Questions + Answers

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The Basics

Who are the campers?

Campers range from Ages 7-15 and are entering Grades 2-10. Many of our campers come from the Tri-State and Massachusetts areas, and we also have representation from all over the Northeast, across the United States, and overseas.

Most of our overnight campers are members of Reform Jewish synagogues. The make-up of the URJ and our programs is as diverse as our population, therefore our communities represent that vibrant and colorful fabric that makes up the Reform Jewish population.

Where is Crane Lake Camp located?

Crane Lake Camp is located in West Stockbridge, a small town in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, right on the border of New York State.

What are the cabins like?

All cabins have indoor plumbing with toilets, showers, and sinks. Campers and staff sleep on bunk beds (all top bunks have bed rails). Storage units (cubbies) are provided in every cabin for campers to store their belongings.

Campers participate in keeping their bunks clean each day, and camp’s housekeeping staff clean and sterilize all of the bathrooms daily.

Watch this video for a camper tour of some of our bunks!

What am I supposed to pack?

Check out our Packing List!

Staff information

Who takes care of the campers?

Our staff members are a mix of former campers who have grown up at Crane Lake and international staff from all around the world.

Our general counselors are college and university students who bring abundant warmth and energy to our camp community. Our specialists and instructors are both college and graduate students from all over the world who share their particular areas of expertise with our campers.

A rotating group of dynamic rabbis, cantors, and educators from our URJ congregations come to camp for a week or two at a time to explore Judaism, worship and have fun with our campers. Our education faculty is an essential part of the Reform Jewish community at camp.

Around 20 energetic Israelis join our staff each summer. They are coaches, instructors, and bunk counselors, infusing Israeli culture into the daily life at camp.

What is the counselor-to-camper ratio?

There is 1 counselor for every 4 campers in each bunk. We position counselors to sleep in each of the corners of the cabin to ensure that campers can easily locate a counselor at night. We take great pride in our quality camper supervision; whenever campers are in their cabins, a counselor is there as well.

At night, when campers return to their bunks to go to sleep after their evening program, a counselor remains in the bunk to supervise the campers. All general counselors and specialists sleep in the cabin with the campers.

How are Crane lake staff trained to care for campers?

Our staff has been carefully selected and intensely trained by our camp directors to keep our campers safe and happy.

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 Leadership Team, who work as unit heads and department heads, arrive at camp a little over three weeks before our campers. Our specialists, including coaches, art instructors, lifeguards, ropes course instructors, outdoor education and Limmud (Jewish learning) staff arrive a little over 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 a little over one week 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.

Health & Safety

How do you handle safety and security at camp?

We take safety and security at camp very seriously. All of the camp directors participate in extensive professional training to handle minor and major safety and security situations. Our summer staff are trained to manage and handle safety and security situations during our pre-camp orientation. 24-hour, on-site security staff monitors and keeps camp safe. Access to camp is restricted and available only through a security gate. All visitors must sign in before entering the site.

Additionally, we are located across the street from the police department and have excellent relationships with the town. They are very familiar with our campgrounds and schedules and are readily available as needed.

What medical facilities do you have at camp? What happens if my child gets sick?

Our goal at camp is to maintain your child’s health. Our wonderful 24-hour Health Center is staffed by registered nurses and a physician, all of whom live on camp property and is equipped with supplies to deal with minor injuries and illnesses. Our medical staff coordinates and monitors all daily medication distribution along with any as-needed medications directed to campers.

All over-the-counter or prescription medication (except in certain instances like asthma inhalers, nose sprays and creams) are locked in our medicine dispensary in the dining hall and are only available to campers as distributed by our medical staff.

In addition, we have a great relationship with our local emergency service departments and can easily move individuals needing more services. If necessary, multiple local hospitals are close by, and emergency services are available immediately.

Is there an immunization policy?

Yes, the Union for Reform Judaism requires that all camp and travel program participants, staff and faculty must be immunized.

How do you protect children at camp?

At the heart of our Reform Movement is our enduring commitment to shaping a more whole, just and compassionate world. That holy work includes ensuring that each and every member of our camp community – especially our children – are protected and that their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and safety is our highest priority.

In addition to the physical health of our campers and staff, we are especially attuned to the mental health needs of our camp community. We have an amazing Camper Care team that includes social work personnel to guide staff and to directly respond to camper concerns.

The URJ also remains committed to ensuring the most robust child protection practices, fostering an environment of prevention, protection, and support for raising concerns.

  • We have partnered with CampSafe and our consultant Rachel Bayer to collaborate in preparing and providing our staff training for abuse prevention.
  • Every member of our camp staff has or will undergo training in how to prevent, recognize, respond to, and report abuse.
  • Every URJ Camp staff member must pass annual background checks, and are required to participate in annual anti-harassment and discrimination training as has been the case for the last four years.
  • We continue to update employment policies, practices, and procedures, and provide ongoing training for our staff on topics such as workplace guidelines, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Nothing is more important than the physical, emotional and mental health and well-being of our communities; indeed, we view this as our sacred moral responsibility. It is, and always will be, our highest priority.