiking)
- 1 raincoat/poncho (must have a hood)
- 3 pairs of pajamas (or sleeping shirts, etc.)
- 2 nice Shabbat outfits (white top is encouraged, but not required; skirts, nice shorts, or slacks)
- 4 bathing suits (girls – 2 must be one-piece suits for instructional swim)
- swimming goggles (for those with chlorine-sensitive eyes or contacts)
- 1 sun hat (baseball hat, etc., not a visor)
- dressy outfit for banquet (optional, many campers like to dress up!)
Please label all clothing with your camper’s name!
- 2 pairs of sneakers (for everyday wear, sports)
- 1 pair of sturdy shoes (for hiking and rain-only if you already own, do not buy!)
- 1 pair of swimming shoes (to wear to the pool)
- 1 pair of sandals/flip-flops (if you wear them)
- 1 pair of soccer/baseball cleats (only if you already own, do not buy!)
- 1 pair of Shabbat shoes (optional, some girls wear nice sandals, NO HEELS HIGHER THAN TWO INCHES PLEASE!)
Please label all shoes with your camper’s name!
- comb and brush
- clips, hair bands
- toothbrush and toothpaste, plastic drinking cup
- soap and soap dish or body wash for shower
- liquid soap dispenser for bunk
- shampoo, conditioner, gel, etc.
- razor and shaving cream (for shavers only)
- nail clipper
- pads, tampons (for older girls)
- sun block (lots!)
- insect repellant
- caddy to store and carry toiletries
Please label all toiletries with your camper’s name!
- flashlight, extra batteries
- back pack, or small duffle for trip day(s), especially those campers going on overnight trips
- pens, pencils, stationery, envelopes, stamps, eLetter Replies
- family addresses, printed labels, pre-addressed envelopes
- 2 sturdy refillable water bottles (item most commonly lost at camp!)
Please label everything with your camper’s name!
- playing cards, Magic: The Gathering cards, etc.
- fan to clip on bed post (should be battery operated)
- plastic drawer unit (see section on plastic drawers and other storage) (only one please!)
- baseball mitt, tennis racket, shin guards
- inexpensive digital camera or disposable cameras
- musical instrument
- lovies (teddy bears, blankies)
- summer reading books (we have a camper lending library!)
- western-style clothing for Rib Night, America swag for our 4th of July celebration
- Entire Crane Lake Community – please bring a non-perishable food item to donate to The Food Bank of Northeastern New York.
- Entire Crane Lake Community – please bring any books, appropriate for children in grades 3 – 10, that your child has finished reading. We’ll put them in our camper lending library.
If your child wears glasses or contact lenses, we encourage you to send an extra pair of glasses and an extra set or two of contact lenses.
Please label everything with your camper’s name!
What Not to pack
- night lights (we’ll place one in the bathroom of every cabin)
- shirts with inappropriate language or that advertise beer/liquor
- expensive clothing requiring special washing
- chewing gum, candy, food of any kind
- Ugg boots
- cell phones
- Pod/MP3 player with screen
- shoes or sandals with heels higher than two inches
- valuable jewelry, Apple Watch or smart watch
- super soakers/water guns
- expensive digital cameras
- hoverboards, skateboards, scooters, “Heelys”
- bottled water or flavored powder or drops to
- add to water
- any over-the-counter or prescriptions (all medications must go through Village Pharmacy)
- e-cigaretters, vapes, Juuls, portable essential oil diffusers
- laptop computers, iPads/tablets, portable DVD payers, Kindles, Nooks
- electronic hand-held game devices, i.e. Gameboy’s, PSP’s, Nintendo DS’s
You may pack in a trunk, suitcase, or duffle bag — It is entirely up to you. On Opening Day, after all our campers have arrived, camper luggage is removed from the cabins and safely placed in storage. No trunks, suitcases or duffle bags remain in the cabins as extra storage for campers. Please remember not to take your child’s empty luggage home with you; we need the luggage at camp so we can pack to go home at the end of the session.
PLASTIC DRAWERS AND OTHER STORAGE
Many of our campers bring plastic drawers with them to provide extra storage.
Please bring boxes that are no larger than 14.25 in L x 12.05” W x 26.44” H. Another tip is to bring fabric boxes that measure 10.5” x 10.5”. Please do not purchase 12” x 12”, they do not fit in our cubbies.
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.
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
Please DO NOT bring cases of water to camp! Please bring 2-3 reusable water bottles. Many campers and staff have brought their own water to camp in disposable plastic bottles. We want campers drinking more water per day than they could possibly bring to camp with them. The water brought on opening day takes up valuable storage or floor space and is a tripping hazard in the bunk.
