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Unread 05-04-2010, 12:28 PM   #1
gyf
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Necessity of overnight camp

It seems to me sending kids away to camp is status quo. I know that it can be a great experience etc... But, with many families and yeshivas struggling with tuition etc...I am wonder why this is considered more of a necessity (by both parents and schools) than a luxury?

When you add transportation and all of the required gear multiplied by a few children, it is a great expense. It seems like from 5th grade and up the majority of my kids' peers go to sleep away camp. Many of these kids' families struggle with day to day living expenses, yet they still send there kids to camp.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 01:00 PM   #2
chossidnistar
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they can go for 1 month
they can take turns with brothers and sisters
they can find sponsors
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Unread 05-04-2010, 02:35 PM   #3
noahidelaws
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Even poor kids are entitled to go to camp at which they could grow in a way not possible at home (as the Rebbe said); conversely, even poor parents are entitled to some time to build their relationship without the (wonderful, beautiful, but still time-consuming) demands and stresses of caring for kids. These make the expense worthwhile.

Last edited by noahidelaws; 05-04-2010 at 06:10 PM.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 05:40 PM   #4
Torah613
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As a parent, there are years that I do not send my children to camp, as I cannot justify the expense and the drain on the budget.

As for the alleged benefits of camp - that is an open question, especially for children that 1) Have the benefits of a proper frumme/chassidishe environment all year round, 2) Have the option of day camp, often in the mossad they are learning in all year round, 3) Often camp is a step down, and not a step up, VAKML.

As an aside,the same Rebbe who strongly encouraged camp, also spoke strongly about chadorim remaining open with a regular schedule all year round...
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Unread 05-04-2010, 05:49 PM   #5
MahTovChelkeinu
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Cheder in some places davka keeps the boys into the summer so that the parents do not have to send to camp. The girls seem to be okay at home as there tend to be more opportunities for girls to get involved locally either with chesed activities, babysitting or just helping around the house.

T613 probably has a ton more parenting experience than I do, but I think a well run camp provides a unique and wonderful experience for children. If you can send and it seems a good fit, then its great to give your kids the opportunity. But that is not the only unique and wonderful experience, and obviously there are other considerations.

Would it be better to send to camp or to take a week off work or to bring in bubby and zaide from out of state for a week? Every family has to make their own decision. And if its a choice between Mommy and Tatty being home year round for dinner or out evenings tutoring to get the money together for tuition... well, same comment.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 06:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torah613 View Post
the same Rebbe who strongly encouraged camp, also spoke strongly about chadorim remaining open with a regular schedule all year round...
I am aware that the Rebbe said this concerning Yeshiva for bochrim, that there should be ongoing Yeshiva despite the counsellors going to camp, but not concerning school for children.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 06:37 PM   #7
Torah613
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He definitely spoke about children also - see 12 Tamuz 5745, Dvorim 5746.

But, pray tell, how can there be camp if the bochurim are in yeshiva?

I understand the sichos extolling the virtues of camp as being geared primarly for chidren that may not be in the best envoronment all year (i.e. non-religious children, like it was when camps started), which today is mainly the day camps - which carry their own set of problems, VAKML.

OTOH, one can have both worlds by doing what many in NY do (non-L, of course...) - move the yeshiva/cheder to the mountains/country, and have learning most of the day. But that will not happen...
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Unread 05-06-2010, 01:52 PM   #8
e79
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they can find sponsors
unless that sponsor is a kind-hearted uncle or bubbe giving them the gift willingly, wouldn't it amount to begging for charity when you ask others to sponsor your kids' time at the camp?

this may be justified for the school if parents can't afford the tution, but would you extend it to the camp as well?
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Unread 05-06-2010, 01:58 PM   #9
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OTOH, one can have both worlds by doing what many in NY do (non-L, of course...) - move the yeshiva/cheder to the mountains/country, and have learning most of the day. But that will not happen...
actually quite a few out of town Lub. mesivtos do that - they may charge for it separately from the yeshiva tuition, but that's a different question. In all other respects, it's an extention of the yeshiva, with almost the same seder (minus a couple of hours a day for sport and some trips), same teachers, etc. I know at least 3 or 4 L. mesivtos that do that.

