Each season at Camp Tawonga over 160 staff work together to create a magical, unique experience for over 1,200 children and close to 200 families during our spring, summer, and fall programs. It takes the work of many hands to run a successful summer camp. This means that we use a group process to arrive at decisions. It also means that how we do one thing is how we do everything; we can't expect children to work together in a bunk, trying out new experiences and safely pushing their own boundaries if we are not role models of this behavior. We value our staff and respect their individual discretion; because of this, our work follows a canon of ethics rather than a list of rules. Our staff interpret these ethics and apply them to make strong, empowered decisions throughout the summer. These ethics address working as a professional, putting the children first, always being aware, keeping our private lives private and respecting fellow colleagues and shared space.
Our staff come from a variety of different cultural and religious backgrounds. Some have been attending Tawonga for years as campers, some have worked at different summer camps or programs with children, and some have never set foot on our property before. With this mix, we ensure that classic Tawonga customs and songs mix together with fresh perspectives and new traditions. Additionally, each summer we are joined by a delegation of staff from Israel who help educate campers and staff through Israel Day celebrations, staff programming, and the incomparable experience of living side by side with each other. Each member of our staff brings unique skills and qualities, creating a richly diverse Tawonga staff community.
Each department at Tawonga is a vital part of our community. We teach our campers to value all labor so we model the same behavior among our staff. A counselor and a driver may have been campers together at Tawonga for years; an arts and crafts specialist and a member of the maintenance crew easily form a meaningful relationship that carries on well past the summer. At Tawonga, we believe that each member of the community has a responsibility to put kids first, and each staff member that we hire serves as an important role model to our campers, regardless of department or job description.
During a summer at Tawonga our staff have the opportunity to give everything they can to children while developing personally and professionally. Each staff member goes through a week-long in-service training during which supervisors and directors apply our canon of professional ethics and mission to real life situations. During this training Tawongans model a number of different teaching methods; directors share advice, veteran counselors teach workshops, and peers discuss solutions with one another to ensure that our staff is prepared to tackle any situation. All supervisors go through an additional hands-on training prior to the start of each summer season, where emphasis is placed on an inverted pyramid structure that supports individuality rather than stifling it. Our summertime staff works hard, often with only a few hours off each day, but the rewards of working one-on-one with individual children in a community that supports tolerance and personal growth are worthwhile. Our staff builds relationships and a connection that extends beyond the summer and well outside the gates of camp. Many live together during the year and are involved in Jewish community programs throughout the greater Bay Area. Staff return year after year to connect with kids, spend time in Yosemite and maintain lasting friendships in this tight-knit community.
If you are interested in working for us, please visit our application page
to learn about the process.