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! You have prepaid for snacks, souvenirs, and spending money on trips.
Days at camp
First Session- June 28 | Second Session- July 26
We are excited to welcome you through our gates on Opening Day! All our campers arrive at camp on Opening Day in a family car with a parent or another adult. We do not offer any busing to camp. We want our parents to meet their camper’s counselors, see where their camper will be living, help them unpack and hopefully join other parents for our Opening Day coffee and nosh. None of this would be possible if our campers traveled to camp on a bus! In the beginning of June you will receive additional information about Opening Day.
Opening Day, of course, is very exciting! A couple of years ago, our Leadership Team prepared an instructional video describing the procedures for Opening Day so that you might better understand the flow of drop off (and maybe get in a giggle!).
If an adult, other than a camper’s parent, will bring them to camp on Opening day, we ask that this information be included in the travel form found on the camper’s CampInTouch dashboard under Forms and Documents.
To avoid long lines on Opening Day, we stagger arrival times. Campers with last names beginning:
- “A” to “G” arrive at 9:00 a.m.
- “H” to “P” arrive at 9:45 a.m.
- “Q” to “Z” arrive at 10:30 a.m.
Please DO NOT arrive more than 10 minutes prior to your assigned arrival time. Since bunks have been assigned and beds have been labeled, there is no reason or advantage to arrive at camp early.
We are counting on everybody’s cooperation. It is a challenge to welcome 300 cars into camp and still maintain a safe environment for our campers. Please be prepared to show your license to our greeters as you enter camp.
When you arrive at camp at your designated time, you will be directed by camp staff and signs on the road to proceed to the West Stockbridge Town Hall (200 feet from the Camp Visitor Parking Lot Entrance on the opposite side of the street), which will act as a staging area for you until you are directed to pull into camp.
Luggage Drop – Baseball Field
You’ll drive into camp through the Visitor Parking Lot where the Crane Lake Camp sign is located. Once you drive through the gate you will be directed to pull onto our Baseball Field into the unloading area. At this point, we’ll ask families with more than one adult to designate one adult as the driver who will remain in the car and park it on our Lake Field. Single adult vehicles will be directed to park on or near the Baseball Field.
Your luggage will be unloaded, tagged, and moved to the staging area to be delivered to your child’s bunk. Please stay with your car until all your luggage has been tagged. Keep small items (i.e. pillows, tennis rackets, etc.) with you.
Once the luggage is taken, the driver will move your car to the parking lot, directed by a camp staff member. From there, the driver will be directed to meet your child at their bunk.
Another adult will walk with the camper(s) to the porch of the Arts & Crafts Room for a lice check and a health screening.
Health Screening – Arts & Crafts Porch
Before arriving at the arts and crafts porch for your health screening and lice check, our Office Assistants will let you know if you are missing any paperwork. If you are missing something you will be given the needed form to complete and then you are asked to proceed to the Business Table.
The health and safety of our campers and staff is always our greatest concern. Your child’s temperature will be taken. You will be asked to complete a short form for your camper about his or her recent health. Please do not bring a child or sibling to camp with a fever under any circumstances. The form will also ask if your child has been treated for lice or nits in the last month, and lastly, the form will ask if your child will be taking medication this summer. For the safety of everyone, campers must not have any medication with them in their bunk. Any campers taking medication must be registered with Lenox Village Integrative Pharmacy.
If, during our health screening, your child is found to have a fever, we will ask you to see our camp physician, and may ask you to take your child home to see your pediatrician. Your child may return to camp after they have been fever free for 24 hours. Upon returning to camp, our camp physician will make the final decision as to whether or not your camper may stay. If your child has had a temperature, diarrhea, or vomited within 48-hours prior to the start of the session, please call our office before dropping off your child at camp.
Each camper will have a lice check as well (even if they have been checked by an outside source prior to arrival at camp) before moving into their cabin. We have hired a professional company to conduct these lice checks for us. If any camper is found to have lice or nits, parents can choose to have the professional company provide treatment or take their child home for treatment. Lice treatment is $350 per camper and is at the parent’s expense, paid directly to the company. Crane Lake is responsible for the cost of checking our campers for lice. Of course, any family who chooses treatment at camp will be treated privately to avoid any embarrassment to the camper.
We will help you to properly treat any camper’s affected personal belongings. Any linens and clothing used within the 48 hours must be dried on high heat for 60 minutes.
If your camper will be taking medication while at camp, please check in with our Medical Staff at the Med Room in our Chadar Ochel (dining hall). We will ask that you review the prescription/over-the-counter medication directions and dispensing times. If your child is not taking medications, but you would like to speak with one of our nurses about your camper’s medical needs, you should also visit our Medical Staff at the Med Room.