on top of that, they actually make this "camp" extension mandatory - i.e. the child has to go there if he wants to be accepted back for the next year.
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Unread 05-06-2010, 02:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by noahidelaws View Post
Even poor kids are entitled to go to camp at which they could grow in a way not possible at home (as the Rebbe said); conversely, even poor parents are entitled to some time to build their relationship without the (wonderful, beautiful, but still time-consuming) demands and stresses of caring for kids. These make the expense worthwhile.
where does that entitlement come from, other than "bishvili nivro ho'oilom"?
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Unread 05-06-2010, 03:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
where does that entitlement come from, other than "bishvili nivro ho'oilom"?
Do I detect a note of sarcasm?
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Unread 05-06-2010, 03:24 PM   #12
chossidnistar
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unless that sponsor is a kind-hearted uncle or bubbe giving them the gift willingly, wouldn't it amount to begging for charity when you ask others to sponsor your kids' time at the camp?

this may be justified for the school if parents can't afford the tution, but would you extend it to the camp as well?
you are right
I mean, that sometimes Parents can get free camp tuition b/c the Camp organizer have some tuitions sponsors
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Unread 05-06-2010, 03:26 PM   #13
chossidnistar
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actually quite a few out of town Lub. mesivtos do that - they may charge for it separately from the yeshiva tuition, but that's a different question. In all other respects, it's an extention of the yeshiva, with almost the same seder (minus a couple of hours a day for sport and some trips), same teachers, etc. I know at least 3 or 4 L. mesivtos that do that.

on top of that, they actually make this "camp" extension mandatory - i.e. the child has to go there if he wants to be accepted back for the next year.
not only mesivtos
I think that also Cheider LUB Chicago has a summer program
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Unread 05-06-2010, 03:44 PM   #14
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Do I detect a note of sarcasm?
sorry, perhaps just unintended - and even then only a tiny bit

when you say "entitled", it can apply to those kids' parents who should strive to pay for the camp, or to ask for it in their prayers as a necessity, or to ask the community or individual donors to pay for that entitlement.

If the the parents are "able and willing", there's no question for them what to do. It's the latter sense of entitlement that I question - is the camp similar to school in a sense that the community is supposed to underwrite for those who can't afford, and should the parent allow (and bring) him/herself to what essentially amounts to asking for charity, in order to send the child to camp?

granted, perhaps it's somewhat different if you negotiate the fee with the camp. but when you apply for scholarships, isn't it the same as asking for charity from those organizations?

it's actually a question I'm trying to answer for myself - in our area, the Jewish Federation used to provide some funding for camps, and I was trying to decide between no camp for some of the kids, or get the scholarship. and then again, the federation funds may be different from using private scholarships from CH organizations.

But I still question that sense of entitlement - it's like saying that each kalah is entitled to have her wedding if not at RAZAG, then at least at Oholei Torah ballroom.

IIRC, the only entitlements the kids have from their parents are basic Torah education, food, shelter, cloth, professional education, and assistance with mariage. If the parents can't do it, the community should step in. Where did the camp entitlement come from? Or, for that matter, the entitlement for quite time and some respite for the parents?

I spoke with one of the Rabbonim about some of the difficulties before, he told me that the way we live now it's like a Gan Eden (even without the camp) compared to his childhood and how his parents lived. So perhaps the way to deal with the financial part of this problem is actually to eliminate that sense of entitlement rather than perpetuate it.

And yes, I understand quite well what the summer or even a mont in camp means for the kids and for the parents. And yes, one can argue that bizman hazeh it's almost a medical necessity required for everyone's well-being. But by that logic, any wife will explain to you that a summer in the Catskills is the same type of necessity - and soon enough it'll develop to include Pesach in a Florida hotel.
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Unread 05-06-2010, 04:00 PM   #15
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Although perhaps that only reason to justify that sense of entitlement or the necessity would be based on hilchos ishus where the husband has to provide for his wife at least at the level that the poor people in "their community" live. So I guess if now it has become the de-facto standard that virtually all of the kids in the community in question go to camps, and the kids who don't will feel or will be made to fill inferior, then perhaps there's some sense of an obligation for the father to send them to camp.

