Camp Tawonga’s Mission

For generations, Tawonga has provided campers with transformational and meaningful summer experiences that are rooted in our Mission & Philosophy. Originating in 1925, Tawonga’s Mission is actualized in four parts: Positive Self-Image &  Self-Esteem, Creating a Cooperative Community, Tikkun Olam- A Partnership with Nature, and Spirituality and Positive Jewish Identification.


The first part of our Mission focuses on helping campers build their self-image and self-esteem. We emphasize daily the idea that campers should feel comfortable being who they are and let their true colors shine.

By breaking down the stereotypes and expectations that society puts on us and through encouraging kids to be their authentic selves, they leave feeling capable and confident to bring their true selves home with them.


The second part of our Mission focuses on building a cooperative community. We structure activities so that campers remain with their cabin group for the majority of the day. Within their bunks, campers share several responsibilities in order to maintain their communal living areas. There is a constant emphasis on consensus-based decision-making and cooperation with each other. In doing so, the cabin groups morph from being twelve strangers in a bunk to twelve brothers or sisters. This approach positively influences our campers’ ability to work alongside and live with others, and gives them the tools to work cooperatively in group situations back home as well.


The third part of our mission is TIkkun Olam- A Partnership with Nature. We really want our campers to immerse themselves in the nature around us. We emphasize the idea of caring for and respecting the natural world. Our campers get to experience nature through our amazing backpacking trips into the world renowned Yosemite National Park and the neighboring Stanislaus National Forest. Campers also participate in activities at our beautiful Farm and Garden, where they have the opportunity to learn about the plant and animal life, nutrition, and how our food is made. Tikkun Olam helps campers bring home a better appreciation for the world around them and gives them an opportunity to have fun and “unplug” while in nature.


The last principle of our Mission is about giving our campers the ability to explore and gain a greater understanding of their own Jewish identity and spirituality. Through the prayers we recite before and after our daily meals to our Shabbat services, Jewish programming and Ruach Hour, we provide rich and meaningful opportunities for campers to connect to Judaism. Campers have the opportunity to connect with their spirituality however they like, giving them the ability to embrace Judaism on a more personal level, without feeling forced to believe in any one thing. 


Camp Tawonga has been a positive influence on so many of our campers for nearly a century and much of our success has been guided by our Mission. Our greatest hope is that every camper feels the Mission and comes home feeling uplifted from the experiences they have had.


Enjoy photos from today and stay tuned for more tomorrow!