Please remember that all medications, vitamins and supplements in pill form, either daily or as needed, must be dispensed through Lenox Village Integrative Pharmacy. If your child uses an inhaler or epi-pen, please bring two unopened devices with the original prescription labels intact.
If your child has a special dietary need, please check-in with our Kitchen Manager in the Chadar Ochel.
Unpacking and Goodbyes – Cabins
After completing the health screening (and for some, the Med Room, Chadar Ochel, or Business Table), you’ll receive confirmation of your camper’s bunk assignment and walk to your camper’s cabin. There, counselors will greet you and your camper and show you to their bed and cubby, which have already been assigned and labeled with your camper’s name. Much time and thought goes into deciding cabin placement for each camper and specific bed assignments within each cabin. Please respect this process and do not change or ask to change the location of your camper’s bed.
After your camper is unpacked, we will provide you with luggage tags to place on your camper’s empty trunk, suitcase or duffle bag. Later in the day, we will remove all the tagged luggage from the cabins and place it in our storage facilities where it will remain until your child packs to go home. Do not take your camper’s empty luggage home with you.
Once you’ve written down your camper’s cabin number and made sure their cell phone is WITH YOU, it will be time to say goodbye. Experience has taught us that long goodbyes by lingering parents are not best. Hugs and kisses and encouraging words are terrific, and the sooner you leave, the sooner your camper will begin acclimating to camp. Over the years, we’ve learned that the best way for our campers to adjust to camp is for them to begin establishing a relationship with their counselors as soon as possible, and to begin our camp program as soon as possible.
Once you have said goodbye to your child, please join us in the Beit Am for some refreshments. We will have tables set by age group and the year your child will be an Olim camper (summer between 9th and 10th grade). We hope that you will spend a few minutes meeting or catching up with your very own camp friends who have children in the same age cohort as your camper.
All parents must be on their way by 12:30 PM.
Important Miscellaneous Items
- Please remember to leave any pets at home, and that smoking is never allowed anywhere at any time in camp.
- As in the past, we have partnered with Ivy Oaks Analytics, a public health company based out of Virginia that specializes in the control of ticks, mosquitos, 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 advance public health standards certification by implementing this program.
(3rd, 4th and 5th grades)
(6th and 7th grades)
(8th and 9th grades)
|8:40||All camp T’filah|
|All camp T’filah|
|All camp T’filah|
|All camp T’filah
|9:45||Activity Period #1||Activity Period #1||Activity Period #1||Activity Period #1|
|10:45||Activity Period #2||Activity Period #2||Activity Period #2||Activity Period #2|
|11:45||Chugim (electives)||Chugim (electives)||Chugim (electives)||Chugim (electives)|
|2:30||Activity Period #3||Activity Period #3||Activity Period #3||Activity Period #3|
|3:30||Activity Period #4||Activity Period #4||Activity Period #4||Activity Period #4|
|4:45||Activity Period #5||Activity Period #5||Activity Period #5||Activity Period #5|
|5:45||Shower Hour||Shower Hour||Intensives (electives)||Intensives (electives)|
|7:30||Evening Activity||Evening Activity||Back to Cabins||Back to Cabins|
|8:15||Back to Cabins||Back to Cabins||Evening Activity||Evening Activity|
|Shower Hour||Shower Hour|
POOL AND LAKE
All campers in Nitzanim and Bonim receive American Red Cross (ARC) swim instruction. Campers are tested during the first few days of each session to assess their swimming ability and to determine appropriate instruction level placement. This is not based on their instruction level of the previous summer. At the end of the session, campers are tested for proficiency, and awarded official ARC certificates. We recommend goggles for campers whose eyes are sensitive to chlorine. We strongly suggest that campers wear a one piece or tankini bathing suit.
At least every other day, campers visit our beautiful lake. There they can sail, windsurf, canoe, paddleboard, kayak, water-ski, wakeboard, enjoy our water playground or just swim. There is a seemingly endless number of activities! All our waterfront staff is American Red Cross certified and prior to our campers’ arrival, participate in a week-long training and orientation on our lake.
Learn more about the lake here.
Campers enjoy several periods of instructional sports each week. Some campers build on existing skills in a specific sport with an eye towards further improvement, and others begin to develop skills in a new sport.
Sports coaches teach all instructional sports. Offerings include archery, baseball/softball, basketball, volleyball, fitness, flag football, Ga-Ga, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, street hockey, tennis, ultimate frisbee, and yoga. Good sportsmanship, fitness, and fun are all important components of our sports program.