Otherwise, in the absense of the school, he will have to provide at least somewhat structured learning schedule and a teacher for his child (and this can probably benefit the child even more).

also, it's probably different between various communities - can't really compare the summer spent in a city appartment vs. a suburban house with a pool or a bungalow colony So for some city dwellers it may indeed be a health issue
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Unread 05-06-2010, 05:35 PM   #16
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In earlier times they had no running hot water, indoor privies, daily bathing, electrical lighting, air-conditioning, gas heating, three-storey houses (except for the very rich), and so on. It's not fair to compare to earlier generations. Needs vs. luxuries are defined by the time and place.
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Unread 05-06-2010, 06:14 PM   #17
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In earlier times they had no running hot water, indoor privies, daily bathing, electrical lighting, air-conditioning, gas heating, three-storey houses (except for the very rich), and so on. It's not fair to compare to earlier generations. Needs vs. luxuries are defined by the time and place.
compare the proportional cost of the examples you're citing to the cost of the camp (prorated per family member). and if you can't afford both, would you rather give up your indoor privy or your child's camp? or do you mean to say they're comparable needs?

they also didn't have 30-year mortgages, 15k yeshiva tuitions (for 15 years for each kid), 50k weddings, etc. The tuition in Tomchei Tmimim in Lubavitch was zero - same as Mir and most others. Berel's kid was perfectly happy playing in his backyard until Shmerel's kid started going to camp. Once too many people start doing something, the lines can blur between the luxury and entitlement.

anyway, if you can't afford your indoor privy or running water, you go to your public housing authority. The question is, if one can't afford the camp, should he ask gvir ploini (or his fund) for assistance? or should the parents go into debt for that, similar to what many have to do now for tuitions and weddings?
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Unread 05-06-2010, 06:55 PM   #18
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BTW, I posted here in another thread about a year ago about the seemingly high cost of camps vis-a-vis schools, suggesting that they could be run cheaper. Someone here suggested that I try to do it and let him know the results

Well, I did - and sad to say, this time around I failed before I could even start. The problem is that unless you're an official shliach, you won't be able to get any good enough bochurim or girls to come to your camp - and I'm not one . However, I spoke with a few friends of mine who are shluchim and run the camps, and they said that a camp is actually a pretty good profit center for the Chabad House or the school, and covers a substantial portion of their other activities. That's even with scholarships and discounts they extend to some families.

So there's definitely a way to make the costs cheaper, but you have to be "in" to attempt to do it. That's even without the donations etc.

also, the camp itself could be done cheaper - if you actually make it as a "camp" and not a miniature bungalow colonie for the kids. You could use tents instead of cabins - slashing the cost from 20+k for bunk house to 2k for comparable size tent (the kind the British officers used to live in the colonies).

If you really want to make it a low-budget experience, the kids could take turns waiting the tables and cleaning after themselves - but maybe this is also more of a need than a luxury nowadays. There're a few other areas where the expenses could be trimmed. If some people are really on a budget, they can send the kids for a couple of weeks instead of full month - something can be better than nothing. etc.

as a matter of fact, I managed to arrange for two girls to run a small playgroup instead of a camp for my younger kids and several other locals. The cost is less than half of what a local camp charges. I pay those girls almost double of what they would be making at the camp. Money-wise, everyone's happy. Quality-wise, I hope it'll be at least as good but hopefully even better than the larger camp. It will take some time on my part to oversee it, help out, etc. - but money aside, I'm happy to do it.

Perhaps someone can try it on a larger scale, if you manage to make some arrangement with your local shliach and get on the roster yourself
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Unread 07-05-2010, 03:25 AM   #19
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Camp

I don't think anyone should feel entitled to camp or respite care of their healthy kids. If the community sets a standard and makes it happen, that's wonderful, but one shouldn't stress about finding money for camp. There is a concept of keeping one's family according to the standards of one's community, but each one of us gets to play a part in setting those standards. I believe that means sometimes saying no.
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Unread 08-21-2010, 11:31 PM   #20
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Make your own overnight camping experiance

B'h
Rather then spending time and money sending children away. Organize with the teens, a camping trip bring tents sleeping equipment go for overnights parents organize each home to do something different one home wood working excursion one cooking one cpr one to organize swimming. It can be done when there is a will there is a way imho. The bond the memorys that u create will be second to none!!!!
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