Frequently Asked Questions

If your questions aren’t answered here, just give us a call! 510-560-5610.

covid-19 and camp

We have created a living document with our COVID-19 protocols that will be updated as the our plans evolve throughout the year. Click below to read our current COVID-19 Safety Plan.

summer 2021 updates

Yes! We believe that camp is even more important for our children than ever before and we are committed to doing everything we possibly can to open safely this summer.

A limited number of overnight camps opened successfully in Summer 2020. We are learning from these camps about what worked and what didn’t so we can mirror these best practices. In addition, Eden Village’s medical advisory board is a truly impressive group of doctor-parents who are guiding us through the process, and we are grateful for their counsel. We are also utilizing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Camp Association (ACA), the Foundation for Jewish Camp (FJC), JCamp 180, and the California Department of Health. The ACA is currently at work on a comprehensive guide that evaluates all camps that opened in 2020 and summarizes their best practices.

Yes! For summer 2021, we will be offering two 3-week sessions.

We are also offering an embedded, 1-week session for rising third, fourth, and fifth grade first-time campers only.

For COVID-19 safety reasons, we want to minimize the number of transitions we have at camp – and that means having fewer opening days. Two sessions, with an embedded shorter session just for younger campers, allows us to offer flexibility while limiting the risk associated with having new people arrive at camp. Additionally, we believe that this structure will foster deeper connections within our camp community and allow for an even more specialized & enriching camp program for children of different ages.

Enrollment for returning families opens at noon on Monday, October 19, 2020. Two weeks later, at noon on November 1st, 2020 enrollment opens for new families. Don’t wait to sign up – we have fewer spots this year and anticipate our sessions will fill up quickly.

We are offering a full refund on all paid fees, including the enrollment fee, up until May 1st, 2021.

In light of the realities of COVID-19 and in order to lower risk in our community for summer 2021, we will not be able to accommodate planned or unplanned visitors. Parents are welcome to call the office and hear updates about their campers, and we are exploring options that will allow for communication to move a bit faster than regular mail (i.e. letters from campers that will be scanned and emailed to parents by our office staff, etc). We also make sure that our campers send letters at least twice a week. Please refer to our COVID-19 health & safety plan for more context & information.

Yes! The sibling discount and early bird discount will be calculated when we’re processing your payment. You can still also Refer-a-Friend and earn $250 for every new family who you send our way who enrolls!

General FAQ

Our staff are the key to bringing our mission to life. Because our focus areas and values appeal to a growing number of young adults, we receive an extraordinary number of staff applications, and our hiring is highly selective. Our counselors and specialists tend to be older than those at most sleepaway camps. We thoroughly screen all staffers, and their training includes pre-camp reading and videos, an immersive 10-day training, and ongoing supervision and mentoring. Specialty staff members are professional educators in their fields, with extensive education backgrounds and current certifications. Counselors are selected for experience and talent for caring for children. The majority of our counselors and specialists come from the U.S.; some hail from Israel and other lands. Many of our staff have served as educators with the Teva Learning Center, Urban Adamah, Wilderness Torah, American Jewish World Service, Jewish Funds for Justice, and other Jewish environmental initiatives around the country.

Safety is our #1 priority, and something that the Eden Village West team is highly focused on for summer 2021. For more details about our COVID-19 health & safety plan, please click here. 

We maintain an outstanding 2:1 camper:staff ratio, and counselors are “kid specialists,” with few responsibilities outside their bunks, so as to focus on each of their campers. We work closely with the American Camping Association and our county health department, and surpass the basic standards in many areas. During orientation, all staff are trained in our fire-department-approved safety and security procedures, and for this summer will also be trained on COVID-19 specific safety protocols as well. Our specialists maintain proper certifications for lifeguarding, waterfront safety instruction, wilderness first aid, and more.

A registered nurse is available 24/7 in our health center. A doctor is always on call.

Emotional safety is supremely important as well. We select our counselors for emotional intelligence, and train them in connecting effectively with each of their campers. Our positive, supportive environment is the foundation of everything here.

Our chefs work to accommodate various dietary needs including diets free of lactose, gluten, soy, nuts, and other allergens. You will have the opportunity to speak with our directors and chefs to make sure your camper’s needs are met.

Yes. Our full-time, live-in Mashgiach (food supervisor) oversees our strictly Kosher kitchen as directed by the supervision of Rabbi Yisroel Finman of Chai Kosher. We’re glad to share our Kosher certification if you like. Please feel free to call for more details.