Campers must wear appropriate footwear, sneakers and socks, during their sports periods.
Several times throughout the summer, campers may choose to play in a sports tournament against another camp. Crane Lake participates in over 30 tournaments each summer, with a wide variety of sports represented, including baseball/softball, tennis, soccer, dance, gymnastics, and flag football. Campers sign up for each team and travel locally to represent Crane Lake. Good sportsmanship is stressed and everyone has fun.
We offer a number of arts-based activities at camp. Campers have the opportunity to go to arts and crafts where they work with different mediums, including ceramics, pottery, jewelry making, tie dye and more! We also offer music based chugim (electives) like guitar and songleading. Campers interested in dance can choose a modern dance chug or Israeli folk dance chug. Also each session our campers can try out for the camp show.
Family members cannot attend the camp plays. We want to avoid campers becoming distraught when their parents leave; other campers being sad that their parents couldn’t attend. We’ll send you an online link of our play!
TEVA AND ADVENTURE- OUTDOOR EDUCATION
Each camper will have the opportunity to experience our outdoor nature program. With sleeping bags in hand, our campers “move” to our Teva camp sites to cook dinner, spend some special time away with their friends, and to sleep in tents under the stars. They also spend time in our active animals program (think sheep, turtle, mini-horse, alpacas, puppies, bunnies, pigs, chickens, hamsters, guinea pigs, and more!). Lastly, each cabin will spend a full day at our ropes course, actively team-building in our low-ropes elements for half the day and questing throughout our aerial adventure course and zipline for the other half of the day. Oh, and do not forget about the Crane Lake garden!
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).
Each day includes breakfast favorites such as pancakes, French toast sticks, oatmeal, waffles, eggs or muffins. Cold cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, milk and orange juice are always available at the salad bar.
A kid-friendly lunch is served. Some favorites include pizza, sliders, chicken wraps, grilled cheese sandwiches, and macaroni & cheese. A full salad bar, soy butter and jelly and fresh fruit are always available.
Dinner favorites include tacos, chicken fajitas, baked ziti, meatball subs and chicken nuggets. A full salad bar, soy butter and jelly and fresh fruit are always available. Dinner ends with dessert.
Each week campers enjoy a barbeque of burgers and hot dogs. Soy butter and jelly and fresh fruit are always available.
On Friday evening we enjoy a traditional family style Shabbat meal of chicken, potatoes, a vegetable, soup salad and our famous Shabbat Sha-brownies!
The Saturday morning breakfast buffet includes items like bagels, lox, eggs, turkey bacon, hot chocolate, doughnuts, and more!
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.
We offer an in-depth, instructional program to our campers in Chaverim and Olim so that they can further develop their skills in selected areas. Past Intensives have included waterskiing, sailing, baseball, basketball, soccer, song leading, tennis, art, ceramics, and photography.
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 HOUR
After an activity-packed morning, campers need to take a break. During Menucha, or rest hour, 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” everyday 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
…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 our Beit Am. 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 an entire afternoon of fun, called Shabbat Breira! During Shabbat Breira, or free choice time, campers are free to walk around camp and enjoy all that camp offers. Some campers swim or go boating, others play ball or run, and many just find a shady spot to sit with friends and relax. All cabin counselors and specialists are stationed around camp to supervise the many activities available during Breira. Campers are not allowed in their cabins during Breira because their counselors are all out and about.
After dinner, Shabbat ends with a beautiful outdoor Havdalah service.
First Session Closing Day- July 24 | Second Session Closing Day- August 16
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.
FOR FULL SUMMER CAMPERS ONLY – Saturday, July 25 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
VISITING DAY ARRIVAL & SHABBAT
At 9:30 a.m. we’ll open the gates to welcome families with full summer campers. After parking in one of our parking lots or fields (we’ll direct you!) you’ll walk over to our Outdoor Sanctuary. All campers will be in their cabins cleaning up after breakfast and will join you in the Outdoor Sanctuary 10:15 a.m. You’ll be able to relax in our newly renovated Outdoor Sanctuary while you await the arrival of your camper, and we’ll have cold water and bathrooms available for you.
Together we’ll enjoy a short Shabbat morning T’filah. We are so excited for you to join us for a camp-style Shabbat morning T’filah so you can experience the ruach, joy and energy, of our T’filah at camp. No families will be able to take their camper out of camp or go to their camper’s cabin until AFTER our T’filah has ended.
