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Why Camp?

Research shows that attending summer camp positively contributes to the growth and development of children, building their independence, confidence and resiliency. Further, in an age of social media, technology, television and over-subscribed extracurricular activities, summer camp allows children to unplug, literally and figuratively, and take a break from the daily demands of regular life to simply be kids, while breathing fresh mountain air under a blanket of stars. Jewish summer camp gives kids an opportunity to engage in experiential Jewish learning deeply and in a meaningful way that inspires connections to Judaism far after the closing campfire. Tawonga embraces these opportunities wholeheartedly, striving to give campers a truly transformative experience.

Below are resources and links to articles, blogs and studies about the benefits of summer camp.


A Summer Camp Lesson: Good-bye, and Go Away, Thank You Very Much

by Jessica Lahey
“Dropping a kid off for camp can test a parent’s resolve. But standing back to let a child develop autonomy is one of the most important things a parent can do.”
Read this article

‘Should I be sending my children to camp?’

By Michael Thompson, Ph.D, author of Homesick and Happy
“Does an overnight camp experience still make sense in this competitive, resume-building world? From this psychologist’s point of view, the answer is a resounding YES. I believe that children develop in profound ways when they leave their parents’ house and join a camp community.”
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Nurturing Resilience: Raising children to be competent and caring

by Michael Ungar, Ph.D.
“Camps that [can] make kids, especially teens, put away the makeup, stash the iPods, get a little dirty and even a little frustrated while having fun and making new friends, are the kinds of camps that offer children the best of what they need.”
Read this article

Camp Works: A by-the-numbers look at the long-term impact of Jewish overnight camp

Conducted by the Foundation for Jewish Camp
“Research indicates that Jewish camp does indeed work. By examining and cross-tabulating the results of 26 existing Jewish community population surveys, we compared the attitudes and behaviors of adults who had attended Jewish camp as children with those who did not. Survey responses covered 13 different areas of adult behavior or attitude, including synagogue membership, observance of holidays, donating to Jewish charities, and connection to Israel. Camp attendance increases the likelihood of adult participation and identification in every one of these areas.”
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The Canteen: A Camping Blog

The Canteen is a tribute to all things Jewish sleepaway camp. Hosted by the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC), this blog is written by campers, alumni, parents, and camp professionals and is a place to talk about parenting, camp fun, projects, crafts, recipes, and more – all tied back to Jewish holidays, traditions and, of course, camp!
Visit this blog

Going to Jewish camp changed the course of my life

by Nora Smith
“I grew up going to Hebrew school on Tuesdays, religious school on Sundays and, eventually, also to Jewish day school. But it wasn’t until my first summer at Camp Tawonga in 1998, that I realized I could choose to be Jewish. For the first time in my life, I was able to connect with my Jewishness in a way that was comfortable to me — through singing and dancing after Shabbat dinner on Friday nights, through funny skits explaining the week’s Torah portion during Saturday morning services, and through nurturing my self-esteem in a community-based environment.”
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The Benefits of Overnight Camp

by Jennifer O’Donnell
“The benefits of sending a child to overnight camp are numerous. If you think your child is ready to head to summer camp this year, consider all the things he’ll learn, all the skills he’ll master, all the friends he’ll make, and all the stories he’ll share with you for the rest of the summer.”
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The Camp Counselor versus the Intern

by Dan Fleshler
“…Nor could I dispute [my daughter’s] additional point that the work was incomparable preparation for the future, requiring the skills to manage group projects and motivate individuals, set goals and juggle tight schedules, and stay available for 24 hours a day, six days a week, in sickness and in health.”
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Have we added another lost generation?

by Marc Joseph
“This generation would rather text than talk. They prefer to communicate online, many times with friends they have not actually met. They don’t spend much time outdoors, unless adults force them into an organized activity. America needs to send all of these kids to camp this summer before this generation loses the values that have driven our country since the beginning.”
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Campers, teens, staff and parents all agree – Camp Tawonga is a true home away from home…

I had the best time of my life! I loved the archery, swimming, candle making, Shabbat and just everything! My favorite part was having amazing counselors, and Israeli ones too! I cannot wait to see my new friends next year. I wish it was camp time all the time!

– Sadie (Age 10)

My son had a fantastic experience at Camp Tawonga. He gained a sense of greater self-reliance, appreciated the community/connection with campers and great counselors, and came home singing songs and feeling part of the Camp Tawonga family/tradition.

– Stacy Pollina-Millen

Click here to read more testimonials