We live in a beautiful dorm-style building. All rooms have sinks, closets, and built-in drawers. Bathrooms and showers are located on each hallway.

At camp, we unplug from electronics so that we can plug into community and ourselves. Cameras are welcome, provided that they do not also operate as phones or internet. We strongly discourage cameras with video capabilities. Phones and electronic games are not allowed. We do have recording equipment, so campers can record their own live music in groups and individually.

Almost all Eden Village campers and most staff are Jewish. Our program is designed to build Jewish leaders and strengthen Jewish identities, and we hope everyone leaves with a stronger sense of Jewish community and peoplehood. At camp, we often talk about “our” Jewish tradition, “our” culture, etc. This said, we welcome all campers and staff, who are expected to participate in all activities. If you’re interested in coming to camp and identify as non-Jewish, let’s talk to make sure we’re a good fit.

Shabbat is a highlight of our community. We aim to create a comfortable and supportive environment for our campers and staff, who vary in their customs.

Campers spend much of Friday preparing: cooking, arranging flowers, setting the dining hall, preparing Words of Wisdom and parts of the service. In the afternoon campers have an extended shower time, and we encourage everyone to wear white, which beautifully heightens the festive mood. A musical parade leads us from our homes to our outdoor gathering space where we bring in Shabbat. After candle-lighting, we put down our instruments and celebrate with our voices. We close the evening with a true feast and spirited song session.

On Saturday morning campers choose among service options, then we all come together for a theatrical Torah experience. In the afternoon, campers pick various activities during structured free time. We don’t farm, travel, turn electricity on or off, or cook food during Shabbat.

At sundown, our Havdallah (ceremony to bring in the new week) often turns into a big dance party!

Regular davvening (holding sacred space) helps us foster a sense of connectedness, joy and appreciation. In the mornings, we all start the day with a time called Modeh Ani (“I am grateful”) where campers get to choose between a variety of morning practice options including song session, dream sharing, spirited morning shacharit (prayer), waking up the animals on the farm, yoga, morning river mikveh and more.

Blessing food at mealtimes is also an important way in which we heighten appreciation and awareness.

Our Jewishly-rooted wilderness, farming, culinary arts, and other programs offer rich opportunities for Jewish learning and practice as well.

Thanks for your interest! For this summer, this may be challenging because we have limited housing, especially private accommodations. However, all are welcome to review the staff page and complete a staff application if you see a position that fits. We are glad to talk about scholarship possibilities for your camper – we want to make it possible for them to come.

As Eden Village grows, we will become able to accommodate more and more people. As of now, we have a committee who helps us determine case-by-case what needs we are able to accommodate properly. Please call and let’s talk.

We don’t allow care packages – camp itself is the gift! This is so as not to create a culture of “haves” and “have-nots” within camp. But letters are always very appreciated!

Camp birthdays are always special at Eden Village. Expect honors at dinner: we’ll lift you in a chair while everyone counts out your number of years (we’ll ask beforehand if that works for you); we ask you to share a wish for the world with all of camp; you’ll be serenaded with our camp birthday songs; and your whole bunk group gets a yummy celebration! Parents may send a birthday package and talk by phone with their camper.

During the summer, you can call us at (510) 560-5610 at any time. From 6p to 8:30a, you’ll get a voicemail system, where one of the options is an emergency extension that puts you directly through to the Camp Director. If it is not an emergency, you can leave a message or email welcome@edenvillagewest.org.

Our goal is that no camper is turned away for financial reasons. We accomplish this through discounts, connecting you to grants and scholarships in your community, and by providing financial assistance to ensure that camp is affordable for every family. For more information, please check out our discounts, grants & financial aid page, and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to be in touch.

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Dear Friend,

It’s become clear that now, more than ever, our campers need the love and community of Eden Village Camp. That’s why we are committed to opening camp for Summer 2021, with whatever precautions are required to ensure the safety of all our children and staff.

The degree to which camp is a precious and powerful gift to our children is increasingly apparent every day – a Jewish community rooted in kindness, nature connection, and creative living where our children can be the most vibrant and thriving versions of themselves

I don’t know all the details of what camp will look like next summer or how COVID-19 will impact our community, but the safety of your children is the most important thing. There are still many details we are working out for the summer and we will keep you informed every step of the way.

I’m so grateful to be in partnership with you as we re-build Eden for 2021!

With care,

Casey

Camp Director