TIME ON CAMP (optional)
Following t’filah, you’ll be invited to the Main Lawn for a Kiddush, a Shabbat snack, during which you’ll be able to meet counselors, unit heads, and your camper’s friends! At this time, we welcome you to spend time on camp, bring a picnic lunch, visit your camper’s cabins, and play on our fields and courts (sorry, the waterfront and outdoor adventure areas will not be available at this time!).
By 12:30 p.m., we will ask you to sign your child out of camp and venture off into the Berkshires for the afternoon. At this time, our staff will no longer be available to you as they will need to begin the final preparations for the next morning when we’ll welcome nearly 200 second session campers!
To help plan your day, we’ve created a list of things to do in the Berkshires. We recommend making restaurant reservations in advance!
VISITING DAY DROPOFF
By 5:00 p.m. you will drive onto camp to drop off your camper. You will say good-bye with one more hug and your camper will run to their counselors who will be waiting to welcome campers and escort them back to their cabins.
It is essential that ALL our campers are signed back into camp by 5:00 p.m. Some of our campers who may switch cabins for second session will need time, with their counselors’ help, to move their belongings. We also want to ensure that all campers will have plenty of time to ready the cabins for the next morning, when they’ll greet their new bunkmates. And then we need time for dinner and a fun evening program which will end with an early-to-bed after what we know will be an exhausting day for our campers.
FAMILIES WITH CAMPERS IN DIFFERENT SESSIONS
Please contact Alyson Bazeley if your family will need to make special Visiting Day arrangements.
Families with a first session camper and a full summer camper
If you would like to have your first session camper stay at camp for an extra day (NOT leave on Closing Day, Friday, July 24) you certainly can. We’ll need to know if you plan to have your first session camper stay the extra night by June 15 (please email Alyson Bazeley to make this special arrangement). We’ll ask that on Visiting Day you return to camp at 5:00 PM with the rest of the cars. On your way out of camp, you’ll drive past our hockey pavilion, where your first session camper’s belongings will be ready to be packed in your car.
Families with a second session camper and a full summer camper
If you would like to leave your returning (not new!) second session camper with us at the end of Visiting Day, you certainly can. We’ll need to know if you plan to leave your returning second session camper with us by June 15th (please email Alyson Bazeley to make this special arrangement). You’ll return to at 5:00 PM so you’ll have ample time to drive to the cabin area to move your second session camper into their cabin before all our full summer campers return to camp at 6:00 PM. Your full summer camper can help their sibling move in!
PLEASE REMEMBER TO LEAVE YOUR DOG AT HOME!!
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 8:30 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 grandparents, campers are required to write two letters addressed to a parent 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. 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. Prior to the summer, we will send you information about writing to your camper via CampInTouch. Emails sent to camp through CampInTouch are printed and distributed to campers daily. 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 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.
BLOG AND COMMUNICATIONS
We will post pictures on CampInTouch, write blog posts, and send weekly emails so that you can get a feel for what is going on at camp. You can access our Blog on our website under the Blog tab. 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. To send a postcard, hover over the photo you want to send and click on the stamp icon.
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.
Prior to the camp session, you will receive additional information about the Summer Services within your CampInTouch account. 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 runaway. Please be patient!
Below is our broad photo uploading schedule:
- Photos will be posted once each day, by the time you wake up the next morning.
- You can expect 200-300 photos to be uploaded each day.
- Camp wide special event photos (such as Trip Day, the play, and 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!
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.
It is our policy that campers are not permitted to use the phones at camp to call home.
If you have a specific concern about your child, ask for Alyson Bazeley or email her directly . Alyson, our Assistant Director, will work with our Camper Care Team to help you with any issues that may arise during your camper’s time at camp. Our Directors Team, Debby Shriber, Brett Hausler, Aaron Gurvis and Barnett Goldman are also available to help you. With over 375 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 your children. Your call or email will be returned as soon as possible.
Please do not call just to check on your camper. If we have any concerns, rest assured, we’ll call you. 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
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.
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, nasal sprays, 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.
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 15, 2020. 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.
Family members cannot attend Shabbat T’filah or camp plays while their camper is in camp. We want to avoid campers becoming distraught when their parents leave; other campers being sad that their parents couldn’t attend. We’ll send you a Vimeo link of our play! Please respect this policy and do not come to camp while your camper is there. Parents who ignore this policy and come to camp will be asked to leave. We also ask that you do not attend Shabbat T’filah during second session with your first session camper, or vice-versa. The presence of any camper who is not enrolled for the session is very distracting and disruptive to those campers in attendance.
BAR/BAT MITZVAH PREPARATION
Campers who will become Bar or Bat Mitzvah in August, September, October, November or December 2020 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. Limud and Kesher will include 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, Visiting 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.